Getting support with intellectual property – Intellectual property cheque

Summary

Patents are a valuable source of information for developing a company's performance and competitiveness. The intellectual property cheque offered by the Walloon region, which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER), helps companies with research and using the information contained in patents. It supports consultancy services.

Services falling under one of the following categories can be paid for using the intellectual property cheque:

  • Research concerning a patentable innovation: carried out before the submission of a patent application, which makes it possible to determine whether the invention is patentable and whether the invention has been disclosed before a critical date. Therefore, this consists of determining the state of the art.
  • Research for the purpose of freedom to operate: this research, which must be as comprehensive as possible, aims to verify whether a product or a process can be freely used on the market. This must be carried out when characterising the product, process and composition at a technical level. It should ideally be stopped just before placement on the market.
  • Opposition research: this is research that aims to identify documents that are likely to anticipate the invention protected by a patent. Therefore, it aims to invalidate claims pertaining to the state of the art.
  • State of the art: comprehensive research into all patents and documents in the literature (excluding patents). This does not focus on a single invention, but covers any references that correspond to a given technological domain.
  • Patent mapping: an in-depth analysis of patent and non-patent references, which aims to help with strategic business decisions.
  • Establishment of a technological watch: this stage involves the establishment of a technological watch, including patents, and is adapted to the business of the applicant SME, without ensuring follow-up (no recurrence).

Key points

Are you a recipient from Walloon Brabant? In light of the growing success of intellectual property cheques, the FEDER 2014–2020 programme credits allocated to the Brabant region are already fully depleted. New applications from recipients in this zone are no longer being accepted. However, credits are still available for the transition zone (outside Walloon Brabant). 

Given that this cheque is co-financed by the FEDER, the recipient must:

  • report and communicate any operation that has been co-financed by the FEDER;
  • archive advertising information;
  • maintain separate analytical accounting and use appropriate codes;
  • agree to the publication of information concerning the co-financed cheque in the context of the FEDER;
  • inform the public of the support received from the FEDER by displaying a sign (minimum size A3) with a succinct description of the operation in a location that is clearly visible to the public, in line with the level of support, its purpose and its results. It must also highlight the financial support provided by the FEDER.

You can find more information about the information and advertising obligations for projects co-financed by FEDER in the description of the intellectual property cheque provision, under the explanatory document tab.

In detail

Target audience – details

You can receive this cheque if:

  • You are an SME, namely a business employing fewer than 250 people and with annual turnover below €50 million or a balance sheet total that does not exceed €43 million.
  • You are registered as a commercial company with Banque Carrefour des Entreprises (BCE).
  • Your primary business unit is located in Wallonia.
  • Your business is not part of an excluded sector, based on the de minimis regulation (fishing, aquaculture, primary production of agricultural products, the transformation and sale of these products).
Benefits

75% of the pre-tax costs for the service are financed as follows:

  • 45% by the Walloon region
  • 30% by FEDER

The remaining costs and the VAT are borne by the company.

Procedure

Registration on the platform: 

• In order to use the platform, all users must create a “citizen” account beforehand. 

•To do this, the user can register via the registration module available on the home page, or activate the account via an email that is sent following the creation of their account by a third party (service providers, contacts at a previously registered company, etc.). 

Registration/activation is only possible via the secure authentication module with an electronic identity card (eiD Belgium). This process is mandatory.

The application process: 

• The subsidy application may be filed by you directly, but it can also be filed by your service provider on your behalf. 

For the first application submitted via the platform, we invite recipients to contact an approved/accredited service provider of their choice directly. They will then take care of the application process for them. 

In fact, during your first cheque application, it is not possible to link an account to a company on the platform, because it does not exist in our database yet. 

The only authentic source that will allow us to link the contact to a recipient is an approved service provider, with whom the company will be bound by a contractual relationship. 

Therefore, it is the service provider who creates the company in the system, upon submitting the first requested cheque under the service agreement, and they will vouch for the identity of the recipient and their contact person. 

