HCR Law Events

20 September 2021

The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) announces scheme to support SMEs with their IP protection

On 25 August, the IPO launched the IP Access Grant, which aims to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) recovering from the financial impact of Covid-19. The scheme will provide access of up to £5,000 and is available to cover costs such as the commercialisation and management of business’ intellectual property (IP) assets.

For SMEs, barriers to innovation often include a business’ lack in confidence in investing in their IP. This new scheme aims to help remove such barriers, and also help SMEs to explore new revenue streams.

The IPO currently offers assistance to SMEs through its IP Audits Plus Scheme. This scheme part-funds an IP audit of the business, with the IPO paying £2,500 and the business contributing the balance (typically £500).


What is an IP audit?

An IP audit involves an IP professional (such as a trademark attorney) identifying the existing IP a business has, IP assets it could have, and providing guidance on how best to protect and manage this IP. It also looks at possible threats, risks and opportunities related to the IP identified.


Who qualifies for the scheme?

To apply for this scheme the business must be supported by one of the UKIPO partners. These recognised partners are Scottish Enterprise, the Welsh Government, and the Enterprise Europe Network programme. Additionally, the business must be an SME (fewer than 250 employees and turnover of not more than £41m) and must demonstrate that the IP audit will form a key part of achieving its business growth plans.

If a business completes the IP audit programme between April 2020 and March 2022, it can then apply to receive an IP Access Grant.

Applications for this grant are now open until 31 March 2022.

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