‘IP Access’ fund, an extension of the existing UK IPO IP Audits Plus program

In 2021, innovation really has been a hot topic, with the government’s Innovation Strategy published earlier this summer. The Strategy recognises that innovation is critical in tackling the UK’s biggest challenges, and that IP has a key role to play in creating the right environment to meet these challenges (see more in our blog New Innovation Strategy for the UK). In view of this, the UKIPO has launched a new ‘IP Access’ fund, an extension of the existing UKIPO IP Audits Plus program.

The ‘IP Access’ fund offers grants of up to £5,000 to companies that have completed (or will complete) a part-funded IP audit between April 2020 and March 2022 with an IP audit plus partner organisation (Innovate UK Edge (formerly Enterprise Europe Network), Scottish Enterprise, the Highlands and Islands Enterprise, or the Welsh Government). The aim of these grants is to support businesses to manage and commercialise their IP, and specifically to provide businesses with additional funding to take forward some of the recommendations provided within the IP audit report.

For example, money from this grant can be used to cover costs related to:

• Professional fees for IP services in the UK and abroad
• The management of IP assets
• Commercialisation of IP
• Licensing and franchising agreements
• IP insurance
• IP valuation
• Tax relief advice

However, it cannot be used for the official fees for filing trade mark, registered design or patent applications.

Who is eligible? How can I apply?

Applications for IP Access are now open and will remain so until 12pm on the 31st March 2022.

If you have already completed a part-funded IP audit since April 2020 via an IP audit partner, you can apply for the funding straight away by contacting the partner organisation who assisted with your IP audit application. For more information, you can contact ipaccess@ipo.gov.uk.

However, if you have not already completed an IP audit, there’s still time to first enrol on the IP Audit Plus program, and then apply for the IP Access grant once the IP Audit has been completed, providing this is done before 31st March 2022.

How can Mewburn Ellis help?

Mewburn Ellis LLP is one of the firms of patent and trade mark attorneys that can provide IP Audits under the existing IP Audit program. More information about the IP Audit program and how we can help with this can be found on our website here. We also have extensive experience advising on IP strategy for SMEs, so are well-placed to provide appropriate IP services tailed to the requirements of your business following the recommendations provided in an IP audit. If you’d like to discuss how we might be able to assist, please do get in touch.