Autumn Statement 2016

Following the Chancellor, Philip Hammond’s, first Autumn Statement yesterday, we take a look at some of the announcements likely to impact innovation and intellectual property in the UK.

Patent Box Rules

The government will publish draft legislation for the Finance Bill 2017 on Monday 5 December 2016 which will ‘add specific provisions’ to the Patent Box rules. These provisions will cover instances where Research and Development (R&D) is undertaken collaboratively by 2 or more companies under a ‘cost sharing arrangement’.

As stated on the website: “The provisions ensure that such companies are neither penalised nor able to gain an advantage under these rules by organising their R&D in this way.”

Any changes will come into effect for accounting period commencing on or after 1 April 2017. We will issue further updates on these changes as they are announced.

R&D Funding

The government recognises R&D as a ‘key driver of economic growth’ and will provide an additional £4.7 billion in R&D funding by 2020-21. This funding will be available via the ‘Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund’ – designed to stimulate collaboration between science, technology and business. The fund will cover a broad range of technologies which are yet to be confirmed.

Funding will also be available through the newly established UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) which will award funding on the basis of national excellence, as well as a ‘substantial increase in grant funding’ from Innovate UK.

A further £100 million will also be provided until 2020-21 to incentivise university collaboration in tech transfer and in working with business.

R&D Tax Environment

The government has committed to reviewing the tax environment for R&D “to make the UK an even more competitive place to do R&D”. The review will look at ways to build on the ‘above the line’ R&D tax credit which was introduced in 2013.

R&D tax credits are available to businesses who are attempting to achieve an advance in science and technology through the resolution of technological uncertainty. Success or failure is not considered relevant in determining whether R&D taking place and your innovation does not have to be groundbreaking or high-tech. If you aren't sure if you are taking advantage of these incentives, we recommend you speak to your tax advisor.

We will keep you updated on the introduction of any new schemes as they are announced.

To read the full Autumn Statement, click here.

If you have any further questions about these announcements, please get in touch with one of our attorneys.

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