Panorama on Patent Box

Published: Thursday 3 October 2013

The BBC’s recent Panorama programme, on tax avoidance and government tax policy, was highly critical of the new Patent Box, which was portrayed as a relief for large multi-national companies and of limited benefit to smaller companies.

In our view, these criticisms are unjustified.  Hazlewoods’ Innovation team have been following the development of this new relief closely and have discussed it with numerous small and medium-sized companies who are potential claimants.  From these discussions, it is clear that the Patent Box has the potential to save substantial amounts of tax for many small and medium-sized innovative companies.

Clearly some companies will need to revisit their strategy regarding patents in order to be eligible for the new tax incentive.  Hitherto, it has not been uncommon for small and medium-sized companies to view patenting as a relatively expensive exercise, possibly with little value, if they do not have the resources to enforce the patent rights.  The Patent Box may change that perspective; indeed it is the political intention that it should do so.  While the services of a patent attorney may cost several thousand pounds, in many cases it is expected that these costs will be recovered by the first one or two years of Patent Box tax savings.  Given that the Patent Box savings could potentially continue for the entire life of the patent, the ‘cost vs. benefit’ analysis may be very favourable.

In conclusion, it is a shame that the Panorama programme gave the impression that this valuable government initiative is aimed only at ‘big business’ as this could potentially discourage innovative smaller companies from investigating whether it could provide substantial benefits for them.  If you are unsure if the Patent Box would be worthwhile for your business, please give us a call on our recently launched Patent Box helpline or send an email to our Patent Box specialist, David Clift at

Patent Box Helpline

The Hazlewoods Innovation Team has launched a dedicated Patent Box Helpline. The helpline for patent attorneys, intellectual property lawyers, their clients and other innovative businesses, offers guidance on the new Patent Box rules and also R&D tax relief and credits for just the cost of the call.

The number to call is 01452 634812.