If you have an SME, take note. Protect your company’s intellectual property It has never been so easy thanks to the new aid program that the European Commission has launched through the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) -based in Alicante-.
This is the second call for the European Fund for SMEs, grants of up to €47 million that the organization has just launched for a period of three years (2022-2024), and to which any SME can take advantage located in one of the 27 EU countries.
The objective? Encourage small and medium enterprises to access and register your intellectual property (IP) rights to benefit from all its advantages. But why should an SME take this step?
First of all, because it is a need in the digital age. The only legal way to prevent your unique ideas, products or services from being copied or used without authorization. IP protection can cover many different assets, such as trademarks, designs, patents, corporate identities, products, services and processes.
In addition, it is proven that companies that own IP rights obtain better economic results, they pay higher wages and are generally more resilient. According to studies carried out by the EUIPO, SMEs that own intellectual property rights generate a 68% more revenue per employee than those that are not.
However, despite the clear benefits, less than 1 in 10 European SMEs owns any registered IP rights, such as a trademark, a design or a patent. It has been found that one of the main reasons why small businesses do not register their IP rights is the lack of resources and knowledge to deal with IP related issues.
As indicated Christian Archambeau, Executive Director of the EUIPO, “SMEs represent 99% of all EU businesses, create prosperity and opportunity in local communities and are a source of innovation and creativity. The covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected SMEs and has shown, more than ever, that we must help them recover. Through this new and expanded phase of the SME Fund, aimed at all small businesses based in the EU, we seek to facilitate access to intellectual property and the benefits that it brings.”
In this way, the EUIPO shows itself to be aware of the importance of European SMEs for the continent’s economy -since they contribute more than half of the EU’s GDP and employ 2 out of 3 workers-, and offers this aid fund.
Through a quick and easy application process, SMEs will be able to save up to 2,250 euros in fees applications for trademarks, drawings and patents, as well as preliminary IP diagnosis services, very useful to help companies identify their intellectual property assets.
What can SMEs get through this plan?
The SME Fund is a reimbursement program that issues vouchers that can be used to partially cover the fees corresponding to the selected activities. There are two types of vouchers available depending on the activity in question:
– Hasta 1,500 EUR on trade mark and design application fees at national, regional or EU level (75% refund), as well as from outside the EU (50% refund). Also included are IP Scan services provided by participating IP offices to help SMEs prepare their IP strategy (90% refund).
– Hasta 750 EUR in national patent fees (50% refund). This year is the first year that patent fees are included in the Fund for SMEs.
How to access the program?
The application submission period for 2022 is now open and will run until December 16, 2022. To benefit from the Fund for SMEs you must follow the following steps:
– Sign up on this website, sign in to the “SME Fund account” and submit an application form.
– Once your application is approved, you will receive a grant award notification and your voucher. then you can request the IP activities you need.
– In order to be reimbursed for the IP activities that you have requested, you must request a refund once you have paid for the activities using the form available in your SME Fund account.
– Bonds have a validity of four months from the time you receive the grant and can be extended for another two months during the last thirty days of the original four-month period if necessary. During this period, you can request and pay for IP activities and then request the corresponding reimbursement, thus activating your bonuses.
The new regime is managed through the initiative Ideas Powered for business, which is part of the EUIPO’s activities to support small and medium-sized enterprises and of the Single Market Program of the European Commission. It is carried out in close collaboration with EU national and regional IP offices.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.