aws Protecting Innovation

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and Answers

These FAQs provide you with assistance for any questions before and during the application process, as well as with the processing of funding. The FAQs provide a basic overview without any claim for completeness and are being updated for you on an ongoing basis. Exclusively guideline specifications and guidelines, which can be found under aws Innovationsschutz Downloads (link), are legally binding.

Version as at: 01/01/2022

General questions about aws Protecting Innovation

1. What does aws Protecting Innovation offer?

aws Protecting Innovation offers companies support in managing their intellectual property.  

We jointly develop the right IP strategy for your company with you. This means that the focus is not only on patents, but primarily on your business model. We analyse your business model with regard to IP at joint workshops, in order to reveal which intellectual property is protectable and worth protecting at the company. We discuss the widest variety of IP instruments and support you in the strategic use of the right IP instruments for you, in order to sustainably protect your innovations and competitive advantage.

2. Which information services can I use?

IP appointment: short telephone clarification of questions on general IP issues, contact points and funding schemes; agreement of appointments at any time at https://www.aws.at/aws-innovationsschutz/ip-termin/

aws Protecting Innovation Consulting (discover.IP): information provided on the concrete innovation project by aws and Patent Office (2-3 hours); details at https://www.discoverip.at/

3. Which funding schemes can I use?

All aws Protecting Innovation funding schemes offer intellectual property rights consulting and IP strategy coaching in combination with grants.

aws Protecting Innovation Green.IP: for business models with a significant contribution to achieving climate goals or within the areas of activity of the EU’s Green Deal

aws Protecting Innovation implementation: for all innovative, technology-driven sectors

General questions on the information services IP appointment and discover.IP

4. Who can make use of an IP appointment?

Any person or company

5. How easily is an IP appointment agreed?

Simply online at https://www.aws.at/aws-innovationsschutz/ip-termin/. (no application needed)

6. How quickly is an IP appointment available?

You indicate two proposed appointments online about when you have time for the interview.

7. Who can make use of discover.IP?

Any person or company

8. How is the application made for aws Protecting Innovation consulting (discover.IP)?

Via aws funding manager https://foerdermanager.aws.at/#/

9. Where can I find further information on discover.IP?

On the website https://www.discoverip.at/

 

General questions about aws Protecting Innovation – Green.IP and aws Innovation Protection implementation 

10. Why does an SME need an IP strategy?

A customised IP strategy allows small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) with a viable business model to protect their own innovations from imitations and thereby to establish and protect an exclusive competitive advantage, as well as the achievement of commercial freedom to operate (FTO), i.e. the minimisation of risks of infringing third-party rights and being exposed to claims for damages - which is especially key in the digital age.

11. What does funding offer?

aws Protecting Innovation funding schemes support small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and implementing a strategy for the use of intellectual property (IP strategy) that is customised for the company and its business model. The funding scheme includes coaching (workshops with aws experts) and financial subsidies, which can only be jointly applied for.

12. Is aws Protecting Innovation Green.IP or aws Innovation Protection Implementation the right funding for me?

Both funding schemes offer coaching on IP issues and grants – individually adapted to your company and business model. The maximum project volume and the amount of funding is the same.

  • aws Protecting Innovation Green.IP: Funding for innovative, technology-driven companies with climate and environmental relevance, which are partnerships or corporations
  • aws Protecting Innovation Implementation: Funding for innovative, technology-driven sectors with at least 2 full-time equivalents in the company

We are happy to support you in advance of the application at a personal meeting on funding selection (see IP Appointment).

13. What differentiates aws Protecting Innovation Green.IP and aws Protecting Innovation Implementation?

On the one hand the difference lies in the funding requirements (see above), and on the other hand in the project content:

  • aws Protecting Innovation Green.IP: identification, securing and protecting own intellecutal property for maximum commercial use, IP transactions (purchase, sale, licensing of intellectual property rights)
  • aws Protecting Innovation Implementation: consolidation of corporate resources when implementing the IP strategy (personnel, training courses, etc.), establishing intellectual property rights, IP analyses, IP transactions

14. What should I expect in workshops/coaching?

The companies determine the subjects for workshops/coaching. Potential topics may include: analysis of the business model with regard to the need for intellectual property rights, overview of IP instruments (e.g. registered and unregistered intellectual property rights), know-how protection, IP in cooperation schemes, IP processes in the company, IP management, etc. and special issues at the company.

15. How much time does a company need to schedule for workshops?

As a guide, we can assume several half-day or all-day workshops (online, in aws or at the company) during the project. In addition, time is required for preparatory works and the implementation of outcomes.
The coaching programme is individually assembled depending on the company’s needs, such that the amount of time required may fluctuate widely.

16. Where are the workshops held?

Depending on prior agreement - online, in aws or at the company.

17. What do the workshops cost?

Coaching services form part of aws funding and are therefore free of charge.

18. Can grants be applied for without coaching/workshops?

Grants can only be applied for in combination with coaching, i.e. a joint application for coaching and the required grants shall be submitted before the project starts.

19. What is the amount of grant and the funding rate?

The total amount of eligible costs must not exceed a maximum of EUR 200,000. Additionally incurred costs shall be fully assumed by the funding recipient.

The funding rate amounts to a maximum of 50% of eligible costs, which means the maximum grant amount is EUR 100,000.

20. Which costs are eligible for funding?

  • Costs of acquiring new intellectual property rights (new registrations) and defending and enforcing existing intellectual property rights (e.g. registration fees, legal fees)
  • Personnel costs of IP management (for staff employed or delegated for such tasks)
  • Costs related to the transaction of intellectual property rights and knowledge (licensing, acquisition)
  • Costs of external consulting services, which serve implementation of the developed IP strategy, where the company does not have the resources or know-how for implementation (e.g. conducting intellectual property rights research, etc.)

