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SME Fund – A reimbursement program that issues vouchers that can be used to partly cover the fees for Intellectual Property registration

The SME Fund is a European Commission initiative implemented by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

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Beneficiaries

SMEs established in the EU

Funds are limited

Available on a first come, first served basis

Application period

From 10 January 2022 to 16 December 2022

The Ideas Powered for business SME Fund is a grant scheme designed to help EU small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) intellectual property (IP) rights.

Why protecting your intellectual property is necessary.

Protecting your IP is a must in the digital age. It is the only legal way to avoid having your unique ideas, products, or services copied or used without permission. IP protection can cover many different assets, including trade marks, designs, patents, corporate identities, products, services, and processes.

Who can benefit from the SME Fund.

The SME Fund offers financial support to SMEs established in the European Union. The application can be filed by an owner, an employee or an authorised representative of an EU SME acting on its behalf. Grants are always transferred directly to the SMEs.
To benefit from the SME Fund, you need to:
  1.  Register, log in to your ‘SME Fund account’ and submit an application form.
  2.  Once your application is approved, you will receive a grant award notification and your voucher(s)*. You can then request the IP activities you require.
  3.  In order to be reimbursed for your requested IP activities, you need to apply for reimbursement after you have paid for the activities using the form available in your SME Fund account.

*Note: Vouchers are valid for 4 months from the moment you receive the grant, and can be extended by another 2 months during the last 30 days of the original 4-month period if required.  During this period, you can request and pay for IP activities and then request the corresponding reimbursement, thus activating your voucher(s).

Make sure that you use your voucher(s) during the validity period!

 Once you have activated your voucher(s), there is an implementation period’ during which you can request further activities and ask for additional reimbursement. This period lasts:

  • 6 months for Voucher 1
  • 12 months for Voucher 2
In each case you have an additional 30 days maximum to request reimbursement after the ‘implementation period’.
IDConsortium - SME Fund – The Ideas Powered for business SME Fund

Budget available for IP scans and trade mark or design applications

Budget available for patent registrations

Voucher 1 for IP Scan, trade mark and design fees per SME

Voucher 2 for patent fees per SME

IDConsortium - SME Fund – The Ideas Powered for business SME Fund

The 2022 edition of the SME Fund covers several activities to help you implement your IP asset strategy depending of the needs of your business.

Eligible IP activities and reimbursement percentage:

  • IP pre-diagnostic service (IP scan) 90%
  • Trade marks and designs (national, regional and EU level) 75%
  • Trade marks and designs (outside the EU) 50%
  • Patents (national level) 50%

Steps: 

  1. Apply for the grant 
  2. Receive your grant award and voucher
  3. Request and pay for IP activities within 4 months after receiving the voucher. 
  4. Get reimbursed

Detailed information on limits and fees can be found in the call for proposals and corresponding annexes.

90% reimbursement for IP pre-diagnostic services (IP Scan)

    • Through arranged interviews with an IP expert designated by the national IP office, you collaboratively examine your business model, products or services and growth plans to determine the most appropriate IP strategy for your business. IP Scan does not constitute a legal service.
    • After the assessment, the IP expert will provide you with a full report on your IP strategy and propose a set of best practices and recommendations on how to manage, protect, and develop your IP rights in the future.
    • IP Scan covers all intellectual property rights (trade marks, designs, patents, utility models, plant varieties, geographical indications) as well as those that are unregistered/unregistrable (e.g. copyrights, trade secrets, company names, domain names).

For more information on IP Scan within the framework of the SME Fund, please consult the IP office website.

        The level of protection you choose (national, regional, EU, or international) will depend on your business strategy and your growth plans. If you are unsure about what sort of protection to apply for, or at which territorial level, an IP pre-diagnostic service (IP Scan) or a free IP consultation (pro bono service) can help you make the right choice.

         

          • 75% reimbursement of trade mark and design fees at EU level:
            You can apply for a 75% reimbursement of trade mark and/or design application fees, additional class fees, and examination, registration, publication and deferment of publication fees at EU level. The registration for this type of protection should be performed through the EUIPO.
          • 75% reimbursement of trade mark and design fees at national and regional level
            You can apply for a 75% reimbursement of trade mark and/or design application fees, additional class fees, and examination, registration, publication and deferment of publication fees at national and regional level. The registration for this type of protection should be performed directly through a national IP office or the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (for protection at regional level covering Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg).
          • 50% reimbursement of trade mark and design fees outside the EU
            You can apply for a 50% reimbursement of trade mark and/or design basic application fees, designation fees, and subsequent designation fees outside the EU. Designation fees for EU countries are excluded as are handling fees charged by the office of origin. The application for this type of protection should be performed through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
            • 50% reimbursement of patent fees at national level
              You can apply for a 50% reimbursement of patent pre-grant (e.g. filing, search, and examination), grant, and publication fees at national level. The registration for this type of protection should be performed directly through a national IP office or the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (for protection at regional level covering Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg).

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