In today’s competitive global market, innovation is key to economic growth. Governments around the world are keen to encourage research and development (R&D) within their borders. One such incentive is the Patent Box, a tax relief scheme designed to encourage companies to invest in innovation by offering a lower tax rate on profits earned from patented inventions. The UK introduced its Patent Box in 2013, and it has since become a crucial part of the tax landscape for innovative businesses. This article dives deep into Patent Box statistics and their impacts, answering the most pressing questions on this topic.

1. What is the UK Patent Box?

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

Specifically, this scheme reduces the tax rate to 10%, significantly lower than the standard corporation tax rate. Introduced in April 2013, the primary aim of the Patent Box is to incentivize companies to retain and commercialize their patents in the UK, thereby boosting the country’s innovation landscape.

By lowering the tax burden on profits derived from patented technology, the UK government hopes to encourage more businesses to develop and exploit patents, ultimately leading to increased investments in R&D and fostering a more dynamic and competitive economy.

The benefits of the scheme are seen in various sectors, including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and technology, where patents play a critical role in the business model.

2. How Many Companies Have Claimed Relief Under the UK Patent Box?

As of the tax year 2020-2021, 1,395 companies claimed relief under the UK Patent Box scheme. This number reflects a steady increase since the scheme’s introduction, indicating growing awareness and utilization among businesses.

The steady rise in the number of claimants can be attributed to the scheme’s attractive tax benefits, which help companies significantly reduce their tax liabilities on profits earned from patented inventions.

The growth in claims also underscores the increasing importance of intellectual property in the business strategies of companies across various sectors.

The scheme’s design allows not just large corporations but also small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to benefit, making it a widely accessible incentive for driving innovation.

3. What is the Total Value of Patent Box Claims?

In the 2020-2021 tax year, the total value of Patent Box claims was £1.22 billion. This substantial figure highlights the financial significance of the scheme for companies involved in innovation.

The value of these claims represents the tax savings companies can achieve, allowing them to reinvest these funds into further R&D activities or other growth initiatives.

The rising total value of claims over the years demonstrates the scheme’s effectiveness in encouraging companies to retain their patents in the UK and underscores the economic benefits of fostering a robust innovation ecosystem.

By providing a clear financial incentive, the Patent Box helps align corporate interests with national economic goals.

4. Which Sectors Benefit the Most from the Patent Box?

The manufacturing sector accounted for 21% of all Patent Box claims in the 2020-2021 tax year. Following closely, the information and communication sector represented 22%, and the professional, scientific, and technical sector made up 19% of claims.

These statistics indicate that the Patent Box scheme significantly benefits sectors heavily reliant on innovation and intellectual property.

Manufacturing companies, for instance, often invest heavily in developing new technologies and products, making them prime beneficiaries of the tax relief.

Similarly, the information and communication sector, with its rapid pace of technological advancement, and the scientific and technical sectors, which are foundational to various high-tech industries, find substantial value in the scheme.

The broad applicability across these key sectors underscores the scheme’s role in fostering a diverse and innovative industrial base.

5. What is the Regional Distribution of Patent Box Claims?

Companies registered in London accounted for 31% of the total amount of relief claimed under the Patent Box in 2020-2021.

The South East region followed with 18%, and the East of England represented 12% of the total relief. This regional distribution highlights the concentration of innovative activities and high-tech industries in these areas.

London, as the UK’s economic hub, naturally attracts a significant number of high-tech companies and startups, leading to a higher number of claims.

The South East and East of England are also known for their strong industrial bases and presence of research institutions, contributing to their substantial share of claims.

However, it is important to note that while the registered office locations indicate where companies are headquartered, the actual R&D activities might be spread across different regions, reflecting the integrated nature of modern businesses.

6. What is the Average Value of a Patent Box Claim?

The average value of a Patent Box claim in 2020-2021 was approximately £875,000. This average value provides insight into the significant tax savings that companies can achieve by leveraging the Patent Box scheme.

The considerable average claim value underscores the financial impact of the scheme, making it a powerful tool for companies looking to maximize their profits from patented technologies.

