Under the government’s IP Access scheme, British SME’s have until March 2022 to apply for grants of up to £5,000 total (incl. VAT) towards intellectual property costs. Since it’s a grant, not a loan, the amount, if awarded, never needs repaying, nor is it tied to any milestones or outcomes.
The grant cannot be used for official fees associated with registering designs, patents, or trade marks, but it can be used for almost anything anything else connected with your business’s IP, including:
- professional fees for prosecuting and registering trade marks, patents, and registered designs;
- management of IP;
- commercialisation of IP;
- licensing and franchising agreement;
- IP insurance;
- IP valuation; and
- advice related to tax relief.
To be eligible for the grant, SME’s (the definition of which encompasses 99.9% of British businesses) must first commission an “IP Audit” that will give them the lay of the land, IP-wise, and highlight potential problems with and opportunities for the business’s intellectual property.
The audit must be conducted in terms of the IP Audits Plus scheme of the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). Under the scheme, British businesses approach the UKIPO through one of the IPO’s official innovation partners to request an audit by a professional firm (such as Harrison IP). The appropriate innovation partner to approach will depend on the location of the business; they are: UK Edge (formerly Enterprise Europe Network) for England and Northern Ireland, Scottish Enterprise (for mainland Scotland) and/or the Highlands and Island Enterprises (for the Scottish Highlands and Scottish islands), or the Welsh Government for those in Wales.
Both IP Access and the preliminary IP Audits Plus process are competitive schemes, so there is no guarantee that a business will be awarded an audit, or that it will be awarded a grant even following an audit.
If the UKIPO and partner organisation do consider your business worthy of an audit, though, they will commission a professional firm, such as Harrison IP, to conduct the audit and make recommendations.
There’s also help with your costs at the audit stage, with the UKIPO awarding up to £2,500 of a £3,000 maximum.
Harrison IP is well-placed to help your business at both audit and grant application stages. The March 2022 deadline is fast approaching, so get in touch as soon as possible.