While it is certainly true that not all enterprises develop patentable inventions, it is a wrong to believe that patents only apply to complex physical or chemical processes and products or that they are only useful to large corporations. Patents can be obtained for any area of technology from paper clips to computers. Most patents aren’t granted for groundbreaking scientific breakthroughs, but rather for inventions that make improvements to existing inventions. For example the second or third generation of a product or a process, that works in a more cost-effective or efficient manner.

Certain countries also have specific legal provisions for protecting incremental innovations. These are called utility models and they tend to have a shorter duration than patents and are generally easier to obtain.