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Patent Box

An opportunity for UK companies
   to pay less Corporation Tax
Summary
• The Patent Box proposals
• 'Can you get a patent for that?'
• Example scenarios
• Questions
Some recent headlines
Timetable

• Three consultations to date
• Part of Finance Bill 2012
• Due to come into effect 1 April 2013
• Caution- We are patent attorneys, not
  accountants!
Patent Box - objectives

• Enhance attractiveness of UK tax system
  (e.g. vs The Netherlands)
• Encourage location and retention of science
  and technology jobs in the UK
• Encourage investment and growth in the
  UK technology sector
How much tax?
• Corporation tax is currently 26% , reducing to
  24%
• Option to elect to HMRC for a reduction in UK
  corporation tax to 10%
• with tapered implementation:
         Year    2013/ 4   2014/ 5   2015/ 6   2016/ 7
          %        60        70        80        90
     effective %  15.2      13.6      12.4      11.2
     (Trade-off to include existing granted patents)
Which profits?
• Profits passing through a UK company
  which is paying Corporation tax.
• Profits relating to qualifying products or
  services covered by a relevant patent
• Worldwide sales
• Patent owner and exclusive licensee
       Key message: the proposals are generous!
Which patent rights?
• UK patents
• EP patents
• Patents granted by some other countries
• Supplementary Protection Certificates
  (pharmaceuticals)
• Plant variety rights
• NOT US patents
Do all profits qualify?
• No - special calculation - less than 100% of
  qualifying profits will be taxed at 10% rate
• HMRC fighting back!
• Deductions:
  – "routine return figure" - the profit a business might
    make if it did not have access to patents
  – "marketing assets return figure" - excludes profits
    generated using established brands
     Key message: number crunching by accountants!
Which profits?
           Key message: 10% rate
          will not apply in practice!
What types of income qualifies?
• Sales revenue
• Royalties and other licence revenue
• Court awards from infringement
  proceedings
• Patent owners & exclusive licensees
  – i.e., if a patent is licensed then both the
    licensor's royalties and the licensee's sales can
    be taxed at the reduced rate
Other requirements
• Opt-in
  - forewarning to HMRC
• Active ownership
  – only applies to group companies
  – defined as performing a significant
    management activity
  – a renewal decision counts as management
    activity
Which products? 1
Which products? 2
• Any product!
• "Complex products" including one patented
  component
• Any spares for the product, even if the
  spares themselves are not patented

     Key message: for single product SMEs, all profits
         will be relevant for only a single patent
What about processes?
What about services?
• Unlikely to apply to entire sales revenue
• Companies which use their patents to
  perform processes or provide services can
  benefit up to the level of an arm's length
  royalty

      Key message 1: service companies can benefit!

      Key message 2: the more patents, the better!
Can I get tax relief whilst my
  patent application is pending?

• Yes, but relief will be claimable only after
  the patent is granted (up to 6 years)
• Accelerate granting of the patent
   Key message: to benefit ASAP, patent must be granted
     before April 2014, therefore clients should act now
Who will benefit?

• Start-ups - a target of the proposals!
• Research and manufacturing businesses
• Local subsidiaries of multinationals with "active
  management" in the UK , and profits washing
  through a UK company
• Existing patent holders get a windfall!
Further information:

• Withers & Rogers website - click on "Patent Box Services"
  button on the home page for detailed Q&A.
  Legislation:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2010-
    2012/0325/2012325.pdf
• "Technical Note":
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget-updates/march2012/patent-box-tech-note.pdf
• "Consultation on the Patent Box":
http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/consult_patent_box_stage2.htm
• HMRC HM Revenue presentation:
http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/patent_box_presentation120112.pdf
"Can you get a patent for that?"
What are patents?
                   A tolerated monopoly


    State                                     Patentee

Publication of                            20 year monopoly
  invention
  stimulates
 innovation
Types of IP
   TRADE MARKS                            INVENTIONS


      Registered                              Patents
Common Law                             Utility models

                       Intellectual
                        property



 Copyright                                  Know How
 Database                 Registered
                   Design Designs
  rights                               AESTHETIC
                    Right
                                       CREATIONS
Patentability

• Novel - key test
• Inventive

• Sufficiently described
• Not excluded
Novelty & inventive step
• An invention is new if it is not part of the
  state of the art.
• “State of the art”: everything available to
  the public before filing date of the patent
  application.

