This is an interesting report (rather long, but the shorter key findings document is a good summary) about why SMEs file patents at the EPO.
I have had discussions with SME clients about the reasons for them filing patents, and they have all mentioned the fact that it will help them in negotiations, possibly with regard to cross-licensing and co-operation with other entities, so the report agrees with my own experience.
The report also identifies some issues that SMEs have when looking to commercially exploit their inventions (for example lack of resources, skills or contacts) or in seeking collaborative exploitation (for example cost, the complexity of negotiations or identifying the right partners).
I think this one is worth a read if you are interested in the IP space and are in or working with SMEs.
The study, entitled “Market success for inventions – Patent commercialisation scoreboard: European SMEs”, finds that SMEs depend heavily on partnerships with domestic or foreign partners. The report shows that half of all commercialised inventions protected either by a European patent application or a granted European patent are exploited in collaboration with an external partner via a licencing agreement (62% of the respondents), co-operation (49%) or spin-off (32%). Moreover, the partner is usually from another European country... Furthermore, jointly exploiting inventions with external partners enables SMEs to leverage their partners' resources too. SMEs involved in partnerships identify "increasing revenue" (85%) and "market access" (73%) as the main motives for collaborative exploitation. Over half (56%) of them also cite "joint innovation" as a motive, ...