The current global market entails a big challenge for European companies. The European Union, aware of this fact, is resolved to promote the innovation and the European SMEs competitiveness increase; a goal that involves the proper protection of the intangible and the valuable Intellectual Property. In this sense, the European Commission (EC) launched past May a new Program 'IPA4SME' that will last two years. It is addressed to financially and technically support those SMEs that have received the ‘Seale of Excellence’ of the Program H2020. Each SME could receive a series of services with a value of at most €15,000, among those detailed below:
- Industrial Property Diagnosis: Free expert analysis of the existing technology and knowledge assets at the SME, together with personalized business strategic advice on IP.
- Industrial Property protection co-financing: Partial refund of the Industrial Property registration process tax. It includes two different services:
- Refund of the EPO application tax: For each European Patent application (of the European Patent Office, EPO), the beneficiaries will receive the 75% of the corresponding EPO tax, with a limit of €500 per Patent application. This service will be limited to 5 applications per SME.
- Refund of the IP lawyer fees: For each Patent application, beneficiaries will receive the 50% of the costs of a Lawyer/Expert on Industrial Property up to €2,000. The IP agents must have right to act before the EPO. There is no limit in the number of applications for this service, but each application must refer to a unique Patent application process.
The SME must be the holder of a ‘Seale of Excellence’, given in the context of the tool H2020 SME during the three previous years to the calling closing date, and must be considered a SME by the EC to be able to apply for these services.
Spain will be the pilot country of this program through the SPTO and will be in charge of the service Industrial Property Diagnosis. This is a company assistance free service aimed to approach the IP to those innovative SMEs and research units that do not make use of Industrial Property Rights (IPR) or do not use them in an effective way. In addition to the requirements demanded to be beneficiary of the ‘IPA4SEM’ Program (previous paragraph), the SME must be from one of the following countries to aim for the IP Diagnosis service: Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Netherlands, Spain or Sweden.
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