The SME Fund, a European Commission initiative implemented by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has been launched once again this year and will run from the 10th of January 2022 to the 16th of December 2022.
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. The new funding scheme is simpler and more flexible to the evolving IP needs of SMEs in the context of COVID19.
In this regard, the Commerce Department is collaborating with the EUIPO to offer financial support/grants to those SMEs by providing 75% reimbursement of trade mark and design fees at EU and national level and 50% reimbursement of patent fees at national level. Hence, for the first time the new EU SME Fund is also covering patents. The grants consist of a partial reimbursement of costs to the beneficiary, up to a maximum of €1,500 per beneficiary in the case of trade marks and designs, and up to a maximum of €750 in the case of patents.
Applicants can apply at any point in time from 10th January 2022 to 16th December 2022 (no windows). Within 15 working days of submitting the application, the SME will receive by email: the grant award, or a clarification request, or a rejection. In case of applying through a representative, all communications will be addressed both to representative and SME.
Vouchers are not retroactive, costs for activities executed before getting the voucher cannot be reimbursed, hence SMEs must initiate their IP activities after having received a grant award. Once the SME has paid for its first activity, it can request the first reimbursement to activate its voucher. The voucher expires within four (4) months but can be extended for an additional two (2) months, if required.
Applicants will need to click on https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/online-services/sme-fund and proceed with filling the relative application form. After receiving the voucher, the SME can apply for their trademark and/or design and/or patent on https://ips.gov.mt/ or for an EU application on https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/apply-now and thereafter, for the reimbursement with the EUIPO.
More details can be found at: https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/online-services/sme-fund
ABOUT THE SME FUND
In 2021, the Commission together with EUIPO launched a first EU SME Fund offering services to reimburse the costs of IP Scan and national trade mark and design registration costs. A total of €6.8 million of the budget has been used by 12,989 SMEs from all 27 Member States.