The European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are considered to be crucial to the European economy. The European Commission in collaboration with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) are once again organising a significant number of initiatives for SMEs within the context of a fully-fledged and structured strategic programme. Through its SME programme, the EUIPO addresses the need to make IP services more accessible for smaller businesses, and to encourage SMEs to increase their competitiveness through better use and protection of intellectual property rights.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the competitive position of SMEs across Europe. To respond to this trend and strengthen EU SMEs’ competitiveness in the EU market, the Commission has envisaged a series of actions within the framework of the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME). In this context, for the second consecutive year, the European Commission has proposed that the EUIPO financially supports and implements an action, the “SME FUND”, within the post COVID-19 recovery action plan for EU SMEs. The objective of this action is to financially support those EU SMEs that wish to protect their Trademarks and Designs by using part of the EUIPO’s financial reserves. The action is limited in time (over the year 2022) and has been established through a contribution agreement with the European Commission. The EUIPO will implement the action through the awarding of grants to SMEs in accordance with a pre-defined set of principles and criteria.
In line with this initiative, the EUIPO is offering to help SMEs by providing a 50% reimbursement of the application fee incurred when applying for trademark or design protection 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). There is no limit to the number of trademarks and/or designs application 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
It is very important to note that the applicant company must be a registered and established small and medium enterprise, based in the European Union;