The high average value also indicates that the scheme is not only attractive to SMEs but also to larger corporations that generate substantial profits from their patents.

These savings can be redirected into further R&D investments, expanding the company’s innovation capabilities and fostering long-term growth.

7. How Does the Distribution of Patent Box Claims Look?

In the 2020-2021 tax year, 72% of claimants received support up to £50,000. This large proportion of smaller claims indicates that the scheme is widely used by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Despite this, 26% of the total relief was captured by claims in excess of £2 million, showing that a few large companies also benefit significantly from the scheme.

This distribution highlights the broad accessibility of the Patent Box, catering to both ends of the business spectrum.

SMEs can leverage the scheme to support their growth and innovation efforts, while large corporations can realize substantial tax savings on their significant patent-derived profits.

This inclusive approach ensures that the benefits of the Patent Box are felt across the economy, from small startups to established industry leaders.

8. What is the Total Cost of Patent Box Reliefs to the UK Exchequer?

The total cost of Patent Box reliefs to the UK Exchequer in the 2020-2021 tax year was £1.22 billion.

This cost reflects the government’s commitment to fostering innovation by providing substantial tax incentives for companies engaging in R&D and holding patents.

While the financial cost to the government is significant, the broader economic benefits, such as increased R&D activities, job creation, and enhanced global competitiveness, justify the expenditure.

The Patent Box scheme is part of a broader strategy to position the UK as a leading hub for innovation and technology development, attracting both domestic and international businesses to invest in the UK.

9. How Long Does It Take to Finalize Patent Box Claims?

Patent Box claims can take up to two years to finalize due to the submission period allowed by HMRC.

Companies have until two years after the end of the relevant accounting period to submit their claims, which means the final figures for any given year are often provisional and subject to revision.

This extended timeframe allows companies to accurately calculate their qualifying profits and ensure compliance with the scheme’s requirements.

How Long Does It Take to Finalize Patent Box Claims?

However, it also means that the final statistics for any given year can change as more claims are processed.

This process ensures that companies have ample time to take full advantage of the scheme while maintaining the integrity of the claims.

10. What is the Expected Trend for Patent Box Claims?

The number of Patent Box claims is expected to increase as more companies become aware of the scheme and its benefits.

Continuous government efforts to promote the scheme and educate businesses about its advantages are likely to drive further growth in claims.

Additionally, as companies increasingly recognize the financial benefits of retaining and commercializing their patents within the UK, the attractiveness of the Patent Box is expected to rise.

This anticipated growth aligns with broader trends in innovation and R&D, where intellectual property and patents play a critical role in maintaining competitive advantage and driving economic progress.

11. How Does the New Nexus Regime Affect Patent Box Claims?

The new nexus regime, introduced to better align tax benefits with economic substance, links the tax benefit to the level of R&D expenditure incurred to develop the IP.

This change ensures that the Patent Box benefits companies that genuinely engage in substantial R&D activities, making the tax relief more equitable and targeted.

Under the nexus approach, the amount of profit that can benefit from the reduced tax rate is proportionate to the R&D activities conducted by the company, ensuring a fair distribution of tax benefits.

This approach enhances the integrity of the scheme and ensures that only companies actively investing in R&D receive the full benefits of the Patent Box.

12. What is the Impact of the Streaming Methodology on Patent Box Claims?

The streaming of profits has become mandatory under the new Patent Box regime. This methodology requires companies to calculate patent box profits by allocating costs to patented income sub-streams.

This change aims to provide a more accurate reflection of the profits attributable to patents and ensure that the tax benefits align with the economic activities generating those profits.

By using a streaming methodology, companies can more precisely identify and allocate profits to specific patents, improving the accuracy of their claims and ensuring that the tax benefits are correctly attributed to the relevant R&D activities.

This method helps in aligning the Patent Box benefits more closely with the actual economic substance of the R&D investments.

13. How is the R&D Fraction Calculated in the New Patent Box Regime?

The R&D fraction applied to profit streams determines the portion of income eligible for the Patent Box tax rate.

