The Ideas Powered for Business SME Fund, a €20 million grant scheme, to support businesses that wish to develop their IP strategies and protect their IP rights at national, regional or European Union (EU) level, was set up by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the European Commission, in collaboration with the Member States’ national intellectual property offices. The fund aims to help EU SMEs benefit from registering, protecting and exploiting their creativity and innovations.
Since its launch in January 2021, the SME Fund has provided financial support to more than 8000 European SMEs from all 27 EU Member States that have applied for trade mark and design protection. The largest number of applications have been from SMEs based in Spain (886), followed by Germany (860) and Italy (773).
With the fourth application window of the SME Fund now closed, more than 13,000 trade mark and 3,400 design registrations have been requested at national, regional and EU level. Applications for IP pre-diagnostic services (IP Scan) are also on the rise, with 487 requests to date.
The importance of intellectual property (IP) for business, creativity and innovation
Europe’s 25 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the economy of the EU. They employ around 100 million people and account for more than half of Europe’s GDP. SMEs bring solutions to challenges such as climate change and help spread innovation throughout Europe’s regions. Eurostat data shows that 50% of SMEs report innovation activities, yet only 9% have registered intellectual property rights (IPRs).
IP plays a vital role in promoting creativity and innovation as it provides a mechanism to protect and benefit from the results of these activities. The positive effects of IPR ownership for SMEs include improved reputation and credibility, increased turnover and better market expansion prospects. Overall, revenue per employee is approximately 55% higher for enterprises that own IPRs than for those that do not.
Apply for the SME Fund in September 2021
The fifth application window was opened by the EUIPO on 1 September 2021. Successful applicants can receive reimbursement for:
- 50% of the cost of basic application fees for trade marks and designs at national, regional and EU level (all EU Member States);
- 75% of the cost of IP pre-diagnostic services (IP Scan) to help them develop an IP strategy (SMEs registered in can apply).
Don’t forget to apply here to get reimbursement for your SME!