Innovation must be promoted and valued in order to transform difficulties into opportunities.
For Portuguese industry to stand out in the global market, it is necessary to create opportunities and technological infrastructures able to serve as a launchpad for Portuguese companies to participate in international innovation and development programmes, with the aim of achieving multiplier effects in the business economy.
Portugal has evolved in a very sustainable manner in the last 20 years with regard to innovation. For example, in accordance with the European Innovation Scoreboard, Portugal is the innovation leader in terms of business structure among the countries of Southern Europe.
It is undeniable that an emerging company that wants to position itself successfully on the competitive market will have to make a difference in the consolidated world of innovation of medium-sized and large undertakings.
For this purpose, it is essential that the projects and know-how of these companies are transformed into innovation, enabling them to become competitive and build their status on the global markets.
With this aim, financial incentive systems are available directed at research and development managed by the Ministry of Economy. There has been an increase of around 80% in the demand for these incentives on the part of Portuguese companies, which will certainly bring about a very positive outcome.
At the present time, mention must also be made of the laudable initiative of the European Commission in the creation of the SME Fund (a fund to support small and medium-sized enterprises), implemented by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) within the scope of the Ideas Powered for Business programme, fostering innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth and employment.
This is a system of financial support (which takes the form of vouchers that reimburse the costs and/or official fees incurred with the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights up to a maximum of EUR 1500 per company), totalling EUR 20 million, set up to help European small and medium-sized enterprises in the development of their projects and the protection of their IP rights, whether at national, regional or EU level. The aim of the programme is to enhance the competitiveness of these companies on the market and combat the negative impacts caused by the Covid-19 pandemic on EU SMEs.
This programme will offer two types of funding:
Option 1: Financial support in the form of a 75% reimbursement of the eligible fees of national or regional trademarks/designs (application fees, additional class fees, and examination, registration, publication and deferment of publication fees) incurred in the filing of one or more trademark or design applications in the European Union, or a 50% reimbursement of the eligible fees of applications under the Madrid System or The Hague System, including basic application fees and designation fees of non-EU countries for international trademark and design applications.
Option 2: 90% reimbursement of the costs of industrial property pre-diagnostic services (IpScan: review of the business model, products/services and growth plans in order to devise the most appropriate IP strategy for each company).
If the applicant chooses only Option 2 (IpScan), the maximum funding available is EUR 900.
All small and medium-sized enterprises that meet the official EU definition of an SME will be able to apply for funding. Since an SME can receive funding under each of Option 1 and Option 2 only once, it would be advisable to analyse the number of filings in the company’s strategy for 2022 before submitting an application.