• An invention is inventive if it is not
  obvious to a skilled technician.
• The hurdle is not as high as most
  engineers think!
Not Patentable?
The most commonly encountered exceptions:

• Mathematical methods;
• Methods for doing business; and,
• Programs for computers, as such.

Exclusions are narrow so don't assume !
Check with a patent attorney
Patent claims
                          Mechanical
              Apparatus   Electronic
Product
              System      Control

              Chemical
                          Manufacture
              Method
Process                   Control
              Use
                          Pharma
Some examples
Electronics
   antenna, processors, signal processing, image processing,
   apps, operating systems, electronic tags, etc.

Mechanical
 plastic bags, shoes, golf clubs, hinges, tyre treads, coat
 hangers, gearboxes, packaging, lids, corkscrews, etc.

Chemical
  pharmaceuticals, methods of chemical synthesis, glues,
  dog biscuits, food products, paints, cleaning products,
  nappies, etc.
Some examples
Electronics
   antenna, processors, signal processing, image processing,
   apps, operating systems, electronic tags, etc.

Mechanical
 plastic bags, shoes, golf clubs, hinges, tyre treads, coat
 hangers, gearboxes, packaging, lids, corkscrews, etc.

Chemical
  pharmaceuticals, methods of chemical synthesis, glues,
  dog biscuits, food products, paints, cleaning products,
  nappies, etc.
Some examples
Electronics
   antenna, processors, signal processing, image processing,
   apps, operating systems, electronic tags, etc.

Mechanical
 plastic bags, shoes, golf clubs, hinges, tyre treads, coat
 hangers, gearboxes, packaging, lids, corkscrews, etc.

Chemical
  pharmaceuticals, methods of chemical synthesis, glues,
  dog biscuits, food products, paints, cleaning products,
  nappies, etc.
How do we get patents?
File Patent         Search          Examination            Patent
Application          Stage             Stage               Grant




  • Timescale to grant is usually 2 to 5 years in the UK.
  • This can be accelerated for (i) green patents, and (ii) with a
    reason: "potential infringer" / "secure an investor".
  • UKIPO have confirmed that patent box alone is not enough!
  • Acceleration can result in a granted patent in 12 months or
    less.
A way forward?
• File patent applications of 'narrow' scope and
  more succinct description.

• Reduces potential for the patent to be used
   commercially, but...
... substantially increases the prospects of patent
   grant (and may also reduce the overall patenting
   costs).
             Key message: low patent costs
A way forward?
• Budget cost for obtaining a narrow UK
  patent will be around £5000.
Strategy - reasons for patenting
    1.   To protect your market.
    2.   To gain licence income.
    3.   To obtain a negotiating tool.
    4.   To maximise asset value.
    5.   TO OBTAIN TAX RELIEF.
"We don't need a UK patent"
• Traditional view taken by many businesses
• But Patent Box system now provides a
  compelling incentive


         Key message: patenting costs can
          be dwarfed by the tax benefit
A usual strategy
     UK
                                  USA


                                  EP




                                               grant?
                International
                    (PCT)
                                  CN


                                  AU


     0               12           30          60
time (months)
A modified strategy
     UK                          grant?
                                          USA


                                          EP




                                                             grant?
                International
                    (PCT)
                                          CN


                                          AU


     0               12                   30                60
time (months)          Key message: modify your strategy!
Patents - summary
• File patent application before invention is disclosed.
• Relatively minor improvements are often patentable.
• It is now worth seeking to protect relatively minor
  developments to qualify for the Patent Box.
• Review of upcoming projects to determine suitability for
  patenting.
• Consider tax relief in project costing.
• Conduct a Patent Audit - we can help!
Conclusions
• This is a great opportunity
• Tax avoidance with official approval!
• Patenting should be cost negative
• This is already changing our clients'
  patenting strategy
• Act as soon as possible! (at least arrange an
  audit)
Key questions for you
• Do you have patents for your products and
  processes?
• Are your unpatented processes secret?
• Will you be launching any new products?
  If so, should you seek patent protection?
• Distributors - are you selling patented
  products?
Key questions for your accountant
• What do you know about patent box?
• Do you know relief commences in 2013?
• Have you the knowledge to make a claim?
• I have a patent, how should I arrange my
  records to best claim relief ?
• Does this affect my other tax strategies?
• Should I speak to a specialist tax adviser?
Any questions?
       Adrian Chettle
achettle@withersrogers.com
  © 2012 Withers & Rogers
©
        ®

