Financial Incentives to help EU Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) protect their intellectual property rights

26 Feb 2021 | Anastasia Xenopoulou

Executive Summary

On the 11th of January 2021 the Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry has announced that the European Union, supported by the European Commission and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), will begin offering financial incentives for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to register and protect their trademarks and/or industrial designs through the Ideas Powered for Business SME Fund Program.

The Ideas Powered for Business SME Fund Program is designed to support businesses to develop Intellectual Property (IP) strategies and protect their IP rights at a national, regional or European Union level.

The aim of the program is to support and incentivize businesses by covering the IP pre-diagnostic services, trademark, and/or industrial design registration applications. The fund is a 20 million Euro grant scheme that will grant IP Vouchers to European Union SMEs and will be open for applications in five separate grant windows throughout 2021 on a chronological order of priority. Both the abovementioned services imply partial restitution of the associated costs (i.e. registration costs) and each SME can be reimbursed up to a maximum value of 1,500 Euro.

Brief Discussion

Procedure for the application of the grant

All interested enterprises are eligible for the grant if they fall under the official European Union definition of SMEs. The definition is comprised of three criteria:

  • staff headcount;
  • annual turnover and;
  • annual balance sheet total.

The application will be accepted if the enterprise can be determined as a small or medium-sized enterprise.

Small enterprises are defined as enterprises that employ fewer than 50 persons and whose annual turnover or annual balance sheet total is less than 10 million Euro.

Medium-sized enterprises are defined as enterprises that employ fewer than 250 persons and either have an annual turnover that is less than 50 million Euros or an annual balance sheet not exceeding 43 million Euro.

However, it should be noted that an enterprise may choose to meet either the annual turnover or the annual balance sheet total ceiling. It does not need to satisfy both requirements and may exceed one of them without having an impact on its SME status.

If the enterprise is eligible as per the above, they have the option to submit an application electronically to the EUIPO. If the application is approved, they can apply for registration of their trademarks and/or industrial designs and 50% of the amount paid for the registration of the trademark and/or industrial design will be refunded.

In Cyprus, the refund of the 50% of the registration fees will be given by the EUIPO for applications that will be registered in the Intellectual and Industrial Property Section in the Department of Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver.

Registration fees and reimbursements

As mentioned above, the grant will be applied in IP pre-diagnostic execution and/or trademark and/or industrial design registration application by an SME within the 27 European Union Member States, during 2021.

The interested SMEs can apply for:

  1. 75% off the cost of IP pre-diagnostic, and/or;
  2. 50% off trademarks and/or industrial design application fees.

Currently, it should be noted that in Cyprus, the fee for the application of registration of the trademark is 141 Euros and for the application of registration of the industrial design is 136.69 Euros.

Schedule of Application windows

To apply for the grant, you need to do so within one of the following windows:

  • Window 1: 11 January 2021 - 31 January 2021
  • Window 2: 1 March 2021 - 31 March 2021
  • Window 3: 1 May 2021 - 31 May 2021
  • Window 4: 1 July 2021 - 31 July 2021
  • Window 5: 1 September 2021 - 30 September 2021

Other notable comments

Only applications submitted within the above windows will be considered and each SME can submit a single request for one of these services, or one that combines both, with a possibility that the request for each one of them is to be carried out at different times. However, despite the flexibility of the request, as previously mentioned, the maximum amount that can be reimbursed is a value of 1,500 Euros.

How can we help you?

With our comprehensive support at every stage, we will assist you with:

  • Performance of pre-diagnostic checks and assessment of your current IP strategy and available options;

 

  • Application for obtaining the grant;

 

  • Advice and full support with the registration of your trademark and/or industrial design;

 

  • Adopting a holistic IP strategy and ensuring you fully protect and safeguard your IP assets.
About this Article
Author
Anastasia Xenopoulou

Advocate / Trainee

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