This fraction is calculated based on the company’s R&D expenditure and ensures that only the portion of profits attributable to qualifying R&D activities benefits from the reduced tax rate.

The fraction takes into account various categories of R&D expenditure, including staff costs, subcontracted R&D, and acquisition costs of qualifying IP rights.

By linking the tax benefit to the level of R&D investment, the scheme ensures that companiesis genuinely investing in R&D receive the full benefits of the Patent Box.

The R&D fraction serves as a measure of the proportion of profits that can be attributed to qualifying R&D activities, ensuring that the tax benefits are aligned with the level of R&D investment.

14. How Do Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Benefit from the Patent Box?

SMEs are significant beneficiaries of the Patent Box scheme. The average size of each claim under the SME scheme is generally smaller than that under the RDEC scheme, but the cumulative impact is substantial.

In 2020-2021, SMEs accounted for a large proportion of the total number of claims, reflecting the scheme’s accessibility and attractiveness to smaller businesses.

The Patent Box provides SMEs with a valuable opportunity to reduce their tax liabilities on profits derived from patented inventions, allowing them to reinvest these savings into further R&D activities.

This financial support is crucial for SMEs, which often face resource constraints compared to larger corporations. By encouraging innovation at the grassroots level, the Patent Box helps foster a dynamic and competitive business environment.

15. What are the Future Prospects for the Patent Box Scheme?

The UK government aims to provide £22 billion of public funding for R&D per year by 2024-2025, underscoring its commitment to fostering innovation.

The Patent Box scheme is a crucial part of this strategy, and its continued evolution and adaptation are expected to enhance its effectiveness in driving R&D investment and economic growth.

Future prospects for the scheme include potential refinements to better align it with emerging technological trends and industry needs.

As the global innovation landscape evolves, the UK Patent Box is likely to play an increasingly important role in attracting and retaining cutting-edge R&D activities within the country.

By maintaining a competitive tax environment for patented technologies, the UK can continue to position itself as a global leader in innovation.

16. How Does the Patent Box Scheme Impact Corporate R&D Spending?

The Patent Box scheme has a significant impact on corporate R&D spending. By reducing the tax rate on profits from patented inventions to 10%, companies have a strong financial incentive to invest more in research and development.

This tax saving allows companies to allocate more resources to developing new technologies, products, and processes, fostering a culture of innovation.

The reinvestment of these savings into further R&D activities can lead to the creation of new patents, driving a cycle of continuous innovation and economic growth.

Additionally, the scheme can make the UK a more attractive destination for multinational companies to locate their R&D operations, further boosting the country’s innovation capacity and competitiveness on the global stage.

17. How Does the Patent Box Affect Large Corporations Compared to SMEs?

The Patent Box scheme benefits both large corporations and SMEs, but in different ways. Large corporations, which typically have extensive portfolios of patents and significant profits from patented products, can realize substantial tax savings.

These savings can be reinvested into large-scale R&D projects, enhancing their competitive edge.

For SMEs, the Patent Box provides a crucial financial lifeline that can help them overcome resource constraints and invest in innovation.

How Does the Patent Box Affect Large Corporations Compared to SMEs?

The scheme levels the playing field, allowing smaller companies to compete more effectively with larger firms.

The distribution of claims shows that while SMEs account for a large number of claims, large corporations capture a significant portion of the total relief, reflecting the higher profits generated by their patented technologies.

18. How Does the Patent Box Scheme Compare Internationally?

The UK Patent Box is one of several similar schemes worldwide, including those in countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain.

Each country’s scheme has its own unique features and tax rates, but the underlying principle remains the same: to encourage innovation by providing tax incentives on profits from patented inventions.

The UK’s 10% tax rate is competitive internationally, making it an attractive option for companies considering where to locate their R&D activities.

Comparing these schemes helps highlight the UK’s strategic position in the global innovation landscape, as the country’s comprehensive support for R&D through both direct funding and tax incentives like the Patent Box can attract significant investment from multinational companies.

19. What are the Compliance Requirements for the Patent Box Scheme?

To benefit from the Patent Box scheme, companies must meet several compliance requirements. First, they must hold qualifying patents granted by the UK Intellectual Property Office, the European Patent Office, or certain other EEA countries.

