EU commission’s IP action plan includes IP voucher to protect SMEs
On 25 November 2020, the EU Commission published a new intellectual property (IP) action plan with an aim of supporting ‘the EU’s recovery and resilience’, noting intangible assets (i.e. patents, trade marks, designs, copyright and trade secrets, etc) as ‘the cornerstone of today’s economy’. The full overview of the action plan can be found via our article, here.
Specifically relating to European SMEs, the action plan notes that only 9% of EU SMEs have registered IP rights. It therefore aims to help EU SMEs to better manage their IP and improve their competitiveness by giving them easier access to information and advice on IP. Through the EU’s public funding programmes and further rolled-out at a national level, EU SMEs will get financial aid to finance so-called IP scans (comprehensive, initial, strategic and professional advice on the added value of IP for the individual SME’s business), as well as certain costs related to IP filings.
This will happen through the implementation of an ‘IP voucher’, which is made available in co-operation with the EUIPO, providing co-funding of up to €1,500 for:
- IP Scans: up to 75% of the cost; and/or
- registration of trade marks and design rights in the EU and its Member States: up to 50% of the application fees.
SMEs will be able to apply as of mid-January for the IP voucher, through a dedicated website. We understand that the voucher will be provided on a ‘first come first served’ basis.
The action plan also indicates the EU Commission’s intention to make it easier for SMEs to leverage their IP when trying to get access to finance, and that this may be done for example through the use of IP valuations.
For more information about how your business could utilise this IP voucher funding, contact the author, Andrew White, or a member of our expert team.
Written by: Andrew White