Growth through innovation is critical to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and the use of patents is necessary to attract needed funding. This research inquiry considers product development stakeholder's knowledge to increase the relevance of patent disclosures for more successful patents and business competitiveness. The research uses a mixed method questionnaire to gain insight from a broad selection of product development experts. Stakeholder salience concepts are applied to identify stakeholders with forward looking patent attribute awareness. Insight generation techniques applied to the data indicate that extended stakeholders have important knowledge to improve SME patent disclosures. Key barriers to the acquisition of this knowledge are identified as well as solution approaches that include interdisciplinary activities. The industrial designer is identified as having attributes and knowledge that could effectively assist the cross-boundary communication needed to acquire new knowledge from extended product development stakeholders.
Keywords: designer, stakeholders, salience, boundary objects, patents, patent disclosure.