SMEs

Public consultation on the Small Business Act

The aim of this public consultation is to gather feedback and ideas on how the Small Business Act for Europe should be revised to continue a strong European policy to support Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs in 2015-2020. The four key areas of the SBA - facilitating SMEs’ access to finance and to markets, reducing administrative burden and promoting entrepreneurship - will continue to be priorities in the years to come.

The Commission has taken action to strengthen the dialogue with SMEs. The TOP 10 public consultation in 2012 provided direct feedback from SMEs and their representative organisations on the pieces of EU legislation which are perceived as particularly burdensome.

Through the Small Business Act revision the Commission proposes to explore the possibility to lower the transaction costs/fees for SMEs to facilitate their access to industrial and intellectual property.

For further information and to participate to the consultation, please click here.

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Intellectual Property considerations for business websites

A growing number of European SMEs are going online, by launching and maintaining business websites, often even providing their clients with the possibility to buy products online. As a central company asset, websites should be protected and well managed. Intellectual property is in this regard crucial, since there will be a number of intellectual property rights which exist in your website.

This fact sheet aims to guide you through the most important steps which you should take to protect the website that you intend to launch or have already launched, and avoid the risks of infringing the rights of others.

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Confidentiality considerations during project preparation

To enable more efficient administration in setting up a Horizon 2020 proposal, a consortium has agreed to make use of cloud server software, where all partners could easily keep in contact with each other and share information.

However, one of the SMEs involved in these negotiations was concerned about the disclosure of information to the partners through the cloud without any prior agreement between the partners. At the same time, however, the period for the preparation of the proposal was of six months duration and therefore the SME was concerned about finding an easy and quick solution, to avoid losing time that should be used for the preparation of the proposal.

In this case study you can see how this consortium easily overcame confidentiality concerns and was able to reach an optimal solution for all partners involved.

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European SME Week 2014

Coordinated by the European Commission, this campaign promotes enterprise across Europe in line with the Small Business Act for Europe with the aim to:

  • provide information on what the EU and national, regional and local authorities are offering as support to micro, small and medium-sized businesses;
  • promote entrepreneurship so that more people, and in particular younger ones, seriously consider becoming an entrepreneur as a career option;
  • give recognition to entrepreneurs for their contribution to Europe's welfare, jobs, innovation and competitiveness

The European SME Week 2014 will take place from 29 September - 5 October with the main event taking place together with the SME Assembly and the European Enterprise Promotion Awards Ceremony on 1-3 October 2014 in Naples, Italy.

For more information, please click here.

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European IPR Helpdesk Bulletin issue (14)

This summer issue of the European IPR Helpdesk Bulletin firstly presents an easy-to-use map of different free-of-charge initiatives available to assist SMEs with intellectual property related matters. Thinking on the growing relevance of designs in business, the Bulletin features an article on industrial design protection in the EU and the use of its grace period. An interview with a European agro/food biotech company underlines the relevance of IP in the biotechnology sector.

Regarding the research sector, this issue offers an interesting article on the DESCA 2020, a model consortium agreement tailored to be used in Horizon 2020. Two pieces featured by OHIM show the importance of IP enforcement via the outcomes of the first International IP Enforcement Summit and how the OHIM Academy plays a role in helping stakeholders throughout the EU.

The Innovaccess IP cost tool, a free-of-charge tool allowing the calculation of the costs related to different IP titles, the patent quiz and the Information Package on IP in Horizon 2020 complete this substantial fourteenth Bulletin issue.

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Intellectual Property in biotechnology

We are pleased to inform you that the European IPR Helpdesk has released a new fact sheet focusing on the importance of IP for the biotech sector.

Biotechnology is a field where technology advances rapidly but returns on investments may be slow. For this reason, it is important for public research organisations and enterprises to protect the innovation that they generate with Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), which provide a basis for return on investment in research and development, by granting monopoly rights for a certain period of time to their owners.

This fact sheet gives a brief overview of:

  • The different forms of  IP that can be relevant in biotechnology, focussing more specifically on patents;
  • The role of biotechnology in innovation in Europe; and
  • How to use patent information for innovation indicators.

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Call for expression of interest for setting up of a list of coaches for coaching activities in connection with the SME Instrument

The Horizon 2020 SME Instrument is a novel funding tool supporting SMEs with the ambition and potential to engage in innovation-driven growth on the European and global markets. Successful beneficiaries of the call will be offered coaching and mentoring support during the first two phases of the SME instrument.

The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise (EASME) of the European Commission has released a call for expressions of interest to set up a list of external experts, called "business coach(es)"

The coaching support will focus on developing organisational capabilities to equip the beneficiaries with the necessary skills to ensure commercial growth based on the company’s SME Instrument project. Participation in the coaching support offered is voluntary for SME Instrument participants.  The role of the business coaches is therefore to provide business coaching and leadership development support to companies.

For more information and to submit expressions of interest, please click here.

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WIPO guides in your language

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) publishes many useful guides on intellectual property for SMEs and researchers. Some guides have been nationally customized and are available in the languages of several EU Member States.

Check if the guides have been tailored to your country here.

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Using intellectual property to raise finance for innovation

Intellectual property, including patents, copyrights, designs and trade marks among others, can help innovative firms gain access to financing since they can be used as collateral or security for loans.

The World Bank has therefore published a policy brief, which identifies policy options to encourage a greater use of IP assets to channel financing into innovation.

You can read the policy brief here.

For detailed information on how intellectual property assets can be used for financial advantages, please consult our fact sheet on this topic. You can read it here.

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Raise awareness on IP in the biotech sector

“Biotechnology in Europe: The Tax, Finance and Regulatory Framework and Global Policy Comparison” is a joint report by Ernst & Young and EuropaBio. The reports examines what the continent has to offer to investors, entrepreneurs and researchers alike. It analyses everything from what to be taken into account when importing materials for clinical trials to the best way to exploit intellectual property within Europe’s various jurisdictions, as well as the key global locations on the increasingly important topic of R&D incentives.

Because jurisdictions influence how, when and why investors in biotechnology decide to enter or exit a business, the report weighs up the advantages and disadvantages of individual countries.

In the event that you are interested in why IP is important for biotech companies, we encourage you to read the two documents below!

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