Author Archives: editor

Limits to the patent box – or, at least, to patents

Prompted by Forbes’ article about Steve Jobs shooting Apple in the foot, I thought I’d add a quick post about what seems to be a common misconception: whether you can patent an existing invention. I’ve certainly heard a few advisers (who shall not be named to spare their blushes) suggesting that companies should start to get patents over the inventions underlying their current products in order to get the benefit of the patent box.

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Commission consultation on proposed UK video games relief

The EU has published a consultation document (external PDF) on the proposed UK video games relief, inviting comments – it’s all pretty much as expected, but interesting to note that at para 34, the document states that “… as in the Commission’s preliminary assessment of the French video games tax credit [in 2006], the Commission doubts that the proposed UK video games cultural test would ensure that the aid would support only games with cultural content without leading to undue distortion of competition in this ver competitive market”. The French credit was ultimately approved by the EU, which adds weight to the view that the UK credit may also ultimately be approved.

UK: Another Budget, a bit more for IP businesses

Well, we have the shiny brand new patent box proposals coming in April anyway, so there were no big expectations of this Budget – just as well, really!

There was one ‘direct’ IP announcement – the above the line R&D relief for large companies is increased to 10%, from the originally proposed 9.1%. This doesn’t sound much of an increase, but it’s a large improvement on the 6% that the current large company relief would be worth when the 20% corporate tax rate comes into effect. A blog post on ATL is in the works …

A ‘coming soon’ announcement was also hidden in the Budget documents – the Government plans to introduce consultation on tax reliefs for the visual effects industry. Presumably these will be modelled on the film/quality tv/animation/video games reliefs that we already have, but there’s no detail yet beyond the announcement of consultation.

There were quite a few indirect announcements – things that will benefit IP companies by benefiting companies and sectors in general, including:

– the 20% corporation tax rate: a bonus for large companies, and fairly predictable
– the NICs allowance of £2,000 per business, reducing the costs of employing people
– the extension of the capital gains tax exemption on investment via SEIS: useful for startups looking for funding
– then the grants etc funding, including £1.6bn for Industrial Strategy, part of which will go into a £2.1bn fund for aerospace; a £15m competition for digital content production; and £8m for the Skills Investment Fund, focussed on the digital content sector
– and finally, various initiatives intended to make it easier to raise finance. In theory.