The European Union Intellectual Property Office (the “EUIPO”) has implemented ‘The Ideas Powered for Business SME Fund' (the “Fund”), a European Commission initiative, for the year 2022. The first version of the Fund was launched during 2021. Unlike the previous initiative which only covered the re-imbursement of administrative fees relating to trademark and design registrations (at both national and EU level), the Fund now also covers the administrative fees associated with the registration of patents on a national level.
Any business established within the European Union which satisfies the definition of ‘SME' under the Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises is eligible to apply for re-imbursement under the Fund. Eligible applicants are able to benefit from 75% reimbursement of trademark and design fees at EU and national level and 50% reimbursement of patent fees at national level. In certain instances, SMEs are also able to obtain support under many EU business-support programmes under the Fund.
There are two vouchers which eligible SMEs could avail themselves of under the Fund, depending on the activity concerned. In Malta, one voucher is to be used for trademark and design fees and this voucher has a limit of €1,500, while the other voucher is to be used for patent fees, and this second voucher has a limit of €750.
Applications for participation in the Fund opened on 10 January 2022 and shall remain open until 16 December 2022. It is important to note that the use of the vouchers is not retrospective and therefore, if the applicant would like to participate in the Fund, the applicant must start its trademark, design or patent registration process after the successful grant of the relevant voucher. Applicants will not be re-imbursed for any costs incurred prior to the issue of the voucher. The voucher is valid for four months and can be extended to 6 months in certain circumstances.
In order to sign up to the Fund, the applicant will need to ensure that it has the following required documentation in hand:
- The company's bank statement containing the following details: company name as account holder; full IBAN number with country code; and BIC/SWIFT code;
- The company's VAT certificate or national registration number certificate, issued by the competent national authority; and
- A ‘Declaration of Honour' form, signed by an authorised owner or employee of the SME if the SME employs the services of a representative or the applicant is being submitted by a representative acting on behalf of the SME.
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