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SME Fund






















The Ideas Powered for Business SME Fund is a European Commission initiative implemented by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) to financially support European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with IP vouchers for the protection of their intellectual property (IP) rights, namely trade marks and designs. The Fund will allocate EUR 20 million in grants distributed in six phases (windows) from January to December 2021.
 
Beneficiaries will receive a partial reimbursement of the costs of IP pre-diagnostic services (IP Scan) and trade mark and design applications.
 
Service 1 : 75 % off IP pre-diagnostic services (IP Scan) offered by participating national IP offices. 

Service 2 : 50 % off the basic application fees of national, regional and EU trade marks and designs. 

Each SME can be reimbursed up to a maximum of EUR 1 500.

No. The SME must first apply for the grant (IP voucher) and wait for the grant decision. After receiving the grant decision, the SME can apply for the services (trade marks and/or designs applications and/or an IP pre-diagnostic service (IP Scan) or a combination of both) that it indicated in the grant application form (eForm1). Finally, the SME can apply for the corresponding reimbursement.

An authorised employee or the CEO of EU SMEs can fill in the application for a grant from the Ideas Powered for Business SME Fund.
 
All small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs established in the European Union are eligible to apply for a grant in the form of an IP voucher. SMEs that wish to apply for an IP pre-diagnostic service (IP Scan), must be established in the country in which an eligible IP pre-diagnostic provider is available as published in the call for proposals.
 
Please check the official EU definition of an SME to ensure that your company is eligible.

The SME has to be established within the European Union.

The factors determining if an enterprise is an SME, as defined in the EU recommendation 2003/361, are as indicated below.


No, unless they are engaged in an economic activity. Please refer to the definition of an SME established by the European Commission.

Yes, however if the application is successful only the SME may benefit from the grant.

The first of six application windows will open on 11 January 2021 according to the following timetable:



The SME can only apply for a grant in the form of an IP voucher during an open window and only using the online form provided. Applications submitted outside the six designated time periods will not be considered.
 

Yes. If the SME requests one service in one window, it can apply for the other service in a subsequent window.

Each SME can be reimbursed up to a maximum total of EUR 1 500 for service 1 or service 2 or a combination of both services:

Service 1: 75 % off IP pre-diagnostic services (IP Scan) offered by participating national IP offices.
Service 2: 50 % off the basic application fees of national, regional and EU trade marks and designs. 

Example 1. Service 1: The SME must first pay the total cost of the IP pre-diagnostic service (IP Scan). If it costs EUR 1000, then 75 % reimbursement would be equal to EUR 750. In this case the SME would be reimbursed EUR 750.



Example 2. Service 2: The SME must first pay the total cost of the basic application fees of the trade marks and designs. If the SME wants to register two national designs that cost EUR 250 each and, at the same time, wants to register two EU trade marks that cost EUR 850 each, the total cost of all the applications would be EUR 2 200. The 50 % reimbursement would be equal to EUR 1 100. In this case the SME pays EUR 2 200 and is reimbursed EUR 1 100.



Example 3. Service 1 and service 2 combined: If the SME would like to have both services mentioned in examples 1 and 2, the cost would be EUR 1 000 for service 1 and EUR 2 200 for service 2, bringing the total cost to EUR 3 200. In this case the SME would be reimbursed the maximum amount of the grant set at EUR 1 500.

Each SME can be reimbursed up to a maximum of EUR 1 500 for service 2 or a combination of services 1 and 2. When requesting service 1, the 75% maximum reimbursement of the eligible costs would be as follows:
 

Only one application can be made for service 1 or service 2 or a combination of both, always with a maximum reimbursement of EUR 1 500 per applicant.
If you request one service in one window, you can apply for the other service in a subsequent window.

If applicants are eligible, the ‘first come, first served’ principle will be applied during each window for applications, based on the date and time of submission of the application.

These are the steps that the SMEs need to follow to apply for the grant:
 
1. After reading the call for proposals on our Grants webpage, fill out and submit the online grant application form (eForm1) together with the required documentation. Read our Checklist in Question 9 carefully before you apply. If you are successful, you will receive a grant decision signed by the EUIPO. Keep it safe as you will need it later! Unsuccessful applicants will be informed of the reasons for the negative decision.
 
2. Next, apply and pay for your trade mark and/or design and/or IP pre-diagnostic service (IP Scan) within 30 days of receiving the grant decision. 
 
Trade marks and designs can be applied for at any of the national IP offices of the EU (national level), at the Benelux Office of Intellectual Property (covering Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg; regional level), or with us at the EUIPO (covering all the EU Member States).
 
IP pre-diagnostic services (IP Scan) are available at the national offices that offer this service (see list below).
  
