A New EUIPO Initiative Has Been Launched: 20 Million Euros For Startups That Wish To Protect Their Intellectual Property
On 11 January, the European Commission and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) launched a new pilot project. The Project is intended for providing financial support to small and medium-sized enterprises that wish to protect their intellectual property.
Lithuanian small and medium-sized enterprises, including start-ups, established in the European Union and wishing to protect their trademarks or designs in registering them at national, regional, or EU level, from 11 January may apply for a refund of 50% of trademark or design registration fee and of 75% of intellectual property pre-assessment service fee.
Support will be provided from the €20 million grant fund that was presented by the EUIPO at the end of last year. The fund is intended for small and medium-sized enterprises in all EU Member States in 2021, and funding will be provided on a first come, first served basis. Under this Project, one company will be able to receive the support of up to 1,500 euros.
The Project is implemented in cooperation with EU national and regional intellectual property offices. In Lithuania, its implementation is coordinated by the State Patent Bureau.
Statistics suggest that European small and medium-sized enterprises create 67% of all jobs and account for 99% of all companies operating in the EU. However, only 9% of EU small and medium-sized enterprises have so far registered their intellectual property. Their income per employee is estimated to nearly a third higher compared to companies that have not yet registered their intellectual property.
“A study carried out by the EUIPO revealed the following: 54% of small and medium-sized enterprises, that have registered their intellectual property, say that the registration gave a positive boost to business because their reputation has improved, turnover has increased and there appeared more opportunities to enter new markets“, – says Irina Urbonė, Director of the State Patent Bureau.
There are 5 time intervals for submitting applications for compensation – from 11 to 31 January 2021, from 1 to 31 March 2021, from 1 to 31 May 2021, from 1 to 31 July 2021, and from 1 to 30 September 2021. Companies may choose the interval which is the most suitable for them.
A budget of 4 million euros is foreseen for each of these intervals. Any small or medium-sized enterprise established in the EU with a turnover of less than 50 million euros may have recourse to financial support.
Since the project is implemented on a priority basis, experts of the SPB call on businesses not to delay and apply as earlier as possible for compensation during any of the above time intervals.
You can apply for compensation here: https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/lt/grants-sme-fund#step_1
The quarantine did not stop
Kristina Vilkienė, Head of Industrial Property Information Division at State Patent Bureau, notes that the Project only starts on 11 January. Thus, it is still difficult to objectively assess the future activity of companies.
“We hope, however, that Lithuanian companies will actively take advantage of this opportunity because even both quarantines did not reduce the number of applications for trademark registration. During the first quarantine, the activity of applicants paused but later recovered, and in 2020 figures are higher, although just a little bit, than in 2019″, – K. Vilkienė shares information about statistics.
According to the SPB, 2,218 trademarks were registered in Lithuania in 2020, and 2,113 trademarks in 2019.
For a wider range
Vilija Viešūnaitė, a lawyer at Triniti Jurex and a patent agent, says that such initiative of EU is strongly welcomed.
According to the lawyer, former measures of IP protection compensation were mainly intended for the protection of inventions and, in certain cases, of designs.
“A lot of companies use a trademark in their activities. Therefore, this measure is relevant to a wider range of businesses. Small enterprises often refrained from broader protection of their trademarks because it was too expensive for them. Now businesses should not miss a great opportunity to register their trademark or design. A business should not delay in applying for registration because there is a limited budget for this program”, – recommends V. Viešūnaitė.