‘European Patent Factory fund’ and ‘expert advisory partnership’ to be launched in 2019
[Brussels, 22 June 2018] Today, at the IP Europe Annual SME Summit, the association for R&D intensive businesses in Europe came together with France Brevets to announce a new financing and advisory mechanism for innovative European SMEs. This mechanism, named Patent Factory Europe (PFE), will provide resources, competences and know-how to help innovative SMEs in Europe to develop more patents and build strong, focused and usable IP. The mechanism is equally supported by leading industrial player Qualcomm.
The objective of this initiative – which will have a pan European launch in 2019 – is two-fold: firstly, to help SMEs bridge the challenging period between their creation as start-ups and access to their first and following Series A and B rounds of venture capital investments; and secondly to support the success of existing and forthcoming EU innovation initiatives such COSME, the VentureEU ‘fund of funds’, and the European Start-up and Scale-up initiative by providing a gateway to funding.
Francisco Mingorance, Executive Secretary of IP Europe, said: “Intellectual Property and access to finance are the two essential fuels which can sustain innovative entrepreneurs through the challenges of the start-up and scale-up phases of business development. While great steps have been taken to enable access to finance for SMEs in Europe, we do not yet see a strong ecosystem of supporting advisory services, calibrated to the needs of innovative SMEs.”
Didier Patry, CEO of France Brevets, said: “This state-of-the-art initiative is designed to help start-ups and scale-ups to build a strong patent portfolio that supports their continued growth by ensuring the efficient and long-lasting protection of innovative technology. Strong IP, enables companies to raise capital to support their development and sustain growth without being forced to sell either the company or equity to larger, potentially non-European entities.”
“We see intellectual property as a catalyst for new start-ups, SMEs and economic growth in Europe and this is why we are providing funding with early stage research programs for the benefit of the European SME eco-system” said Alex Rogers, Qualcomm Executive Vice President and President of Qualcomm Technology Licensing. “As compared to prior generations of mobile, we expect 5G technology to provide an even broader set of opportunities for SMEs to develop new business models and bring to market new products and services.”
PFE will work with in-house and external IP and IPR experts to provide a resourcing solution to develop and grow strategic patent portfolios. Additionally, it works with external patent counsels advising the company seeking funding. The fund negotiates a pre-determined budget with external advisory services and patent counsels then fund, for up to 24 months, the costs associated with developing the patent portfolio.
To date, the creation of the PFE has been incremental. Two national pilot schemes were launched in 2012 and in 2017 by France Brevets under the acronym FAB to demonstrate the viability of the program and develop a more detailed understanding of requirements. Several start-ups have joined France Brevets’ FAB program and have experienced direct benefits in their growth and in receiving funding. Outreach and recruitment of interested investors, such as Qualcomm and other leading technology companies then began, and will continue through 2018.
The leadership of France Brevets gives the PFE initiative a depth of credibility and experience from the outset. France Brevets – a French sovereign investment funds that commits long-term human and financial resources to innovative companies in France – will oversee the development and implementation of the European Fund.
More information on EU funding and support for Innovation
The EC’s stated position is that “small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent over 99% of businesses in the EU so it is crucial to support their growth and innovation.”
Venture EU is backed by EU funding to the tune of €410 million, the funds are aiming to raise up to €2.1 billion of public and private investment. In turn this is expected to trigger an estimated €6.5 billion of new investment in innovative start-up and scale-up companies across Europe, doubling the amount of venture capital currently available in Europe.
The European Start-up and Scale-up Initiative aims to put intellectual property at the service of SMEs to foster innovation and growth.
About IP Europe
IP Europe brings together R&D intensive European companies and research institutes committed to innovation, from SMEs to global enterprises and non-profit research entities operating in a variety of industrial sectors. They all share a common goal: to maintain, at all policy levels, strong patent protection for innovators and support recognized fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory standardisation policies adopted by consensus that preserve fair compensation for innovators. IP Europe supports the use of Injunctive Relief against patent infringers and free riders that rely on R&D investments made by others to earn higher profits. IP Europe was originally launched by Ericsson, Airbus and France Brevets. The Fraunhofer Gesellschaft participates in IP Europe in its capacity of academic advisor