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IP starter pack for start-ups

Did you know that the EU offers funding to protect your SME’s IP rights? Find out how to apply before the deadline of 16. 12. 2022, and what additional steps you can take to keep your IP rights safe from fraudsters.

Nothing matches the simultaneous excitement and apprehension of starting a company. The sheer amount of tasks on your To-do list can be daunting - not to mention the tasks that don’t even make it to the list in the first round.

After the initial registration of your trademark, protecting your start-up’s intellectual property rights may take a back seat amongst all the frenzied activity that surrounds the founding of a business. It’s understandable: you have so many urgent things to do, so many official letters to act upon, that your IP rights may slip into the background, ignored.

Unfortunately, nobody’s going to send you letters about the misuse of your IP rights. In fact, these may get started as soon as your company takes off, and continue unnoticed for a long time unless you do something about them.

But starting a business requires significant funds, and you may not have a lot of that left when it comes to the protection of your IP rights. Luckily, EU funding can take care of that for you.

SME fund for IP protection

The European Commission, together with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) runs a program called Ideas Powered for business SME Fund. The aim of the fund is to help EU-based small businesses protect their IP rights, including trademarks, corporate identities, patents, designs, processes, products and services.

SMEs can apply online to the program this year until 16 December 2022 by submitting adequate documentation, including a national registration number certificate and bank statement.

How does it work

Once your application is accepted, you receive a voucher to use for online brand protection services like IP scans, design and trademark fees in the value of €1,500, and another one for patent fees worth €750. The fund has a limited amount (15 million euros for the first voucher and one million for the second) and works on a first come, first served basis, so make sure to apply as soon as possible.

Screenshot of euipo.europa.eu explaining IP-protection vouchers and the process of application
Screenshot of euipo.europa.eu explaining IP-protection vouchers and the process of application

After you’ve received your vouchers, you can request the services you need from your national IP offices. They provide the service, you pay them, and then the EU fund will reimburse you. It’s as simple as that.

What’s in an IP scan?

According to the EUIPO’s website, IP scans can cover every IP right, including trademarks, domains, copyrights, geographical indications, designs, utility models, etc.

SMEs and online brand protection

We at globaleyez are passionate about the protection of IP rights, which means we welcome the EUIPO’s initiative with open arms.

It’s never too early to start thinking about the protection of your IP rights. The later you leave it, the higher the chance of misuse and significant damage to your brand’s reputation and revenue. However, sometimes even larger companies ignore the dangers and fail to allocate sufficient funds for the protection of their IP assets.

We fully understand that for smaller companies, funds are often scarce and there’s no space in their budget for online brand protection. Which is why we’re glad the EU recognized this problem and is offering the funds to help out SMEs in need.

Protecting start-ups and SMEs

As we mentioned before, the ideal time for start-ups to begin thinking about protecting their trademark and enforcing their IP rights is right at the start. The earlier you put a comprehensive online brand protection program in place, the higher your ROI will be.

In today’s world, a unique business idea is invaluable. Great entrepreneurs discover a need and act upon it - speed and originality are often the deciding factors in whether a business makes it or not. But beware: in the age of the internet, no idea is safe from copying.

Fraudsters can jump on the bandwagon of a newly successful business, weakening its reputation and stealing its revenue. Start-ups overwhelmed by the demands and excitement of starting a business often lack the experience to look out for their needs.

This is also true when it comes to the building and overseeing of a distribution network. Which business partners are trustworthy and which ones are breaking their contracts? There are so many issues to look out for, so many pitfalls to avoid.

All this points in one direction: when starting a business, start protecting it right away.

globaleyez at your service

The EU fund for SMEs is a great entry into the world of online brand protection. But sadly, a one-time IP scan isn’t going to cut it. Fraudsters have a way of finding new vulnerabilities and reappearing once you let your guard down. This is why it’s important for start-ups (as for any other business) to set up a comprehensive online brand protection program and stick to it.

globaleyez is the perfect choice for start-ups. A dynamic medium-sized company ourselves, we understand the demands of SME life. Which is why we designed our services to be fully scalable and adjustable to any business’ needs.

Small steps matter

You don’t have to command a global distribution network and 15,000+ employees to take brand protection seriously. In fact, if all you need is the monitoring of five product images on three marketplaces two times a month, then that’s what we’ll give you.

Our services cover every segment of the industry. We conduct test purchases, monitor marketplaces, domains, images, social media and app stores, check your business partners’ compliance with their contracts, track sales on various marketplaces and enforce your IP rights. You can get the full menu, or pick any part your brand needs at the moment.

All our services come with extensive reports, exportable data and actionable expert advice on next steps.

The snowball effect of brand protection

You know how a small act may bring unforeseen benefits? Well, online brand protection can definitely have a snowball effect of positive consequences for your brand.

For example, let’s take a look at our sales tracking service. Besides the obvious brand protection benefits (you learn which vendors sell which amounts of your products and how much they earn), our service doubles as an invaluable aid for market entry.

Say, fraudsters are selling your products in a market you haven’t officially entered yet. But if they do so well, why not enter the market yourself?

The same goes for our partner compliance service. We offer background checks to help you determine if a business partner is trustworthy. Combined with our test purchase service, we check for product serial numbers that tell us the origins of the product and uncover potential leaks in your distribution network. This is an excellent way to nip grey market structures and the damage they cause right in the bud.

Conclusion

Start-ups and SMEs don’t have it easy. Luckily, with all the help available today, you don’t have to go the exciting and terrifying road of launching and running a business alone.

Official help like the EU SME fund and professional service providers like globaleyez are ready to jump in and help your brand succeed. Don’t wait for problems to appear, contact us to learn more about protecting your IP rights.

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