Has your SME protected its Intellectual Property (IP) rights?

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the European Commission are supporting the ‘Ideas Powered for Business SME Fund’ which is aimed at businesses that seek to protect their IP rights, at national, regional, or EU level. The Fund, with a grant scheme of €20 million, wishes to assist European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in accessing their intellectual property rights.

SMEs wishing to register a trademark or a design, at either EU or national level, can submit an application and, upon approval, they can apply for a 50% reimbursement of trademark and/or design basic application fees. Each SME can be reimbursed up to a maximum of €1500.  

To meet the eligibility criteria, an enterprise must fit the definition of a SME as provided by the EU and the application must be submitted within the time periods provided below. The two factors that determine whether a company is an SME are the number of its employees and its turnover or balance sheet total. SMEs include enterprises that employ less than 250 persons and which have a turnover or balance sheet total not exceeding € 50 m or € 43 m, respectively.  An enterprise is considered small when the staff headcount is below 50 and its turnover or balance sheet total do not exceed € 10 m.  In a further subdivision microenterprises are defined as such when they employ fewer than 10 persons and their turnover and/or annual balance sheet total do not exceed EUR 2 million. All these enterprises are eligible to apply for assistance from the Fund.

A user guide to the SME definition can be found here: https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/conferences/state-aid/sme/smedefinitionguide_en.pdf

The application windows for the Fund are the following:

When an application is submitted outside of the above time periods it will not be considered. Only one application can be submitted by each enterprise.

The EUIPO will award the grants on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. For more information regarding the SME Fund, visit: https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/online-services/sme-fund

When choosing the territorial level of protection for your SME’s trademarks or designs it is important to consider your business strategy and growth plans. Our IP Team has extensive experience and expertise in matters concerning IP rights, such as the registration of trademarks on a national, EU and international level. For more information or help to register your trademarks and designs or to help you choose the territorial level of protection suitable for your enterprise, you can contact us at [email protected].