EU SME Fund for Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property Funding | Jan 24, 2024

EU SME Fund 2024: Boosting SMEs’ IP Management

The SME Fund, an initiative of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the European Commission, has launched its 2024 edition. This fund is specifically tailored to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the European Union in managing and protecting their intellectual property rights.

The SME Fund is a European Commission initiative implemented by the
European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and will run from
22 January 2024 to 6 December 2024.

The 2024 edition of the SME Fund has an estimated budget of EUR 18.85 million for IP scan and trademark or design protection and EUR 1.15 million for patents and plant varieties. The fund is accessible not only to EU-based SMEs but also offers opportunities for Ukrainian SMEs as part of EUIPO’s wider support initiatives for Ukraine.

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The primary focus of the SME Fund is to offer financial support for various services related to intellectual property (IP). These include:

  • Covering legal costs for drafting and filing European patent applications, with a maximum reimbursement of 50% or EUR 2,000 if done by a professional representative from the EPO official list.
  • Partially reimburse the representation costs charged by legal professionals for the preparation and filing of these applications, including unitary patents, and the registration costs of plant varieties.
  • One of the key features of the SME Fund is the provision of IP Scan services. This service offers a broad assessment of the intellectual property needs of the applying SME, considering the innovative potential of its intangible assets. The fund reimburses 90% of the fees charged by Member States for these IP Scan services.
  • Moreover, 75% of the fees charged by intellectual property offices for trademark and design registration are also reimbursed.
  • The fund additionally covers 50% of the fees charged by the World Intellectual Property Organisation for obtaining international trademark and design protection.

Applications for the fund are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, and the fund will be managed through calls for proposals that are open from 2022 to 2024. The financial support provided by this fund is seen as a crucial step for SMEs to valorize their innovations and creativity, especially in the context of the COVID-19 recovery and the push for green and digital transitions.

For detailed information on application processes, eligibility, and more visit here.

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