In a strategic move to empower small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), in collaboration with the European Commission and Member State IP offices, has launched the 2024 SME Fund. With a generous allocation of 20 million euros, this fund is dedicated to bolstering Intellectual Property (IP) protection for SMEs, thereby strengthening their market competitiveness.
This year, the fund places a significant focus on the breeding sector, underlining the commitment of the Community Plant Variety Office to ensure that SMEs engaged in the development of new plant varieties are fully recognized and protected. This emphasis is geared towards fostering a thriving environment for SME innovation and growth in the sector.
A key feature of the 2024 SME Fund is the introduction of 'Voucher 4', a 1,500 euros voucher specifically aimed at subsidizing up to 75% of the costs associated with online application fees and the first-year examination fees at the CPVO. Targeting new applications, this voucher does not limit the number of Community Plant Variety Rights (CPVR) applications but maintains a 1,500 euros cap per voucher.
The voucher application process is streamlined for efficiency. SMEs can apply through the EUIPO Portal, receive their grant and vouchers, submit their CPVR application, and then request reimbursement from the EUIPO. A detailed guide, including all necessary documents, procedures, and contact information, is available to ensure a smooth application process.
Due to the first-come, first-served nature of the voucher allocation, SMEs are urged to act quickly to take advantage of this opportunity, as the fund will be distributed until it is depleted.
With the CPVO at the forefront, alongside the EUIPO and Member State IP offices, there is a strong support system in place to assist SMEs through this initiative, reaffirming the commitment to cultivating a robust IP framework for small and medium-sized businesses, particularly in the plant breeding sector.
I have a new plant variety, and I would like to request a voucher, how does it works ?
The issuance of the Voucher is managed by EUIPO, the European Union Intellectual Property Office, which oversees this initiative.
You will need to register on their portal to apply for the voucher.
The process to obtain a Community Plant Variety Right for your new variety will be the same as for any other application for CPVR, there is no difference in the procedure.
To request the voucher, the steps are as follows:
- Before completing the application form, prepare your VAT certificate, the company’s bank statement, and the signed SME declaration (for representatives only).
- Create an account on the EUIPO portal to then request the voucher here
- Apply for the voucher on the EUIPO portal
- Important! Wait for the voucher to be issued (within 15 days of the request)
- Only after receiving the voucher, file an online application to protect your variety with the CPVO. It is important to respect the timing because the application date must be subsequent to the voucher issuance date.
- Within 2 months of the voucher issuance, you must activate it by requesting a refund of the online application fee. You will find a document directly on MyPVR confirming the payment of the application fee.
- Once the voucher is activated, you have 12 months to request a refund for other activities related to the protection of one or more new varieties.
The voucher, worth €1500, can be requested only once per SME. This means that up to the amount of €1500, you can request a partial refund of the online application fee and the first year of technical examination for your varieties.
- You can request a refund of 75% of the online application fee for your varieties up to a total of €1500
- You can choose to request a refund of 75% of the online application fee for a single variety, and within 12 months of activating the voucher, request a refund of 75% of the fee for the first year of technical examination, always up to a total of €1500.
The procedure for requesting and using the voucher is briefly described on this page.
On February 6th, there will be a webinar, in English, where the process to request vouchers will be explained in detail. Here is the link to register.
You can find more details on the procedure in the call for proposals at the following link.