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Grants for exporters of intellectual property

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In a series of new articles we will be looking at the use of Intellectual Property (IP) by small and medium businesses (SMEs). Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind such as inventions, literary and artistic works, brands and designs used in commerce and which can be protected by, for example, patents, trade marks or registered designs. Export Marketing Development Grants (EMDG) is a scheme administered by Austrade which supports a range of industry sectors, including the export of IP and know-how.  EMDG seeks to encourage Australian SMEs to develop export markets and will reimburse up to 50% of eligible export promotion expenses exceeding $10,000. To be eligible for EMDG an SME must have: (i)             income not exceeding $50 million in a relevant grant year; (ii)            incurred eligible export expenses exceeding $20,000 (first-time applicants may combine the expenses of two years); and (iii)           principal status for the export business (although some exceptions apply). SMEs may claim for expenditure incurred in respect of specific promotional activities undertaken during the financial year before an applicant for a grant is submitted.  Of particular interest to SMEs seeking to secure foreign intellectual property rights is that registration and/or insurance of eligible intellectual property expenditure qualifies as an export promotional activity for which a claim may be submitted under the EMDG. In particular an eligible SME may claim: (i)             a maximum of $50,000 per application; (ii)            payments made to third parties, such as patent attorneys, for the grant, registration or renewal of intellectual property rights in countries other than Australia or New Zealand; and (iii)           the cost of insurance premiums paid for the protection against possible infringement of eligible intellectual property rights outside of Australia. In order to claim EMDG for the above activities an SME must: (i)             have incurred the expense in developing an export market for a product; (ii)            be the intended principal in export activities; (iii)           have paid for the expense during the relevant financial year; (iv)          support an expenditure claim with evidence ; (v)           be the recipient of the item paid for; (vi)          provide documentary evidence reflecting the role and function of overseas representatives or marketing consultants in respect of which a claim is made; and (vii)         in the case of claims relating to a marketing trip, provide trip reports, boarding passes, diary notes and/or other evidence substantiating details of the trip. It is important to note that EMDG is designed to assist export promotion and does not function to cover expenses resulting from product development or production, distribution or certification. For further information see Austrade’s website SMEs that rely on intellectual property rights in foreign jurisdictions can recover a substantial portion of the expenditure incurred in securing intellectual property rights under the EMDG.  As the costs associated with obtaining and maintaining foreign intellectual property rights can be substantial, receiving an EMDG can be of great benefit to an SME targeting the export market. Applications for the 2011- 2012 grant year open 1 July 2012 and closes 30 November 2012. Written by Andre Meyer, Associate at Spruson & Ferguson

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