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European Commission Launches 2023 EU SME Fund

On the 23rd of January, The European Commission, in conjunction with the the European Union Intellectual Property Office, launched the new 2023 EU SME Fund. This offers intellectual property vouchers for EU-based SMEs.

EU SMEs represents 99% of all businesses and provide around three-quarters of all EU jobs. The 2023 EU SME Fund will help SMEs to scale up, attract investment, and protect their intangible assets. It will run from 23rd January 2023 to 8th December 2023.

The 2023 SME Fund will also support EU SMEs in their recovery from the economic crisis caused first by the COVID pandemic and then by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. It will also help SMEs to step up their digital and green transition.

The new EU SME Fund, with its budget of €60.1 million, offers the following services:

  • Reimburse 90% of the fees charged by Member States for IP Scan services;
  • Reimburse 75% of the fees charged by intellectual property offices (including national intellectual property offices, the European Union Intellectual Property Office and the Benelux Intellectual Property Office) for trademark and design registration;
  • Reimburse 50 % of the fees charged by the World Intellectual Property Office for obtaining international trade mark and design protection.

From mid-February, the SME Fund will also:

  • Reimburse 75% of the fees charged by national patent offices and the European Patent Office for the registration of patents;
  • Reimburse 50% of the application fees charged by the Community Plant Variety Office for the registration of new plant varieties;
  • From the second half of 2023, costs of initial enforcement-related advice could be also covered.

For the first time, the 2023 SME Fund will also cover European patents to stimulate innovation and investment and plant variety protection.It will help breeders to develop more drought and pest-resistant crops and other plants and thus contribute to the EU’s green transition and food security.

The IP Scan service will provide a broad assessment of the intellectual property needs of the applicant SME, taking into account the innovative potential of its intangible assets. The European Commission’s financial contribution, which amounts to €5.1 million, will be dedicated fully to the services related to patents and plant varieties.  

Funds are limited and available on a first come, first served basis. For more information, or to apply for the Fund, please click here.