Scheme to Nurture UK Innovation; Innovation Is Helping Many of the Companies in the Fastest 50 to Grow. ALEX SHIEL, Partner and Head of Intellectual Property at Ward Hadaway, Looks at a New Government Scheme Designed to Promote Innovation in UK Businesses

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THINKING creatively and coming up with new ideas has been a particular strength of North East business for many years.

George Stephenson, Robert Stephenson, Joseph Swan, Lord Armstrong - the list of pioneers from the region who made their mark on the world is extremely impressive.

Dozens of other innovative entrepreneurs and businesses have followed in their wake and there could be more to come with the help of a Government initiative designed to encourage the development of new ideas in business.

Patent Box is a scheme whereby from April 1, 2013, UK companies can elect to apply a 10% rate of corporation tax on all profits attributable to "qualifying intellectual property". The aim of Patent Box is to encourage companies to locate high value jobs and activity associated with the development, manufacture and exploitation of patents in the UK. It also aims to make the UK tax system more competitive for tech companies.

If you own patents or patent applications then Patent Box will be relevant to your company.

However, even if you have never considered filing a patent application, Patent Box may be useful if you are involved in developing products or technology which could form the basis of a patent application.

Patent Box could even be relevant to you if you are involved in developing and exploiting patented products or technology owned by others.

In simple terms, a company can elect into Patent Box if it owns, or holds an exclusive licence of, qualifying intellectual property.

Since Patent Box is intended to encourage innovation, your company (or group of companies) must also have been involved in developing the innovation, or products which incorporate the innovation.

"Qualifying intellectual property" includes patents granted by the UK Intellectual Property Office or by the European Patent Office as well as certain other less common rights including Plant Variety Rights and Supplementary Protection Certificates and Regulatory Exclusivity Rights.

The regime has also now been extended to cover patents granted by certain other European patent offices.

Income from the sale of patented products, licence fees and royalties generated by patents, income from the sale of patents and income derived from others accused of infringing patents can all benefit from Patent Box. …