On the initiative of the EU Commission, the EUIPO will continue to offer financial support for SMEs for IP protection applications in 2022. The new edition of the SME Fund programme promotes the European protection of trade marks, designs and patents.
Last year, the EUIPO launched the “SME Fund”, a financial support programme for more applications in IP protection, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. Now, in 2022, there is a new edition, this time for the protection of trademarks, designs and patents.
SME Fund – action of EU Kommission und EUIPO
The “SME Fund” is a joint action of the European Commission and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). The aim is to provide financial support, especially to small and medium-sized enterprises, to protect corporate identities, products, services and processes against imitation and unauthorised use through IP protection. This is indispensable in the digital age, the EUIPO explained at the presentation of the “SME Fund” for 2022.
Who can apply for this SME funding?
Who is considered an SME for the purposes of EU funding is clearly defined and is based on three factors: Number of employees, company category and either turnover or balance sheet total. Funding under the SME Fund is primarily aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises.
Support from the SME Fund is limited at SMEs with their registered office in the European Union. Applications for the IP registration funding can be submitted by an owner, an employee or an authorised representative of an SME from the EU acting on behalf of the SME.
How does the application process work?
The SME Fund 2022 has been set up for the period from 10 January 2022 to 16 December 2022. The principle of “first come, first serve” applies – if the funds made available have all been drawn down, the funding under the SME Fund is also likely to end early. In this respect, it is advisable to apply for the offer of funding under the SME Fund as soon as possible if you are interested.
The SME Fund is a reimbursement programme in which vouchers are issued to partially cover the fees for the selected IP applications. SME applicants for IP protection must therefore pay in advance, but are largely reimbursed for the costs.
Those wishing to benefit from the SME Fund must proceed as follows:
- Registrieren at the EUIPO for the SME Fund; if one already has such an account, then register with one’s data.
- Submit an application form.
- Once the application has been approved, the applicant will receive a notification of financial support and voucher(s) as payment from the SME Fund.
- Now the applications for the desired IP protection can be carried out.
- Following the IP application, reimbursement can be claimed for a large part of the costs. To do this, the SME Fund account (also called SME Fund account) must be used to apply for reimbursement of the registration costs using a specific form; this reimbursement application activates the vouchers.
Please note that the SME Fund vouchers are valid for a limited period of time. They have an expiry date, so to speak. In principle, the vouchers are valid for four months from the moment you receive the grant and can also be extended for a further two months within the last 30 days of the four-month period.
De facto, this means that between the notification of the grant from the SME Fund (“from the moment you receive the grant”) and the actual reimbursement, the IP protection must have been registered and paid for – and there may be a maximum of 6 months in between. Furthermore, an additional reimbursement can still be applied for, this application can be submitted up to 30 days after the “implementation period” of 6 months.
2 Types of vouchers and IP promotion
In principle, two types of vouchers and IP support are issued with the SME Fund 2022 support programme: on the one hand, for IP protection of trademarks and designs and, on the other hand, for IP protection for patents. It is also possible to apply for both types of vouchers.
Voucher 1, 1500 Euro: Voucher for the reimbursement of fees for trade mark and design applications and IP scans.
Voucher 2, 750 Euro: Voucher for the refund of patent fees.
Are you interested but don’t have much time?
You would like to take advantage of the offer but have little time to take care of it?
Our patent and trade mark law firm will be happy to assist you with your trade mark or design applications or patent protection activities.