    ™

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Ip and Tax Relief

  • 1. © ® ™
  • 2. Patent Box An opportunity for UK companies to pay less Corporation Tax
  • 3. Summary • The Patent Box proposals • 'Can you get a patent for that?' • Example scenarios • Questions
  • 5. Timetable • Three consultations to date • Part of Finance Bill 2012 • Due to come into effect 1 April 2013 • Caution- We are patent attorneys, not accountants!
  • 6. Patent Box - objectives • Enhance attractiveness of UK tax system (e.g. vs The Netherlands) • Encourage location and retention of science and technology jobs in the UK • Encourage investment and growth in the UK technology sector
  • 7. How much tax? • Corporation tax is currently 26% , reducing to 24% • Option to elect to HMRC for a reduction in UK corporation tax to 10% • with tapered implementation: Year 2013/ 4 2014/ 5 2015/ 6 2016/ 7 % 60 70 80 90 effective % 15.2 13.6 12.4 11.2 (Trade-off to include existing granted patents)
  • 8. Which profits? • Profits passing through a UK company which is paying Corporation tax. • Profits relating to qualifying products or services covered by a relevant patent • Worldwide sales • Patent owner and exclusive licensee Key message: the proposals are generous!
  • 9. Which patent rights? • UK patents • EP patents • Patents granted by some other countries • Supplementary Protection Certificates (pharmaceuticals) • Plant variety rights • NOT US patents
  • 10. Do all profits qualify? • No - special calculation - less than 100% of qualifying profits will be taxed at 10% rate • HMRC fighting back! • Deductions: – "routine return figure" - the profit a business might make if it did not have access to patents – "marketing assets return figure" - excludes profits generated using established brands Key message: number crunching by accountants!
  • 11. Which profits? Key message: 10% rate will not apply in practice!
  • 12. What types of income qualifies? • Sales revenue • Royalties and other licence revenue • Court awards from infringement proceedings • Patent owners & exclusive licensees – i.e., if a patent is licensed then both the licensor's royalties and the licensee's sales can be taxed at the reduced rate
  • 13. Other requirements • Opt-in - forewarning to HMRC • Active ownership – only applies to group companies – defined as performing a significant management activity – a renewal decision counts as management activity
  • 15. Which products? 2 • Any product! • "Complex products" including one patented component • Any spares for the product, even if the spares themselves are not patented Key message: for single product SMEs, all profits will be relevant for only a single patent
  • 17. What about services? • Unlikely to apply to entire sales revenue • Companies which use their patents to perform processes or provide services can benefit up to the level of an arm's length royalty Key message 1: service companies can benefit! Key message 2: the more patents, the better!
  • 18. Can I get tax relief whilst my patent application is pending? • Yes, but relief will be claimable only after the patent is granted (up to 6 years) • Accelerate granting of the patent Key message: to benefit ASAP, patent must be granted before April 2014, therefore clients should act now
  • 19. Who will benefit? • Start-ups - a target of the proposals! • Research and manufacturing businesses • Local subsidiaries of multinationals with "active management" in the UK , and profits washing through a UK company • Existing patent holders get a windfall!
  • 20. Further information: • Withers & Rogers website - click on "Patent Box Services" button on the home page for detailed Q&A. Legislation: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2010- 2012/0325/2012325.pdf • "Technical Note": http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget-updates/march2012/patent-box-tech-note.pdf • "Consultation on the Patent Box": http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/consult_patent_box_stage2.htm • HMRC HM Revenue presentation: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/patent_box_presentation120112.pdf
  • 21. "Can you get a patent for that?"
  • 22. What are patents? A tolerated monopoly State Patentee Publication of 20 year monopoly invention stimulates innovation
  • 23.
  • 24. Types of IP TRADE MARKS INVENTIONS Registered Patents Common Law Utility models Intellectual property Copyright Know How Database Registered Design Designs rights AESTHETIC Right CREATIONS
  • 25. Patentability • Novel - key test • Inventive • Sufficiently described • Not excluded