The company must also actively manage and exploit the patent, meaning it should be involved in significant activities related to the development, improvement, or commercialization of the patented invention.

Additionally, companies need to track and document their R&D expenditure and the income generated from their patents to calculate the qualifying profits accurately.

These compliance requirements ensure that only companies genuinely engaged in innovation and the active management of their intellectual property can benefit from the scheme.

20. How Does the Patent Box Scheme Impact Economic Growth?

The Patent Box scheme positively impacts economic growth by encouraging innovation, increasing R&D spending, and attracting high-tech industries to the UK.

By lowering the tax burden on profits from patented inventions, the scheme helps companies to allocate more resources to developing new technologies, leading to job creation and the development of high-value industries.

The increased R&D activities can also lead to technological advancements that boost productivity and competitiveness across various sectors.

Furthermore, the scheme can attract foreign direct investment, as multinational companies may choose to locate their R&D operations in the UK to take advantage of the tax benefits.

This influx of investment further stimulates economic growth and reinforces the UK’s position as a global innovation leader.

21. How Does the Patent Box Scheme Influence Patent Retention?

The Patent Box scheme encourages companies to retain their patents within the UK by providing significant tax benefits on profits derived from patented inventions.

This retention of patents ensures that the economic benefits of innovation, such as job creation and technological advancements, remain within the country.

Additionally, retaining patents domestically helps build a robust intellectual property ecosystem, fostering further innovation and collaboration among companies, research institutions, and universities.

By incentivizing patent retention, the Patent Box scheme helps maintain the UK’s competitive edge in the global innovation landscape and ensures that the country reaps the full economic rewards of its investments in R&D.

22. What Role Do Universities and Research Institutions Play in the Patent Box Scheme?

Universities and research institutions play a crucial role in the Patent Box scheme by driving the development of new technologies and contributing to the overall innovation ecosystem.

These institutions often collaborate with businesses on R&D projects, leading to the creation of patents that can benefit from the Patent Box tax relief.

The scheme encourages stronger partnerships between academia and industry, facilitating the commercialization of research and the transfer of knowledge and technology.

This collaboration not only helps universities and research institutions secure funding and resources but also ensures that cutting-edge research translates into practical applications that drive economic growth and competitiveness.

23. How Does the Patent Box Scheme Encourage High-Tech Startups?

The Patent Box scheme is particularly beneficial for high-tech startups, providing them with a significant financial incentive to develop and commercialize new technologies.

By reducing the tax rate on profits from patented inventions, the scheme helps startups maximize their profitability and reinvest savings into further R&D.

This financial support can be crucial for startups, which often operate with limited resources and face high costs associated with developing new products and entering the market.

Additionally, the prospect of benefiting from the Patent Box can make high-tech startups more attractive to investors, as it demonstrates a commitment to innovation and potential for long-term growth.

24. How Does the Patent Box Scheme Affect the Pharmaceutical Industry?

The pharmaceutical industry, which relies heavily on patents to protect its investments in drug development, is a major beneficiary of the Patent Box scheme.

The tax relief provided by the scheme allows pharmaceutical companies to reduce their tax liabilities on profits derived from patented drugs, freeing up resources for further R&D.

How Does the Patent Box Scheme Affect the Pharmaceutical Industry?

This support is crucial given the high costs and long timelines associated with bringing new drugs to market.

By lowering the financial barriers to innovation, the Patent Box scheme helps pharmaceutical companies to continue investing in the development of new treatments and therapies, ultimately benefiting public health and contributing to the advancement of medical science.

25. What Challenges Do Companies Face When Applying for the Patent Box Scheme?

While the Patent Box scheme offers substantial benefits, companies may face several challenges when applying for it.

One of the main challenges is accurately calculating the qualifying profits and the R&D fraction, which requires detailed tracking of R&D expenditure and income generated from patents.

Compliance with the scheme’s requirements can also be complex, as companies need to ensure that their patents meet the qualifying criteria and that they are actively managing and exploiting the patents.

