Promoting innovation: why stop at patents ?
In 2011 Pfizer closed its research facility in Sandwich, Kent with the loss of 2,000 jobs. The UK Government's response was to introduce the patent box which effectively lowered the rate of corporation tax to 10% for those using patented inventions to make profit in the UK. No surprise then that the likes of ARM and GSK drank their fill from the patent box fountain.
Smaller businesses and those outside of the South East have generally not taken advantage of this incentive, even though an advantage over R&D tax relief is that it is unlimited.
In my view the patent box does not go far enough and it is still poorly understood by those outside of the large tech MNCs.
If we look left and right from the UK, The Netherlands and Ireland have focussed on the broader subject of innovation rather than just patents: they include trade secrets in the tax incentives as well as patents.
This is a more holistic approach designed to properly support the realities of developing an innovative business.
All inventions are effectively trade secrets until they are made public / patented.
One of the most innovative businesses I know kept everything as trade secrets for a decade before they were able to commercialise their invention and then they went public with patents.
Is it time for the UK Government to review the patent box and modernise to promote innovation more widely?
#patentbox #tradesecrets #rishisunak
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Author: John Pryor Exalt IP