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IP Protection and the hidden Patent Box

An important update on potential tax relief for designers from the Superyacht UK Technical Seminar 2020…

At the 2020 edition of the Superyacht UK Technical Seminar, an array of topics were provided with a platform in order to benefit the industry by making those in attendance more aware of lesser-known trends, regulations and solutions available through the insight of the chosen speakers.

During the afternoon sessions, Russell Edson, Partner at Withers and Rogers, spoke about how and why there is a need more than ever to protect intellectual property further to the emerging trends and technologies in the superyacht industry and in peer industries.

The Patent Box enables companies to apply a lower rate of Corporation Tax to profits earned from its patented inventions...

Most pertinently, is the potential for designers to claim tax relief, should they have a patented product as part of the concept, thanks to the ‘Patent Box’, which champions innovation. The Patent Box enables companies to apply a lower rate of Corporation Tax to profits earned (since 1 April 2013) from its patented inventions, but only if your company is liable to Corporation Tax, makes a profit from exploiting patented inventions and owns or exclusively licenses-in the patents. “The profit that you make on that sale will be taxed as low as 10 per cent [in contrast to the standard 20 per cent]”, began Edson, which then outweighs the cost of patenting a part of your vessel.

The patent system is in place to protect innovations that solve day to day problems, Edson outlined, but can also be applied to design and aesthetic creations. Patenting can protect the overall design or subsections of it, and then when you’ve got different parts of design protected those can then be owned and licensed to different people. “This is when you need to review what you are giving exclusivity over, and provide clarity over who can use what and what can’t be reused,” Edson stressed.

“Explorer vessels have become of greater interest recently, and they have driven a need for innovation, for example, different hull forms for icebreaking and various technical innovations that are being driven in the commercial sector. As superyachts decide to go into these areas, commercial IP protected by other industries are going to become relevant” - Russell Edson, Partner at Withers and Rogers

“Explorer vessels have become of greater interest recently, and they have driven a need for innovation, for example, different hull forms for icebreaking and various technical innovations that are being driven in the commercial sector. As superyachts decide to go into these areas, commercial IP protected by other industries are going to become relevant”.

“From a sustainability viewpoint people are looking at more efficient power trends,” Edson continued, highlighting that a tidal wave of innovation is happening in this field, and there are many hybrid electric patent trends that the superyacht industry will need to be aware of.

In addition to this, having IP noted on your website can make you stand you out from your competitors, showing that you are innovative and IP-savvy, but is also a warning to anyone looking to copy your designs…

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