Additionally, the application process involves significant documentation and administrative effort, which can be particularly burdensome for smaller companies with limited resources.

Despite these challenges, the financial benefits of the Patent Box scheme often outweigh the administrative costs, making it a worthwhile endeavor for many companies.

26. How Does the Patent Box Scheme Support Sustainable Innovation?

The Patent Box scheme supports sustainable innovation by encouraging companies to invest in long-term R&D projects that address critical societal challenges, such as climate change, healthcare, and clean energy.

By providing tax relief on profits from patented technologies, the scheme incentivizes companies to develop and commercialize solutions that contribute to sustainable development.

This focus on sustainable innovation helps drive the transition to a more sustainable economy, fostering the development of green technologies, renewable energy sources, and environmentally friendly products.

The Patent Box scheme’s support for sustainable innovation aligns with broader national and global goals of achieving sustainable development and reducing environmental impact.

27. How Do Policy Changes Impact the Patent Box Scheme?

Policy changes can have a significant impact on the Patent Box scheme, influencing its effectiveness and attractiveness to companies.

Changes in tax rates, qualifying criteria, and compliance requirements can alter the financial benefits of the scheme and affect companies’ decisions to invest in R&D and retain their patents within the UK.

Additionally, policy changes aimed at improving the scheme’s alignment with economic substance, such as the introduction of the nexus approach, can enhance its integrity and ensure that the benefits are directed towards genuine innovation activities.

Staying informed about policy changes and adapting to new requirements is crucial for companies to maximize the benefits of the Patent Box scheme and navigate its complexities effectively.

28. What Future Developments are Expected for the Patent Box Scheme?

Future developments for the Patent Box scheme are likely to focus on enhancing its effectiveness in promoting innovation and ensuring its alignment with emerging technological trends and industry needs.

Potential refinements may include adjustments to the qualifying criteria, tax rates, and compliance requirements to better reflect the evolving innovation landscape.

The UK government’s commitment to increasing public funding for R&D and fostering a competitive innovation environment suggests that the Patent Box scheme will continue to play a crucial role in driving economic growth.

Additionally, as global competition for innovation intensifies, the UK may introduce further enhancements to the scheme to maintain its attractiveness to multinational companies and support the country’s position as a global leader in innovation.

29. How Do Companies Measure the Success of Their Patent Box Claims?

Companies measure the success of their Patent Box claims by evaluating the financial benefits they receive in the form of reduced tax liabilities and the impact of these savings on their R&D activities and overall business growth.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) may include the total tax savings achieved, the increase in R&D investment, the number of new patents filed, and the commercial success of products derived from patented technologies.

By analyzing these metrics, companies can assess the effectiveness of their Patent Box claims and make informed decisions about future R&D investments and patenting strategies.

Successful utilization of the Patent Box scheme can enhance a company’s competitive advantage, drive innovation, and contribute to long-term growth and profitability.

30. How Can Companies Maximize the Benefits of the Patent Box Scheme?

To maximize the benefits of the Patent Box scheme, companies should adopt several best practices.

Firstly, they should ensure that they fully understand the qualifying criteria and compliance requirements, including the need to actively manage and exploit their patents.

This involves maintaining accurate records of R&D expenditures and income related to patented inventions.

Companies should also consider employing tax professionals who are experienced with Patent Box claims to navigate the complexities of the scheme and ensure that all eligible profits are included.


The Patent Box scheme in the UK is a powerful tool designed to foster innovation by providing significant tax incentives to companies that profit from patented inventions.

Through a comprehensive analysis of the scheme’s statistics and impacts, it’s evident that the Patent Box plays a crucial role in encouraging R&D activities, supporting both large corporations and SMEs, and enhancing the UK’s global competitiveness in innovation.

The scheme’s influence spans various sectors, with manufacturing, information and communication, and scientific fields being major beneficiaries.

The regional distribution of claims highlights the concentration of high-tech industries in areas like London, the South East, and the East of England.

Additionally, the financial benefits realized through the scheme are substantial, enabling companies to reinvest in further innovation and development.