3. Finally, once you have paid for the services, submit your request for payment (eForm2) before 31 May 2022 using the link included in your grant decision. The payment, subject to the approval of the information and documentation submitted, will be made within 1 month.

The applicant should read the following Checklist carefully before applying to ensure that the necessary documentation can be prepared.

       CHECKLIST
  • My company/enterprise is an established EU small or medium-sized enterprise (SME).
  • I have read the call for proposals before starting to fill in the application form.
  • I know my company’s bank details and have a bank statement where the following details appear: company name as account holder, IBAN code and BIC/SWIFT code.
  • I have my company’s VAT certificate.
  • I know what service(s) I plan to apply for (service 1, service 2 or both), as referred to in Question 1 above and in the call for proposals.
  • I know what IP rights (trade marks and/or designs) I plan to apply for (service 2).
  • I understand that I cannot request the services if I have already received national or EU funding for the same or part of the same services.

It is very important to indicate in the field ‘Company name’ the same information that appears in the VAT/Tax document attached, and in the bank statement.
 
Another common mistake is to not indicate the complete IBAN number in the e-form which must be exactly the same as the one in the bank statement (and include the country code).
 
Please make sure that all attached documents are clearly legible.

You can provide more than one email address to ensure that all communications are received.

Please make sure that you indicate the same name as the one figuring in the VAT certificate which should also be the same as the account holder of the bank certificate attached.

Please check this document and follow the example structure for your country when filling in the VAT field in the online application form (including the country code).
For applicants considered tax exempt by their competent national authority and holding a tax identification number as equivalent, they will be requested to provide the relevant certificate issued by their competent national authority demonstrating the legal existence of their company.
If the structure of the tax identification number is different to the VAT number structure, please follow the following instructions when encoding the information.
  • If the tax identification number has the same number of digits but is missing a country code, it must be preceded by the country code.Example: the VAT number structure is EU12345678 and the tax identification number is 12345678. Applicants should enter EU12345678.
  • If the tax identification number includes the country code but does not have the same number of digits, it must be followed by the letter “X” until the required number of digits has been reached.Example: the VAT number structure is EU12345678 and the tax identification number is EU123456. Applicants should enter EU123456XX.
  • If the tax identification number does not include the country code and does not have the same number of digits, it must be preceded by the country code and followed by the letter “X” until the required number of digits has been reached.Example: the VAT number structure is EU12345678 and the tax identification number is 123456. Applicants should enter EU123456XX.

The bank statement or bank certificate must indicate the ‘Account Holder’ (this must be the same as the ‘Company Name’), ‘Bank Name’, ‘IBAN account number’ and ‘BIC/SWIFT code’. A stamp from the bank and the signature of the bank's representative are not required. Please find an example here.

  1. Please note that the process can take up to 60 minutes.
  2. Check you have indicated the correct email address. It is advisable to provide more than one email address.
  3. Check your spam/junk/unwanted email.
  4. If you still have not received it, please contact information@euipo.europa.eu
This email should not be taken as an indication that the application is admissible, only that it was submitted. Applicants will be notified individually by a separate email about the results of the evaluation process as stated in section 4.5 of the call for proposals.

Once the window is closed, the evaluation committee will review all the applications and if they need any further information, a notification will be sent by email.

If after submitting your application, you decide NOT to continue, please send an email to grants.smefund@euipo.europa.eu attaching the acknowledgement email of your application and indicating ‘I would like to withdraw my application from the SME Fund grant’.

Yes. You have 30 days from the day you receive the grant decision to apply for the services you indicated in the application. Otherwise you will be not be entitled to request the corresponding reimbursement.

Service 1: IP pre-diagnostic service (IP Scan)





IP pre-diagnostics are key in building an SME’s IP strategy. IP experts look at the SME’s business model, products and/or services and growth plans to formulate an IP strategy for them.
 
This service can help SMEs decide what IP rights to apply for, how to develop their IP portfolio if they already have registered rights, and how to plan their strategy for the future.

The IP Scan service does not constitute a legal service.

All IP rights (patents, trade marks, designs, utility models, plant varieties, geographical indications) are covered by the IP pre-diagnostic service (IP scan), including the non‑registered/non-registrable ones (e.g. trade secrets, ©, unregistered designs) and company names, domain names, etc.

In the framework of the SME Fund, IP pre-diagnostic services (IP Scan) are not offered in all Member States. To check whether this service is offered in your Member State either from the national IP-Office or from an external partner of your national IP-Office, please check the following LIST.

Please remember that some national IP offices could offer IP pre-diagnostic services (IP Scan) outside the scope of the SME Fund. Please contact your national IP office for further information.

Once you have received the Grant award, you can contact your national IP office and apply for Service 1 IP pre-diagnostic (IP scan).
After you have received the invoice and paid for the service, you can submit your request for reimbursement using the link available in Annex IV of the Grant decision.


