The European Commission and European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) have launched a new grant scheme to help European SMEs access their IP rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kolster’s IP lawyer Sanna Häikiö explains what the funding is about and who is eligible to apply.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) registered in an EU Member State can now apply for funding to help cover the costs of registering a trademark or design at the European or national level. A total of 20 million euros will be paid out in funding.
The IP voucher granted by the European Commission and European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) differs from other grants such as the Business Finland innovation voucher in that it covers only basic fees of trademark and design applications.
There are five application windows, the first of which began in early January and ends on 31 January 2021. The next windows will be in March 2021, May 2021, July 2021 and September 2021. A total of 4 million euros will be paid out in each window.
You can apply for the grant on the EUIPO website.
In addition to trademark and design right application fees, the funding covers the IP scan service, although this is only available in certain Member States for the time being. IP scan is not available in Finland.
Funding for trademark and design application fees is available to SMEs registered in an EU Member State that have fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of up to 50 million euros. The grant reimburses 50% of trademark and design application fees up to a maximum of 1,500 euros. The application does not need to be successful in order to be eligible for funding.
Applicants can apply for the grant only once. Bankruptcy, liquidation and other serious professional misconduct disqualify the applicant from funding.
Funding is granted in two steps. First, the applicant fills in an initial survey form on the EUIPO website that asks basic information about the SME and how they intend to use the grant. After receiving confirmation that you are eligible and a preliminary grant decision, you are free to purchase the trademark or design service from a company of your choosing, such as Kolster. After the service has been paid for, the applicant applies for reimbursement.
Grants are awarded on a “first come, first serve” basis in the order in which applications come in. For this reason, you should apply for funding as soon as possible once a window opens.
Applicants who have previously received EU or national funding for the same service are not eligible. For example, if you have used a Business Finland innovation voucher to pay trademark or design application fees, you cannot receive the grant from the EU.
Start by filling in the preliminary information form on the EUIPO website. Submitting the form will not obligate you in any way. The website also has a checklist on whether your business is eligible for the funding. For more information and assistance, contact Kolster’s IP experts.
Kolster is one of the most experienced IP specialists in Europe. We offer a one-stop-shop solution for all IP services for protecting, exploiting and defending your inventions, designs and brands.