The Australian Government offers a financial assistance
program for aspiring and current exporters to cover the costs
associated with export promotion activities; the Export Market
Development Grants (EMDG) scheme.
The scheme has now been expanded to cover up to 50% of eligible
export promotion expenses after the first $5,000 provided that the
total expenses are at least $15,000. The initial payment ceiling
for the grant year 2013–14 for the EMDG scheme is $60,000.
Exporters with entitlements above this amount will receive a second
payment at the end of June 2015. The 2014–14 grant year is
currently open until 1 December 2014.
Protecting intellectual property rights internationally can be
vital to success in overseas markets. Trade marks provide
protection for the brand of a business. As many countries now
operate on a first-to-file basis, where the first person to file a
trade mark application obtains ownership of the mark, it can be
desirable to obtain trade mark protection prior to entering an
overseas market. Securing trade mark protection in these
jurisdictions at an early stage is advisable to prevent competitors
or trade mark "squatters" from filing their own
applications for an identical or similar trade mark. Patent rights
can also provide protection for products and processes, while
registered designs provide protection for the physical appearance
of a product. Both patents and designs can provide a crucial market
advantage, and allow exporters to obtain and hold market share by
preventing competitors from copying successful products.
The EMDG scheme is designed to encourage small and medium sized
Australian businesses to develop export markets. Accordingly, the
business's total annual income must be $50 million or less
during the last financial year. Once a business has received two
grants, they may have to provide evidence of export earnings or
assess indicators of future export success in order to be eligible
to receive third and subsequent grants.
The EMDG scheme allows eligible business to claim a range of
activities. These activities include:
maintaining one or more overseas representatives on a long term
basis in foreign countries;
engaging a consultant to undertake market research, or
overseas travel expenses;
any expenses associated with any communication with a potential
buyer or a distributor, representative or consultant;
providing free samples for promotional purposes;
participation in a trade fair, seminar, in-store promotion,
international forum, private exhibition or similar promotional
bringing one or more buyers to Australia;
costs associated with the registration and insurance of
intellectual property rights in foreign countries for intellectual
property that was substantially developed in Australia.
Eligible intellectual property includes an intellectual property
right that mainly resulted from work done in Australia, a trademark
that was owned, assigned or first used in Australia, and know-how
that mainly resulted from work done in Australia. Additionally,
costs associated with engaging foreign attorneys to obtain trade
mark and patent protection fall within the scope of the EMDG
scheme. Further, insurance premiums paid for protection against
possible infringement actions are also covered.
The EMDG scheme was recently amended to introduce changes in the
EMDG Amendment Bill 2014 which:
increase the number of grants able to be received by an
applicant from seven to eight;
reduce the minimum expenses threshold required to be incurred
by an applicant from $20,000 to $15,000;
reduce the current $5,000 deduction from the applicant's
provisional grant amount to $2,500;
prevent the payment of grants to applicants engaging an EMDG
consultant assessed to be a not fit and proper person; and
enable a grant to be paid more quickly where a grant is
determined before 1 July following the balance distribution
The EMDG scheme covers past expenses, so even if you have been
developing export markets for some time and have been unaware of
the scheme, you may be entitled to claim expenses for past years.
For more information about the EMDG scheme and how to apply, visit
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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