SME Fund: get back part of your application costs for a trademark registration

Barbara Vervoort   |  

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In our previous article, we briefly mentioned the importance of a trademark registration. A registered trademark contributes to the uninterrupted use of a trademark or logo and to the higher financial value of a company. In order to benefit from protection as a trademark, this must first be registered with a trademark office (e.g. BOIP/EUIPO), which incurs costs.

With the European Commission’s SME Fund, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can apply for vouchers to recover up to 75% of the costs of a trademark application. The refund also applies to an application for the protection of designs, patents and varieties of plants. Applications for the vouchers may be made until 8 December 2023 or while stocks last and the European budget is available. 

What does the subsidy entail?

The SME Fund “Ideas Powered for business” is an initiative of the European Commission, implemented by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and in cooperation with national intellectual property offices. It aims to support SMEs in the European Union in protecting their intellectual property rights.

With an SME voucher, an SME can recover 75% of the costs of a trademark application, both nationally and at European level. For protection as a trademark outside the EU, you get back 50% of the costs for a trademark application. The voucher can be used for multiple applications with a refund of up to a 1000 euros maximum.

Specifically for a trademark registration, this means:

– for an application for a Benelux trademark with protection in one class (basic rate: 244 euros), you will get back 183 euros;

– for an application for a Union trademark with protection in one class (basic rate: 850 euros), you will get back 637.50 euros;

It is important to apply for the voucher before you submit an application for a national or Union trademark.

How does the SME Fund work?

The owner, employee of an SME or an authorised external representative (for example, an intellectual property professional) acting on behalf of the SME can submit an application for a voucher. This requires the creation of an SME fund account and uploading of the following documents: bank statement or bank certificate of the company, a VAT certificate of the company (e.g. FPS economy), and a declaration of honour if the company has recourse to an external representative. 

The subsidy is granted to SMEs and refunds are made directly to the company’s bank account. Each SME can only apply for 1 voucher which can be used for multiple trademark registration applications with a refund of up to 1000 euros maximum. The refund is not dependent on a valid trademark registration. This means that a trademark application refused by a trademark office (e.g. because the trademark has a lack of distinctive character or would be descriptive of certain goods/services) is also refunded.  

The voucher must be activated within two months.

So stop hesitating and apply for a voucher before 8 December 2023 in order to get back 75% of the costs of a trademark application for the protection of your name, logo or slogan. Bofidi Legal is happy to assist you with an application for an SME voucher, an investigation into the feasibility and availability of your trademark and the registration of the trademark itself with BOIP or EUIPO.  

Our Bofidi experts will be pleased to help you

Bofidi Legal will be pleased to assist you with the various steps involved in trademark registration and to help you monitor your trademark afterwards.