There are at least two options to apply for a grant covering patent work:
- Alberta Innovates micro-voucher - This grant covers 75% of patent costs up to a total grant size of $10,000. Any Alberta company may apply.
- CanExportSME program - Covers 75% of a variety of business activities (including patenting outside of Canada) to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) develop export opportunities for their product or service in new international markets.
Brief descriptions of the two programs are as follows:
1. Alberta Innovates micro-voucher
If you are a small to mid-sized business (defined as having fewer than 500 full-time employees) planning to apply for a patent to protect your intellectual property, you may want to apply for financial assistance from Alberta Innovates in the form of a micro-voucher. The up to $10,000 micro-voucher goes towards paying the service provider (such as ATMAC) for your patent assessment and/or application. ATMAC has previously worked with several companies who have received the micro-voucher funding. As the company, you will need to contribute 25% of the total project costs upon approval.
Alberta Innovates programs are intended to promote entry and growth of competitive Alberta technology-oriented businesses in the global marketplace and generate measureable, timely and material economic, social and/or environmental benefits.
The application process for a micro-voucher is not onerous, but in order to apply for funding, you will need the following:
- Be a business incorporated in Alberta or extra provincially registered in Alberta
- Have a physical presence in Alberta
- Current Business Plan with pro forma forecasts (3 or 5 year)
- Most recent Financial statements that include income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement and statement of retained earnings (can be internally generated)
The micro-voucher program accepts applications on an on-call basis which means that applications can be submitted at any time – no rushing to meet deadlines. Responses on whether the funding application is successful or not are received in just a few weeks. If your application is not successful the first time, you can always apply a second time, while addressing the reviewers’ comments. You must apply before commencing the patent process with a service provider.
Alberta Innovates may make an investment up to $10,000 (or 75% of the total project cost) which is paid directly to a service provider like ATMAC to conduct an intellectual property assessment to determine if your invention should be protected. Other eligible activities include:
- Provisional and non-provisional patent applications in the United States
- Patent applications in Canada
- International patent applications (PCT apps)
- Market assessment
- Industry development and corporate training
- Conferences (with the support of a Technology Development Advisor from Alberta Innovates)
- Acquisition of materials and/or equipment critical to your operations
If you need assistance applying for the micro-voucher, ATMAC works with qualified CMCs (Certified Management Consultants) who are approved service providers with federal and provincial grant programs and help companies through the funding application process.
For more information, please review the Alberta Innovation Voucher and Micro-Voucher Programs description.
2. CanExport SME program
What is CanExport SMEs?
CanExport SMEs provides financial assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) registered in Canada to help them develop export opportunities for their product or service in new international markets. The program is delivered by the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) of Global Affairs Canada, in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).
To be considered for funding, the applicant must satisfy all of the following criteria:
- Be a for-profit company
- Be an incorporated legal entity or a limited liability partnership (LLP) in Canada
- Have a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) business number
- Have no more than 500 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees
- Have no less than $100,000 and no more than $100 million in annual revenue declared in Canada during its last complete tax reporting year (or during the last 12 months for monthly and quarterly filers).
Which of my expenses are eligible?
Support is available for any combination of the following categories:
- Category A: Travel for meetings/events with key contacts from the target market(s)
- Category B: Participation in trade events to meet key contacts from target market(s)
- Category C: Marketing tools creation, adaptation and translation for target market(s)
- Category D: Interpretation services for target market(s)
- Category E: Intellectual property protection, certification and adaptation of contracts for target market(s)
- Category F: Consultant - Business, tax and legal advice for target market(s)
- Category G: Consultant - Market research, feasibility studies, identification of key contacts and b2b facilitation for target market(s)
How much money can I get?
The CanExport SMEs program requires applicants to submit a project for which expenses total between $20,000 and $100,000. The program reimburses up to 75 percent of eligible costs to offer between $15,000 and $75,000 in funding per project. Applicants must provide a detailed budget for their project.
Which international markets can I access with CanExport SMEs?
CanExport SMEs aims to help Canadian companies introduce their product or service to new international markets. Your target market is the country where you wish to secure new customers or generate sales.
Applicants can select a maximum of 5 “new” markets to target in their project.
A market is considered new and eligible if, during the company’s last complete tax reporting year (or last 12 months for monthly and quarterly filers), sales figures for that particular market were:
- Less than $100,000; or
- Less than 10% of the company’s total sales (domestic and international sales)
Applicants who include multiple target markets in their application must ensure that each market satisfies the above sales requirement.
For more information, please review the CanExport for businesses (SMEs) Applicant’s guide.