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Grants for R&D – Grants for IP?

With the new Patent Box regime announced in the recent Budget coming into effect less than a year from now, the exploitation of Intellectual Property has been put firmly on the agenda for businesses with the capacity to innovate. The Patent Box will mean that eligible profits from worldwide sales of products protected by a granted UK or European patent will be taxed at only 10% from April 2013, compared to the standard 24% rate (or 20% if you qualify for the Small Profits Rate).

Filling the gap?

Ever since the demise of the Grant for Business Investment (which technically still exists but only for large exceptional projects and offshore wind equipment manufacturers), there has been a gaping hole in the provision of grant funding for “ordinary” businesses. By “ordinary businesses” I mean commercial businesses that don’t do technology R&D. However, a few new schemes have just appeared that go some way towards filling this gap.

Is the Grant for R&D being mis-managed?

On 16th November the Telegraph ran an article[1] stating that “Small businesses applying for a flagship innovation funding programme have seen their chances of success collapse following a decision to “front load” the distribution of grants”. The SME Innovation Alliance is quoted as saying that “this inconsistency and bar raising is unfair, unreasonable and is at odds with the UK’s need for innovation from its small companies”, while the TSB is reported to have explained that the front loading was done “to get the programme off to a strong start and avoid unused funds being returned to the Treasury.”