The last few weeks have seen a number of important announcements on copyright.
At the end of March the government announced the launch of the Copyright Hub, a forthcoming 'one-stop shop' for copyright information. Meanwhile, 1 April saw the introduction of new rules enabling businesses that exploit patents to potentially pay less tax.
So what are these changes, and how can you take advantage of them?
What is the Copyright Hub?
The Hub is the government's latest effort to increase awareness about copyright and patent law. The website, which was announced last week and which is now in the early stages of being built, will focus on three main problems:
1. Many people need help to navigate the complex world of copyright law
- It is sometimes difficult to determine who owns the rights to specific works
- As a result, it can be difficult to get a licence to use that material.
The Hub is being "designed and built by industry". The government hopes that it will become a "one-stop shop" for copyright. It will provide comprehensive information on copyright law - but crucially it will also act as a marketplace through which prospective licensees can make arrangement to use of copyrighted works legally.
What is the Patent Box?
If your company already makes money from the exploitation of patented inventions, you may be able to benefit from the Patent Box. This set of rules provides companies with a potential tax saving, but allowing them to apply a lower rate of Corporation Tax to profits earned from patented inventions.
The Patent Box scheme applies to profits earned after 1 April 2013, and is being gradually phased in from that date. From this date, according to HMRC, "the lower rate of Corporation Tax to be applied will be 10 per cent."
In order to benefit from the Patent Box you must either own or exclusively license-in patents. You must also have carried out "qualifying development", by contributing to either the creation or development of the invention in question, or to a product that incorporates that invention.
You can apply to use the Patent Box in your Company Tax Return, or separately in writing. There is no specific box to do this on the Tax Return, and it requires the application of a specific formula to your income. You can read more about this formula on the HMRC website. If you are in any doubt you should take professional advice.