The European Commission has launched a new edition of the Intellectual Property (‘IP’) SME Helpdesks for China, South-East Asia, Latin America and India.
The new edition, launched by the Directorate General Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs and the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA) of the European Commission, complements the European IP Helpdesk and the African IP Helpdesk.
An Outstanding Tool to Support SMEs
Over the last 4 years and despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the China IP SME Helpdesk has proven to be an outstanding tool to reach and support SMEs with trade interests in China in IP matters. It has responded to over 2 500 queries, 98,8 % of them within 3 working days.
The China IP SME Helpdesk provides small and medium-sized businesses from Member States of the European Union and countries participating in the Single Market Programme with trainings as well as confidential and free first-line advice on all matters related to IP and the protection of IP rights in the Chinese market.
Sharing a common mission of offering jargon-free, value-added assistance to European SMEs, the China IP SME Helpdesk and the EU SME Centre have built strong synergies and will continue to organise joint training sessions and other activities in partnership.
Objectives and tasks1
The new edition of the Intellectual Property Helpdesks intends to provide free-of-charge assistance relating to intellectual property issues to SMEs doing business with or in the target markets, based in the EU and in Single Market Programme (SMP) countries.
This service consists in providing ‘first-line’ assistance, which does not extend, for instance, to the drafting of patent applications or of contracts, so as not to compete with existing law firms or other operators.
As mentioned in full detail in the related call for tenders, objectives of this new edition of the Helpdesks are to:
- improve the awareness of EU SMEs about intellectual property rules and practices in the target markets;
- improve the capacity of EU SMEs to manage and protect their intellectual property in relation to the target markets, including developing a basic intellectual property strategy for SMEs doing business in or with these countries;
- facilitate the implementation of such an intellectual property strategy providing services within the competences of each international intellectual property SME Helpdesk, or by identifying and facilitating contacts with external service providers or authorities such as intellectual property Offices before and once EU SMEs have entered the target markets;
- facilitate the strengthening of links and cooperation opportunities between EU SMEs and economic operators in the target markets in respect of the protection and enforcement of the intellectual property rights.
To achieve these objectives, the contractors will implement 6 main tasks:
- provide individual first-line advice on intellectual property (IP) matters in the target markets to queries from EU SMEs;
- develop a training programme addressed to EU SMEs on the use and management of IPs in the target market context;
- provide support to EU SMEs during business match-making events relevant to the target market;
- provide bi-annual reports on intellectual property challenges faced by EU SMEs in the target market (per lot); submit data to the intellectual property enforcement portal of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EU IPO) and attend meetings with the EU Delegation to the countries of the target market and local EU Member States representatives;
- provide general intellectual property information on-line concerning both the target markets and the EU intellectual property landscape
provide general intellectual property information at relevant awareness-raising events.
1 Source: Press release published by the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency on 7 March 2023. See https://eismea.ec.europa.eu/news/international-ip-sme-helpdesks-new-edition-has-just-started-2023-03-07_en (accessed 14 March 2023)