Service 2: Trade mark and design applications














The SME can apply for a 50 % reimbursement of trade mark and/or design basic application fees (national, regional and/or EU).
 
Trade marks and designs can be applied for at any of the national IP offices of the EU (national level), at the Benelux Office of Intellectual Property (covering Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg; regional level), or at the EUIPO (covering all the Member States of the EU).
 
The territorial level of protection selected will depend on the SME’s business strategy and growth plans. If the SME is unsure of what to apply for, and where, an IP pre-diagnostic service (IP Scan) could help it decide.

The SME or the representative on behalf of the SME

  • For trade mark applications: the basic fee paid at the moment of application, excluding additional classes of goods and services.
  • For design applications: the basic fee paid at the moment of application, excluding any additional publication or deferment fees.

The basic fee is paid when you apply for an RCD. It does not include any additional publication or deferment fees. For one application, the fee is EUR 230 of which 50 % can be reimbursed under the SME Fund grant scheme. So, if you apply to be reimbursed for one RCD, you will receive EUR 115. Any other costs incurred are not eligible for reimbursement.


Yes, the representative can request and pay for the trade mark(s) and/or design(s) application(s) on behalf of the SME. Afterwards, the representative can also submit the request for reimbursement on behalf of the SME. However, reimbursement will be made into the SME’s bank account (i.e. the beneficiary of the Grant Decision).

There is no limit to the number of IP rights (trade marks and/or designs) that the SME can apply for. However, the SME will be reimbursed 50 % of the basic application fees up to a maximum of EUR 1 500.

As only one application per service is allowed, all IP rights have to be included in the same application.

Yes, once you have received the Grant decision, you have 30 days to apply for the services. In order to benefit from the grant, the reimbursement for all of the trade marks and/or designs must be requested at the same time.

No, you have to wait to receive a successful Grant Decision. Once you have received it, you can apply and pay for your trade mark and/or design and/or IP pre-diagnostic service (IP scan) within 30 calendar days.

No, the grant is only available for new trade mark and/or design applications.    

No distinction is made between successful and unsuccessful trade mark applications. If the grant application (IP voucher) is awarded, after applying and paying for the trade mark, the SME may request reimbursement of 50% of the basic application fee.

You can proceed and apply just for those services needed, as long as they are included in your grant award that met all the requirements.

Yes, the grant can be used to apply for a multiple RCD, but bear in mind that only the basic fee will be eligible. Reduced and extra fees are not included.
The fee structure for a multiple design application is as follows:
 
  • A basic fee for a single design or the first design of a multiple application (included in the grant);
  • A reduced fee for the second design onwards (not included in the grant);
  • A publication fee per design (not included in the grant);
  • A deferment fee per design, optional (not included in the grant).

Reimbursement






  • You will receive by email the Grant Decision confirmation of approval.
  • Following the date of this notification, you have 30 days to apply and pay for the services.
  • To submit your request for payment, use the link provided in your Grant Decision.
  • You will receive an email acknowledging the reception of your request for payment. Please note that this can take up to 60 minutes.
  • Subject to the approval of the information and documentation submitted, payment will be made within one month into your bank account.

You will be notified by email.

The SME may request the reimbursement as beneficiary, its representative may do so on its behalf. However, the reimbursement will always be made into the SME’s bank account.

All request for payment forms (eForm2) must be submitted by 31 May 2022. Requests for payment submitted after this date will not be accepted and reimbursement will not be possible.

The grant will be paid into the company’s bank account indicated on the application form (eForm1).

When filling in the trade mark(s) and/or design(s) applied for, the amount will be automatically calculated.

Notifications






The SME will receive an email acknowledging the reception of its application.
 
If successful, the SME will receive a grant decision signed by the EUIPO. Unsuccessful applicants will be informed of the reasons for the negative decision.

After reviewing your application, the evaluation committee will always send one of the following outcomes: a grant award; a request for further information, or a non-successful notification.

Simply reply to the email address indicated in the request for further information letter you have received. Please introduce the information and/or attach the documents requested and we will update your application.

The information submitted will be assessed by the evaluation committee and you will receive a notification of the results.

Once you have received the Grant Decision, you can apply and pay for your trade mark and/or design within 30 calendar days.
 
After you have paid for the services, you may submit your request for reimbursement using the link available in Annex IV of the Grant Decision. Once this is submitted, you will receive an email acknowledging the reception of your request for reimbursement. Please note that this can take up to 60 minutes. The reimbursement, which is subject to the approval of the information and documentation submitted, will be made within 1 month and beneficiaries will be notified by email accordingly.


Page last updated 11-03-2021
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