21. Which costs are not funded?

  • Costs incurred prior to the application date,
  • Costs resulting from invoices for small amounts, i.e. below EUR 150 (net),
  • Travel expenses,
  • Incidental wage costs,
  • Intellectual property rights that have been non-exclusively in-licensed or intellectual property rights that are implemented solely by means of licensing,
  • Costs of external consultants in the case of ongoing, routine consultations or marketing,
  • Court costs and any reimbursement of costs to opposing parties in relation to property right infringements,
  • Value added tax

22. Does this constitute de minimis funding?

The General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER; german: AGVO) is essentially applicable as the basis for state aid rules. Exception: undertakings in difficulty (UiD) based on GBER (see Appendix). Undertakings in difficulty may be funded de minimis.

23. What kind of projects are supported?

Innovative, technology-driven innovation projects are supported, where the business idea must hold sustainable commercial potential and the company must have the economic resources to implement the business idea.

For aws Protecting Innovation Green.IP the innovation project must also demonstrate climate and environmental relevance.

 

Questions on the application

24. When can a funding application be made?

Applications for aws Protecting Innovation funding schemes (Green.IP, Implementation) and the information service discover.IP are possible via the aws funding manager at any time. An IP appointment can be agreed at any time - without application - at https://www.aws.at/aws-innovationsschutz/ip-termin/

Applications must always be submitted before the project starts (e.g. prior to the property right to be funded).

25. Who is entitled to apply?

Innovative, technology-driven small and medium-sized enterprises with their head office or business location in Austria (for aws Protecting Innovation Green.IP: partnerships and corporations, for which the business model has climate and environmental relevance; for aws Protecting Innovation Implementation: at least 2 full-time equivalents in the company)

26. How does the application work?

An application for funding is exclusively possible via the aws funding manager. The templates provided by aws to the funding manager shall be used here (2 questionnaires). Additional documents (e.g. business plan, corporate presentation, etc.) can be attached to the application.

An IP appointment can be agreed at any time (without making an application) via the website at https://www.aws.at/aws-innovationsschutz/ip-termin/

27. How much time does the application process take?

Time expenditure is assessed as low.

28. What documents are required for the application?

The necessary application documents can be found as templates (2 questionnaires) at the aws funding manager (for aws Protecting Innovation Green.IP and Implementation). Additional documents (e.g. business plan) can be attached as a supplement to the application.

29. When is the best time to make an application?

As required. Ideally the company is facing implementation of an innovative business idea and develops an IP strategy for this innovation project. The IP strategy should be sustainably anchored in the company's business and innovation strategy and can be used for subsequent innovation projects.

30. Can I apply for aws Protecting Innovation funding if I have already received other funding?

Yes, but duplicate funding for the same cost items is excluded.

 

Questions about project selection

31. How does the selection of funded projects work?

Formal and content criteria must be fulfilled for the funding proposals (see above). The decision on granting subsidies and accompanying coaching is made by an assessment panel (jury).

32. What are the jury’s selection criteria?

The jury assesses the degree of innovation, environmental relevance (for aws Protecting Innovation Green.IP) and economic growth potential.

 

Questions about processing

33. As a funding recipient, what reporting obligations do I have?

The reporting obligations are defined in the funding agreement.

34. How are grants disbursed?

The disbursement of grants is possible at any time following a positive funding decision and any other conditions to be fulfilled according to the funding agreement. An Excel file stored on aws Fördermanager (“aws-IP.Finanzierung-Rechnungszusammenstellung.xlsx”) shall be used for accounting. This statement of costs shall be forward to aws along with invoice copies and payment documents.

 

Other questions

35. What are the SME criteria?

They are the criteria for small and medium-sized enterprises according to the SME-Definition-User-Guide.

 

Appendix and glossary of terms


Undertaking in difficulty (General Block Exemption Regulation Art. 2(18))

'Undertaking in difficulty' means an undertaking in respect of which at least one of the following circumstances occurs:

(a) In the case of a limited liability company (other than an SME that has been in existence for less than three years or, for the purposes of eligibility for risk finance aid, an SME within 7 years from its first commercial sale that qualifies for risk finance investments following due diligence by the selected financial intermediary), where more than half of its subscribed share capital has disappeared as a result of accumulated losses. This is the case when deduction of accumulated losses from reserves (and all other elements generally considered as part of the own funds of the company) leads to a negative cumulative amount that exceeds half of the subscribed share capital. For the purposes of this provision, "limited liability company" refers in particular to the types of company mentioned in Annex I of Directive 2013/34/EU34 and "share capital" includes, where relevant, any share premium.

(b) In the case of a company where at least some members have unlimited liability for the debt of the company (other than an SME that has been in existence for less than three years or, for the purposes of eligibility for risk finance aid, an SME within 7 years from its first commercial sale that qualifies for risk finance investments following due diligence by the selected financial intermediary), where more than half of its capital as shown in the company accounts has disappeared as a result of accumulated losses. For the purposes of this provision, "a company where at least some members have unlimited liability for the debt of the company" refers in particular to the types of company mentioned in Annex II of Directive 2013/34/EU.

(c) Where the undertaking is subject to collective insolvency proceedings or fulfils the criteria under its domestic law for being placed in collective insolvency proceedings at the request of its creditors.

(d) Where the undertaking has received rescue aid and has not yet reimbursed the loan or terminated the guarantee, or has received restructuring aid and is still subject to a restructuring plan.

(e) In the case of an undertaking that is not an SME, where, for the past two years: (1) the undertaking’s book debt to equity ratio has been greater than 7.5 and (2) the undertaking's EBITDA interest coverage ratio has been below 1.0.