How to save money on IP costs with new EU SME fund

Catherine Hanratty

How to save money on IP costs with new EU SME fund

If you’re an EU-based SME, a new fund could save you money on IP costs. The fund will operate on a first-come, first-served basis until December 2022. Here’s how it works and who can benefit.

What is the EU SME Fund?

The ‘ideas powered for business’ SME Fund is a European Commission initiative implemented by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and IP offices in EU member states. It’s designed to help SMEs reduce the cost of securing IP rights. Since its launch in January 2021, the SME Fund has provided support to almost 13,000 SMEs across all 27 EU countries.

How does the EU SME Fund work?

Any small- to medium-sized enterprises established in current European Union member states can access the financial support offered by the SME Fund. This is provided in the way of vouchers that partly reimburse paid fees for activities including patent, trade mark and design filings.

Any interested enterprises must:

  1. Register and apply to benefit from the fund via the EUIPO website.
  2. If successful, a level of financial grant will be awarded and voucher issued.
  3. IP activities can then be purchased as normal and the vouchers used to reimburse fees.

How much EU SME funding is available?

There are two types of voucher available, worth either €750 or €1,500. The types of IP activity eligible for reimbursement vary slightly by country.

As an example, Irish- or German-established SMEs could save:

  • 50% on patent pre-grant activities (such as filing, search and examination), grant and publication fees at the national level
  • 50% on trade mark and design fees outside the EU
  • 75% on trade mark and design fees at the national, regional or EU level
  • 90% on IP pre-diagnostic services (IP scans)

For a full breakdown of what’s available in your country, visit the SME Fund website.

Am I eligible for the EU SME Fund?

According to the European Commission, SMEs represent 99% of all EU businesses. The general categorisation of an EU SME is a company with between ten and 250 staff, an annual turnover of less than or equal to €50m and an annual balance sheet total of less than or equal to €43m. The official EU definition of an SME can be checked here.

If you have any questions about applying for the SME Fund, or anything else related to securing IP rights in Europe, you can get in touch via our website, by emailing or by speaking to your usual Murgitroyd representative.

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