Starting January 11, 2021. The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), together with the European Commission, has launched a call for applications under The Ideas Powered for Business SME Fund program, which aims to support European small and medium-sized entrepreneurs (SMEs) in accessing intellectual property rights.
Under the program, SMEs can apply for a grant to pay for trademark or design application fees at the national, regional (Benelux), or EU level. Beneficiaries can obtain a 50% reimbursement (up to a maximum of €1500) of the filing fees for trademarks or designs.
Applications can be submitted by SMEs that are established in the European Union and meet the criteria of the number of employees and annual turnover or annual balance sheet total:
Each applicant can submit only one application for a subsidy, but it can concern any number of trademarks/industrial designs – there is, however, a limit of 1,500 euros in reimbursement. The application form should be submitted to EUIPO online (EUIPO will send an e-mail confirming receipt of the application), and then EUIPO will issue a grant decision. If the decision is positive, the application for the trademark/industrial design must be filed with the relevant office and paid within 30 days from the date of receipt of the grant decision, and then the applicant must apply to EUIPO for a refund of a portion of the application fees (subject to a limit) up to December 31, 2021. To receive reimbursement under the program, it is irrelevant whether the mark/design is finally registered by the office concerned or not.
It should be stressed, however, that if the SME has previously received other grants for the application of trademarks/industrial designs covered by the application, it is not possible to obtain a grant.
The total budget for the program is estimated at 20 million euros. Applications can only be submitted in five rounds of so-called “windows” with a grant pool of €4 million each:
- January 11 to January 31, 2021,
- from March 1 to March 31, 2021,
- 1 May to 31 May 2021,
- July 1 to July 31, 2021,
- September 1 to September 30, 2021.
As with trademark/industrial design protection, the priority of applications is decisive, i.e. if the application meets all formal criteria and the pool for a given window has not yet been exhausted, the grant is awarded. EUIPO assumes, however, that the pool of grants may be exhausted before the end of the closing date of a given window, so we recommend that you do not wait to submit your application.
More information on how to apply is available in the call for proposals and in the checklist, which, among other things, indicates that the SME must have a certificate confirming its VAT liability status or a company account number along with a bank statement with the following information: company name as an account holder; IBAN; BIC/SWIFT code. It is also worthwhile to verify, on an ongoing basis, whether the grant pool for a given window has not been reached, which is updated by EUIPO in a table made available by it.
It is therefore a good time to sort out the IP situation in your business and protect your brand, product, or packaging if you have been putting it off because of costs or lack of time to sort out IP issues.
Zalecenie UE 2003/361/ – https://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/sme-definition_en