The next edition of the SME Fund, which enables funding for small and medium-sized enterprises for the protection of intellectual property rights, is being launched. Grant applications can be submitted from 23 January 2023 until 8 December 2023. A webinar on this edition of the fund will be held on 31 January 2023 at 10:00 CET, aimed at both companies and their attorneys.
WHAT IS THE SME FUND?
The SME Fund is part of the EU Intellectual Property Office's (EUIPO) Ideas Powered for Business program. The fund issues vouchers to reimburse part of the fees related to intellectual property protection. In Poland, vouchers can be used to reimburse costs related to the registration of trademarks and designs at the national, regional, EU or international level, and the maximum amount of reimbursement for one company is EUR 1,000. Checking the available types of vouchers for each country is possible here: https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/pl/online-services/sme-fund
The fund is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, which according to the EU definition have fewer than 250 employees, an annual turnover of less than or equal to EUR 50 million or a total balance sheet of less than or equal to EUR 43 million . Companies that have benefited from support from the fund in previous years can also apply for a grant this year.
WHY IS IT WORTH IT?
By registering trademarks or designs, companies increase their level of security and competitiveness. According to EUIPO 2022 data, 93% of SMEs felt the positive impact of registering IP rights, while 36% of SMEs benefited financially from their registered IP rights .
Registering IP rights involves costs, which can be reduced in real terms with SME Fund support. SME Fund funding is limited to €25 million (for two types of vouchers), so it is worth applying now. The maximum reimbursement you can receive is:
- 75% of the cost of filing an EU trademark or Community design application, additional class fees and fees for examination, registration, publication and deferral of publication;
- 75% of the fees for a national or regional trademark or design application, the additional fees for the classes and the fees for examination, registration, publication and deferral of publication;
- 50% of the basic fees for a trademark or design application, designation fees and subsequent designation outside the EU; designation fees paid in the Member States are excluded, as are the handling fees charged by the office of origin.
THE PROCESS FROM GRANT APPLICATION TO REIMBURSEMENT
The procedure for obtaining a grant is as follows:
1. Submission of the grant application
A grant application may be submitted by the owner of the business, an authorized employee or an authorized external representative. The application form is filled in on the SME Fund account: link. The application must be accompanied by a bank statement, a VAT certificate or a certificate of national registration number and a declaration if the enterprise is represented by an external representative. Vouchers are granted to individual enterprises within 15 working days.
2. Registration of trademarks/designs
Once the positive decision has been made, you can start registering your trademarks or designs, including paying the relevant official fees. Registering a trademark or design before receiving the decision will not entitle you to a refund.
3. Activation of the voucher by filing a request for reimbursement
The voucher has a validity period of 2 months. Within this period, it must be activated by submitting a request for reimbursement. It is very important to use the voucher within its validity period, as otherwise it will not be possible to use it or to apply for the same type of voucher again (and there is only one type available in Poland) in a given year.
The validity of the voucher can be extended by a further 2 months, but not earlier than one month before the end of the validity period.
After activation, a 6-month implementation period begins, during which the applicant can request further activities and claim reimbursement for additional costs covered by the voucher.
Reimbursement shall be made directly to the company's bank account within 1 month of the request for reimbursement.
Costs for the renewal of trademark and design registrations and are not covered by the voucher.
More information about the fund can be found here: link.
al. J. Ch. Szucha 16/18
tel: (+48) 22 299 60 70
ul. Marokańska 2s lok 4
tel: (+48) 579 066 338