UK business patents fall behind ahead of incoming tax breaks

THE NUMBER of patent applications made by UK businesses stagnated in 2012, while the number from foreign companies rose 14 per cent, provoking warnings that the UK may fall behind by ignoring the incoming patent tax break.

A total of 15,370 applications were filed to the UK Intellectual Property Office from domestic companies in 2012, virtually no increase from the 2011 figure of 15,343. In contrast 7,865 applications were made by overseas businesses last year, an increase from 6,916 in 2011, according to data from law firm RPC.

The patent box tax relief announced in the chancellor’s 2011 Autumn Statement means that businesses can pay a reduced 10 per cent rate of corporation tax on profits from patents from 1 April.

“These figures show that foreign companies, which are unlikely to be able to benefit from the patent box, are being more proactive in registering their patents in Britain,” said Paul Joseph, intellectual property and technology partner at RPC. “The UK is in danger of falling behind.”