Subsequently, when submitting later applications, it is then possible for the recipient to file the application for the cheque themselves. 

•This application is submitted solely via the platform www.cheques-entreprises.be and will be processed electronically. 

• In the context of this subsidy application, you must conclude a service agreement (generated by the platform) with an approved service provider for the requested cheque, which will be provided upon submitting the file and the signed subsidy application, as well as various external documents, or documents generated by the platform, and variants based on the type of cheque requested (“de minimis” declaration, “SME test” declaration, prior diagnosis, certificate from a third-party organisation, etc.) 

Validation of the application: 

• In accordance with the confidence principle, the administration proceeds to examine the admissibility of the application, that is, to check the completeness of the documents that have been submitted. This check must be carried out within five working days. After this time, the application for aid will be considered admissible. 

Payment of the share: 

• When the subsidy is granted, the Region will ask you to pay the sum you get to keep, based on the level of public intervention. This share must be paid within 30 days; otherwise the file will be deemed inadmissible. 

• Once the payment of the share has been received, an electronic cheque that is equal to the total amount of the aid will be placed in your electronic portfolio, which can be consulted on the web platform. The service can then begin. 

Service: 

• It must be carried out within the period determined. 

Payment for the service: 

•At the end of the service, the service provider sends their invoice and a service report via the platform www.cheques-entreprises.be.

• You then validate the service provider’s invoice and the report via the same online platform within 15 days. If validation does not take place by the deadline, the invoice and the report will be deemed valid and the file will be submitted to the administration. 

• After submission, the administration checks the file within 15 working days, before paying the service provider. If validation does not take place by the deadline, the application for aid will be considered admissible. 

• You pay the VAT directly to the service provider. 

Requests for additional information: 

• When the application is processed by the administration – both during the introduction (awarding) and closing (settlement) of the application – the administration may send you a request for additional information, if it deems that the elements in its possession do not allow it to decide on the admissibility of the application. 

• You, or your service provider, must respond within one month from the date on which the information is requested; otherwise the application will be deemed inadmissible. 

A posteriori checks: 

• Your application may be checked after the fact by the Walloon Region, based on random sampling. 

Disputes: 

If the decision is disputed, you can contact the Business Cheques team or file an appeal at http://www.raadvst-consetat.be (“procedure” section). 

Conditions

Eligibility conditions:

  • You are an SME, namely a business employing fewer than 250 people and with annual turnover below €50 million or a balance sheet total that does not exceed €43 million.
  • You are registered as a commercial company with Banque Carrefour des Entreprises (BCE), within the meaning of the Companies Code, and your registered office is located in Wallonia (the majority of the employed staff work in Wallonia).
  • Your business is not part of an excluded sector, based on the de minimis regulation (fishing, aquaculture, primary production of agricultural products, the transformation and sale of these products).
  • You must use an approved service provider (a list is available on the platform).
  • The service must be performed within six months of receiving the cheque.

You must not have reached the de minimis threshold:

  • This regulation sets a maximum threshold of €200,000 for public aid over a three-year period (Article 3, Paragraph 2 of Regulation 1407/2013).
  • However, this threshold is €100,000 for companies engaged in the transport of goods or passengers by road (Article 3, Paragraph 3 of Regulation 1407/2013).
  • De minimis aid cannot be combined with State aid that has been granted for the same admissible costs, or with State aid for the same risk-financing measure, if this combination causes you to exceed the aid amount or the highest applicable aid amount that has been established, in the circumstances specific to each case, by a category-related exemption regulation or a decision adopted by the Commission (Article 5, Paragraph 2 of Regulation 1407/2013).
  • If you have exceeded this threshold, you may not obtain this cheque.

You cannot receive more than €60,000 in intellectual property cheques over a three-year period. 

In addition, you must not have reached the maximum public intervention amount of €100,000 per calendar year for the integrated business aid portfolio.

Legal references

Forms

Online

Contacts

Services

Business cheques contact form
081/334000
Updated on
Process n° : 141844
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