World IP Day 2022: how young people can fund their IP

Young people are increasingly innovating, creating new brands and starting new businesses to help solve the problems of today, but the way in which these businesses and ideas are funded has changed significantly over recent years. In honour of World IP Day 2022, the team at Serjeants details some of the ways to obtain funding for new ideas and highlights potential issues that you should look out for.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding has become a popular way for people to raise funds to develop ideas or business, particularly for SMEs and start-up businesses. However, while it can be a fast way to raise finance with no upfront fees, there are also potential risks involved, particularly when it comes to patent protection.

In order to obtain a patent for an invention, you must ensure that the invention has not been disclosed to the public before the date you file your first patent application. If you publicly disclose an invention before filing a patent application, it will no longer possible to obtain valid patent protection for the invention.

So, if you want to crowdfund in order to pay for a patent application or for other business expenses before you have filed a patent application, it is vital not to give away too many details of the invention.

R&D Tax Relief

There are various grants and government funding available for IP. For example, the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Relief supports various types of businesses and allows relief of their qualifying costs. It is an incentive set up by the government to reward UK companies for investing in innovation. R&D Tax Relief works by allowing companies who invest in innovation to claim money back either through their corporate tax or via a cash payment.

Further information on R&D Tax Relief can be found here.

IP Access

Another funding option is the UKIPO’s IP Access scheme, which is an extension of their IP Audit scheme. This scheme aims to help SMEs protect and commercialise their IP.

Funding obtained can be spent on carrying out a review of the business and highlighting the registrable IP and the costs for registering this at the UKIPO. The funds cannot be spent on official fees for trade mark, patent or design applications.

A key benefit of this funding option is that all the information shared through the scheme between you and an attorney is confidential, allowing you to reveal the full details of your invention with an attorney without affecting the right to obtain a patent.

Advice

The key thing to keep in mind is that giving away too much information about your innovation will reduce the likelihood of receiving protection further down the line. If you are seeking funding from external sources, you must ensure that you get this balance right. This could involve using confidentiality agreements or simply limiting the information you share.

There are many ways to obtain help or assistance with the costs of IP advice and registration. The expert team at Serjeants is happy to provide advice on a confidential basis.

Please call the Serjeants team on 0116 233 2626, or send an enquiry here.