EU: SMEs receive millions in funding for IP protection

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The European Union is now offering small and medium-sized enterprises new funding worth millions to help them protect their intellectual property. For the first time, costs for patents can also be eligible for funding.

The European Commission and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) have launched a new fund totaling 47 million euros to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) based in the EU in protecting their intellectual property.

Companies can obtain a reimbursement for certain costs which they incur in protecting their intellectual property – these include registering trademarks and designs as well as costs for certain services and procedures. For the first time, the new funding covers patents too. Also, subsidies amounting up to two million euros are to flow into financing patent-related services.

Eligible for funding are for example up to 90 percent of the service costs for a preliminary assessment of a company’s needs, as well as 75 percent of the costs for registering trademarks and designs with the EUIPO. Eligible companies can also request a reimbursement for 50 percent of the costs of international trademark registration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO); or for costs for registering with national patent offices. Other possible grants concern the patent prior art search or legal consulting services.

„With this Fund, we want to support SMEs to face those peculiar times and remain strong and innovative through the decades to come“, says Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission. The so-called Ideas Powered for business SME Fund is the EU’s second SME fund designed to help businesses combat the effects of the Covid‑19 pandemic and promote green and digital transformation.

Companies can apply for support throughout the funding period, running until 2024. More information, answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), and how to apply can be found on the EUIPO SME Fund website. Interested companies can also attend a special session online on 11 February as part of the European Industry Days.

Sources: EUIPO, European Commission

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