How do you get funding for inventions

Patent advice with WIPANO: How to apply for patent funding

Patent registration is financially supported by WIPANO

Founders who have developed a technical innovation and want to exploit it financially should claim property rights for their invention at an early stage. Because the risk is too great that your own innovation will suddenly appear in the product of a competing company. Registering a patent or utility model with the patent office is the classic way of protecting your own business idea and being able to exploit it financially.

However, filing a patent application is usually costly - especially when global protection of the invention is desired. In addition to the costs of simply registering a patent, there are often necessary advisory services. During the consultation, it is checked in advance whether all the requirements for patenting are met and whether similar concepts are not already available in the patent database. In spite of a good idea, founders with little capital are often faced with ruin because their financial resources are insufficient.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) offers small and medium-sized companies a solution for this with the funding measure WIPANO, in which inventors are financially supported in patent advice and registration. WIPANO succeeded the SIGNO funding in 2016.

What exactly does WIPANO fund?

The WIPANO funding not only includes services with a focus on pure patent registration by a qualified patent attorney, but also includes advisory measures prior to registration. Competent follow-up support with the aim of commercial exploitation of the patent is also supported. The eligible services from WIPANO are summarized in different service packages (LP):

  • LP 1 at WIPANO: Rough test of the invention
    The invention is superficially examined for its fundamental patentability.
  • LP 2 at WIPANO: detailed examination of the invention
    The invention is examined with regard to the current state of the art and its economic usability. A cost-benefit analysis is also supported as part of the WIPANO funding.
  • LP 3 at WIPANO: Advice and coordination for patent applications
    The advising consulting company helps in the search and commissioning of a suitable patent attorney, but also supports in coordinating the strategy and communication with the attorney.
  • LP 4 at WIPANO: patent application
    WIPANO promotes patent attorney services in connection with the patent application and assumes a financial part of the official costs arising from the application.
  • LP 5 at Wipano: Measures to utilize the patent
    In order to be able to exploit the patent economically, the examination of exploitation possibilities and then the development of an exploitation strategy can be financed via WIPANO. Further activities such as participation in trade fairs, prototype construction or the registration of trademarks or designs can also be funded with WIPANO.

Incidentally, the service packages do not only relate to the registration of a patent, but can also be used when registering a utility model.

Applying for a patent is extremely complex. You should therefore fall back on a patent attorney from our network!

Find a patent attorney now

Requirements for a WIPANO patent grant

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from the commercial sector are eligible to apply for WIPANO patent advice. But self-employed freelancers with a scientific or technical focus can also apply for patent funding. To do this, the applicants must have a location in Germany and operate their business as their main business.

In addition, the following requirements apply for a WIPANO application:

  • The company must not have applied for a patent or utility model in the past five years
  • The project must not have started yet - it is therefore extremely important to submit your application in good time

For the public research institutes also supported within the framework of the WIPANO funding, other prerequisites apply in addition to other service packages, which are not considered in the context of this text.

Funding of up to 50% of the costs

When it comes to patent funding by WIPANO, small and medium-sized companies can generally count on a subsidy of 50% of the costs incurred for the services described above. The upper limit of the expenditures eligible for funding at WIPANO is 33,150 euros, the maximum grant is 16,575 euros. This grant is divided among the five service packages as follows:

Service packagemaximum funding amount
Rough examination of the invention375 euros
Detailed examination of the invention1,200 euros
Advice and coordination for patent applications2,000 euros
Patent application10,000 euros
Measures for the exploitation of the patent3,000 euros

Do our free funding check now and find the right funding program for your project.

Free funding check

Apply for WIPANO funding correctly

In order to benefit from WIPANO patent advice, you can continuously apply for patent funding using the electronic form system "easy-online". There you enter data about your company and your technical innovation and upload some official documents The legal form can be, for example, a current business registration, an extract from the commercial register or your entry in the trade register.

After creating the correct documents, you must print out the relevant documents and send them signed to the project management company Jülich, which coordinates WIPANO patent funding on behalf of the BMWi:

Project management company Jülich
Research Center Jülich GmbH
GTI department 5
P.O. Box 61 02 47
10923 Berlin

The processing of the application takes around four weeks. If more urgent processing is necessary, you can submit an urgent application after consulting the project sponsor in advance. If the check is positive, you will then receive a written notification of the grant.

By the way: don't be surprised if only 8,000 euros are initially guaranteed in the notification. You will get along well with most German and European patent applications. In the case of international registrations, you will receive an increase in the funding amount to a maximum of 16,575 euros after correct evidence.

The last step: find the right patent attorney

If you have received the positive notification and at least four weeks have passed after all documents have been sent to the project management agency by post, you can start looking for a suitable service provider. We would be happy to recommend a patent attorney from our network.

You now have 24 months to complete the entire consultation and registration process. After you have successfully checked your proof of use, you will receive the 50% of the eligible expenses.

Do you think you don't need a patent attorney? Then you can also try it on your own. We will help you with detailed information on how to apply for a patent.

Do you need help applying for your patent? An experienced patent attorney from our network will support you in this.

Find a patent attorney now
Author: Für-Grü editors

As editor-in-chief, René Klein has been responsible for the content of the portal and all publications by Für-Grü for over 10 years. He is a regular interlocutor in other media and writes numerous external specialist articles on start-up topics. Before his time as editor-in-chief and co-founder of Für-Grü, he advised listed companies in the field of financial market communication.