European Fund for supporting Small and Medium Enterprises
Intellectual Property (IP) is an essential driver of the economy, enabling businesses to value their intangible assets, such as trademarks, designs or patents. In accordance with studies carried out by the EUIPO, SMEs are vital to the European economy. They generate 67% of total employment and represent 99% of the EU's businesses. Although only 9% of EU SMEs own IP rights, SMEs who hold registered IP have an income per employee almost a third higher than those without registered IP rights.
As stated by the Executive Director of the European Union Institute for Intellectual Property (EUIPO), Christian Archambeau: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit SMEs hard, and the EU is committed to supporting them towards recovery. Much of our future economic growth and prosperity depends on the success of innovative and dynamic SMEs, including start-ups. Helping them to secure their intellectual property rights is an important part of the EUIPO’s mission, and that of its partners, especially the national and regional intellectual property offices of the EU, which are close to SMEs in their own Member States. Helping them protect their Intellectual Property rights is an important part of the mission of EUIPO and its partners, in particular the EU national and regional Intellectual Property bodies, which are close to SMEs in the Member States.
In this regard, on December 15th 2020, a €20 million Support Fund for Small and Medium Enterprises (Ideas Powered for Business SME Fund) was launched, aimed at helping SMEs based in the European Union to access and benefit from their intellectual property rights (IPR). This grant scheme aims to strengthen SMEs competitiveness in the global market and also to combat the negative impact caused by the Covid-19 pandemic on European SMEs.
Although this program offers two types of services which involve the partial reimbursement of the costs of IP pre-diagnosis services ('IP scan', Service 1) and of Trademark and Design basic application fees at national, regional (Benelux) and EU level (Service 2), in Portugal only Service 2 is available.
Open to all EU enterprises that fit the European Commission's official definition of SME, this program consists of direct financial support in the form of vouchers for 50% reimbursement on trademark and/or design basic application fees on national (INPI), regional (Benelux) or EU level (EUIPO) up to a maximum amount of 1500 euros per enterprise.
Applications for the SME Fund may submitted through the SME Fund page as from January 11th 2021. This date marks the beginning of the first five Windows that will take place throughout 2021, as follows:
This program is a €20 million grant scheme helping European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access their intellectual property rights. Grants are awarded on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
Moreover, shall there be a high demand of the SME Fund from European SMEs and the fund is totally used in the course of 2021, the afore mentioned calls for applications may be closed in advance.
Hence, it is highly recommended that all SMEs that may be interested in this Fund do not wait up to the last minute to send the application form, given that grants are awarded on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
Each SME may only apply for one of the calls, therefore, in case of several applications for trademark or design it is highly recommended to submit them all together in a single call.
The SME Fund is managed by the EUIPO’s Ideas Powered for Business and is part of the European Commission’s Action Plan on Intellectual Property. The Fund is be implemented in cooperation with national Industrial Property offices (in Portugal, in cooperation with INPI) and EU regional offices.
Detailed information regarding the requirements, schedule and other particulars are available at the Ideas Powered for Business SME Fund website, as well as at the EUIPO’s Call for Proposals GR/001/21.
For further information, please contact INPI through the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.