  • 26. Novelty & inventive step • An invention is new if it is not part of the state of the art. • “State of the art”: everything available to the public before filing date of the patent application. • An invention is inventive if it is not obvious to a skilled technician. • The hurdle is not as high as most engineers think!
  • 27. Not Patentable? The most commonly encountered exceptions: • Mathematical methods; • Methods for doing business; and, • Programs for computers, as such. Exclusions are narrow so don't assume ! Check with a patent attorney
  • 28. Patent claims Mechanical Apparatus Electronic Product System Control Chemical Manufacture Method Process Control Use Pharma
  • 29. Some examples Electronics antenna, processors, signal processing, image processing, apps, operating systems, electronic tags, etc. Mechanical plastic bags, shoes, golf clubs, hinges, tyre treads, coat hangers, gearboxes, packaging, lids, corkscrews, etc. Chemical pharmaceuticals, methods of chemical synthesis, glues, dog biscuits, food products, paints, cleaning products, nappies, etc.
  • 30. Some examples Electronics antenna, processors, signal processing, image processing, apps, operating systems, electronic tags, etc. Mechanical plastic bags, shoes, golf clubs, hinges, tyre treads, coat hangers, gearboxes, packaging, lids, corkscrews, etc. Chemical pharmaceuticals, methods of chemical synthesis, glues, dog biscuits, food products, paints, cleaning products, nappies, etc.
  • 31. Some examples Electronics antenna, processors, signal processing, image processing, apps, operating systems, electronic tags, etc. Mechanical plastic bags, shoes, golf clubs, hinges, tyre treads, coat hangers, gearboxes, packaging, lids, corkscrews, etc. Chemical pharmaceuticals, methods of chemical synthesis, glues, dog biscuits, food products, paints, cleaning products, nappies, etc.
  • 32. How do we get patents? File Patent Search Examination Patent Application Stage Stage Grant • Timescale to grant is usually 2 to 5 years in the UK. • This can be accelerated for (i) green patents, and (ii) with a reason: "potential infringer" / "secure an investor". • UKIPO have confirmed that patent box alone is not enough! • Acceleration can result in a granted patent in 12 months or less.
  • 33. A way forward? • File patent applications of 'narrow' scope and more succinct description. • Reduces potential for the patent to be used commercially, but... ... substantially increases the prospects of patent grant (and may also reduce the overall patenting costs). Key message: low patent costs
  • 34. A way forward? • Budget cost for obtaining a narrow UK patent will be around £5000.
  • 35. Strategy - reasons for patenting 1. To protect your market. 2. To gain licence income. 3. To obtain a negotiating tool. 4. To maximise asset value. 5. TO OBTAIN TAX RELIEF.
  • 36. "We don't need a UK patent" • Traditional view taken by many businesses • But Patent Box system now provides a compelling incentive Key message: patenting costs can be dwarfed by the tax benefit
  • 37. A usual strategy UK USA EP grant? International (PCT) CN AU 0 12 30 60 time (months)
  • 38. A modified strategy UK grant? USA EP grant? International (PCT) CN AU 0 12 30 60 time (months) Key message: modify your strategy!
  • 39. Patents - summary • File patent application before invention is disclosed. • Relatively minor improvements are often patentable. • It is now worth seeking to protect relatively minor developments to qualify for the Patent Box. • Review of upcoming projects to determine suitability for patenting. • Consider tax relief in project costing. • Conduct a Patent Audit - we can help!
  • 40. Conclusions • This is a great opportunity • Tax avoidance with official approval! • Patenting should be cost negative • This is already changing our clients' patenting strategy • Act as soon as possible! (at least arrange an audit)
  • 41. Key questions for you • Do you have patents for your products and processes? • Are your unpatented processes secret? • Will you be launching any new products? If so, should you seek patent protection? • Distributors - are you selling patented products?
  • 42. Key questions for your accountant • What do you know about patent box? • Do you know relief commences in 2013? • Have you the knowledge to make a claim? • I have a patent, how should I arrange my records to best claim relief ? • Does this affect my other tax strategies? • Should I speak to a specialist tax adviser?
  • 43. Any questions? Adrian Chettle achettle@withersrogers.com © 2012 Withers & Rogers
  • 44. © ® ™