Generally it is easier for inventors or others who have a patentable invention to find sources of funding than it is to find funding purely for intellectual property protection. However, that being said there are also grants available for small businesses which can be used to pay for some of the fees associated with registering your trade marks and domain names.
One of the best places to go for help is the British Library. Their Business & IP centre offers a wide variety of information and services, so that you will be able to obtain up to date information by consulting their resources. They currently host the UK’s largest collection of business and intellectual property information. One of their most important resources is extensive information on how to get grants. They have a database called GRANTnet which lists over 5,000 funding schemes available in the UK. See this blog post about it.
You don’t even have to visit the library to access some their resources. On their website, you can find a whole range of articles and webcasts that provide information. You can also complete a free e-course on intellectual property.
If you have an invention there are several places you could try getting assistance and money to help you develop your idea. For example, if your design is scientific or patentable then NESTA is a government branch providing direct funding – for example at the moment they are funding activities relating to drivers and broadband.
Grants and support for inventions may also be available through your local Regional Development Agency (RDA) for example inventors in Wales and Scotland have their own sources of funding. Wales in particular has a scheme with the European Patent Office so eligible inventors may not have to pay for all of the government fees when registering a patent.
You could also explore private funding possibilities, such as from venture capitalists, who may be willing to provide finance and support in return for a percentage of your profits along the lines of Dragon’s Den.
Getting grant money to help fund IP can be difficult but if you do your research carefully and are persistent your efforts may pay off.
Other useful sources of information:
Venture capital Schemes:
Regional Development Agencies:
Northern Ireland: http://www.investni.com/
IP and Innovation Management for Health and Social Care Staff in Northern Ireland: http://www.crsc.n-i.nhs.uk/innovations/faq.aspx
Advice on Grants http://www.businesszone.co.uk/index.html