As part of the UK Government’s strategy to rebound the economy through the success of knowledge-led high skill businesses, the UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) has launched a new IP Access fund as an extension of the existing IP Audit Plus programme.  This new fund, which offers grants of up to £5,000, can be used towards a variety of activities, including professional fees for IP services such as drafting patent applications (but not official patent office fees).

To be eligible, applicant companies must first take part in the IP Audit Plus programme and their IP Audit needs to be completed by the end of March 2022.  The applicant company must be an SME with fewer than 250 employees that is able to demonstrate that the IP Audit will form a key part of achieving their business growth plans.  The IP Access fund is also available to any applicant companies who have completed an IP Audit since April 2020.

The UKIPO has indicated that eligible SMEs will be notified of the new IP Access fund and, as with the IP Audit Plus programme, applications to the fund must be submitted to the UKIPO through one of their partner organisations (Innovate UK Edge in England, Scottish Enterprise and the Highlands and Island Enterprises, or the Welsh Government). Companies can contact the partner organisation directly to request participation, with successful applicants receiving a tailored programme of support that can include the UKIPO’s IP Audit Plus programme and IP Access fund.

At GJE, we have a lot of experience in conducting UKIPO-funded IP Audits, during which we explore your business objectives, together with your existing and potential IP assets, and ultimately help you to develop a robust IP strategy that will support your commercial goals.  The process involves a meeting with us, the outcome of which is a detailed report typically setting out the company’s IP position, with various recommendations tailored to the individual company – though the IP Audit may also be used to explore specific aspects of a company’s IP.

The total value of the IP Audit is £3,000 (inc.  VAT), of which only £500 (inc.  VAT) is paid by the applicant.  The rest is paid by the UKIPO.  The new IP Access fund offers grants of up to £5,000 that can then be used to assist the applicant company to take forward recommendations made in the IP Audit.

The IP Audit Plus programme and IP Access fund represent a fantastic opportunity for innovative SMEs to get a strategic and financial leg up that will ultimately place them in a better position to raise follow-on funding to establish and grow their company.  Please get in contact via our dedicated email if you want to find out more.