The UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has launched a new funding scheme, called ‘IP Access’, for small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
The scheme follows on from the Government’s recent IP Audits Plus scheme.
IP Access aims to provide SMEs with grants that can be put towards a number of costs, including professional fees, for IP services and management of IP assets.
IP Audits Plus
To qualify for a grant through IP Access, an applicant must first have been subject to an IP audit between April 2020 and March 2022 via the IP Audits Plus scheme.
Under the IP Audit Plus scheme, the UKIPO will pay £2500 towards the £3000 cost for an IP audit, which means businesses that qualify will only bear a cost of £500.
To be eligible to apply for an IP audit through IP Audits Plus, the applicant must:
- be an SME (fewer than 250 employees and turnover of no more than £250 million);
- be able to demonstrate that an IP audit will play a major role in the future growth of the business; and
- be engaged with one of the IPO’s business support schemes, which include Innovate UK Edge (formerly Enterprise Europe Network), Scottish Enterprise and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise, or the Welsh Government - who will assess whether an applicant is eligible for funding towards an IP audit.
An IP audit can assist a business in a number of ways, including:
- ensuring the business is properly protecting its IP rights;
- protecting the business from third-party infringement and from infringing third-party IP rights; and
- identifying costs savings and market opportunities.
IP Access Grant
An applicant whose IP has been audited via the IP Audits Plus scheme will be able to receive a further grant of up to £5000, in order to implement some of the recommendations provided via the audit.
The grant can be used to cover costs relating to professional fees for IP services in the UK and abroad, the management of IP assets, IP insurance, IP valuation, and Tax relief advice.
The grant cannot be used to pay official fees, such as those incurred when filing applications for trade marks, registered designs or patents.
Applications for the new IP Access scheme opened on 25 August 2021 and will close on 31 March 2022.
How Ashfords LLP can assist
We conduct IP audits for clients, including via the IP Audits Plus Scheme. We can also assist clients to implement the recommendations provided via the audit, using funding from the IP Access scheme.
If applicants wish to expand outside of the UK, we, as part of ADVOC, an international network of 92 independent law firms, can put applicants in touch with legal advisors in various jurisdictions worldwide.