IPA4SME – programme eligibility extended to more SMEs

The IPA4SME programme, launched by the European Commission in 2019 has been working to help small and medium sized business (SMEs) with their respective intellectual property (IP) journeys. The programme supports SMEs in understanding IP valorisation and successfully protecting their IP.

To date, the IPA4SME programme has focused on offering IP valorisation and protection services to SMEs awarded the Seal of Excellence under the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument. Services and opportunities offered include the possibility to acquire IP valorisation and protection, and co-financing of IP services for up to EUR 15 000 for participating SMEs.

As part of the evolution of the IPA4SME programme, this unique offer and opportunity is now being extended beyond SMEs that have received the Seal of Excellence, allowing more innovative businesses to benefit from what the IPA4SME programme has to offer.


The IPA4SME programme is open for SMEs from an EU Member State or a COSME member state that fall into one of the following categories:

  • SMEs that have received a Seal of Excellence (SoE) from the Horizon 2020 programme or the EIC Accelerator Pilot. SMEs should have received the SoE during the three years prior to the cut-off date to which they submit their application.
  • NEW: SMEs that have been identified as an innovative SME by the IP pre-diagnostic Service (or equivalent) in any EU or COSME member state

For SMEs identified by the IP pre-diagnostic service or equivalent, a certificate provided by the national IP office confirming the eligibility of the SME will also need to be provided.

More information on eligibility, including considered financial criteria, and applications is available here.

Services on offer

There are three main services available for participating SMEs:

  1. IP pre-diagnostic
  2. Financial contributions towards EPO fees
  3. Financial contributions towards external legal IP advice

Service 1 focuses on boosting SME capabilities and competencies with regards to IP valorisation and management. The free service includes tailored and customised support for each SME from an IP expert on establishing current IP situation, identifying opportunities and strategies for IP use and guidance on developing IP advantages and benefits.

Services 2 and 3 focus on providing financial support to SMEs to cover a percentage of expenses related to patent application fees, and hiring external legal advice and IP attorneys.

Benefits of the programme

More than 610 SMEs have already benefited from IPA4SME services and valued highly the support of the programme! The benefits from the IPA4SME programme are numerous, including access to information, expertise and long term benefits on capacity and competence in the field of IP. The diversity of applicants is a testament to the true value of IP and the support that the programme can offer.

 “The IPA4SME IP pre-diagnostic report provided very fruitful and important insights on my company’s fragility in IP protection and allowed us to define a strategy to fulfil the gaps. It was really a great opportunity and I strongly support its implementation for other SMEs.”

“The IPA4SME expert helped us to be more conscious of our IP situation and also to be aware of potential next strategies. The process has been smooth, efficient and valuable for us. We will implement the recommendations in the Diagnostic Report and we are very grateful for the experience.”

“The support of IPA4SME has definitely helped our company to consolidate the effectiveness of our IP strategy. We do believe that patents are great tools to increase the value of the company and protect company’s innovation during commercial negotiations.”

The biggest impact of the support has been the opportunity to review our IP strategy with an attorney and submit our first patent application which was highly scored!”

IPA4SME beneficiaries

To find out what the programme could do for your business, read or watch the selection of IPA4SME success stories.

Apply before the next cut-off closing date

The next closing date, for the ninth cut-off, in the current call is 27 May 2021. With the expansion of eligibility criteria, this is an opportunity for innovative SMEs from across EU and COSME Member States to have the chance to receive expert IP valorisation services, and up to EUR 15,000 in financed IP support.

Applications can be submitted here.

Information available

In addition to services, IPA4SME offers webinars, which can be accessed here, that detail services and how beneficiaries can access them.

For more information on IPA4SME and its services, visit the website. To keep up to date on IPA4SME actions and events, make sure to follow the programme on Twitter and LinkedIn.




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