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.
XX v HMRC (and related appeals) (TC00689, released 17/9/10 but has taken some time to surface on the tribunal site) – the decision was anonymised, presumably because of the defence connection:
The First Tier Tribunal has upheld a claim by an inventor (XX) that the licence fees paid to him by a company of which he was a director were trading income, and not employment income – saving National Insurance Contributions for the company at the very least.
The Irish Revenue issued a Tax Statement of Practice at the end of July (SP-CT/01/10), removing withholding taxes from patent royalties paid to associated companies in another EU member state.
The Maltese Government approved a number of changes to their tax laws on 16th April 2010 – of particular interest on IP is the news that, with immediate effect, royalty and similar income derived from qualifying patents in respect of inventions will be exempt from Malta income tax (subject to conditions still to be announced, including a cap on the maximum amount that may be exempted – and the EU may well have some comments on the matter).
Google Scholar is getting a bit more detailed, with the ability now to search through articles, extracts from legal journals, full legal opinions/judgments, and details of patents. The emphasis is (unsurprisingly) on US legal matters but there is a reasonable amount of UK material to be found on intellectual property, as well as on tax matters.