IP and Patent-box Strategy
Your IP Strategy is derived directly from your business strategy and is of central importance to safeguard your innovation. Prior to the introduction of the Swiss tax reform, patent protection was used primarily in the three ways:
- Offensive patent protection
- Defensive patent protection
- Licensing of patents as a means for generating value
- With the introduction of the patent box, patents can now also be used strategically for tax purposes. Patents as a means of tax optimization needs to be included in your overall IP strategy.
- For optimal deductions, a patent box strategy should be developed which is aligned with the IP strategy. The patent box strategy should efficiently identify products or product groups currently protected with existing patents and, if not protected, specify new applications such that a tax benefit can be realized.
Qualifying Protective Rights
Both patents and comparable rights are suitable for the patent box. A national patent, for example a Swiss, German or American patent can be submitted. Furthermore, "petty patents", such as utility models or utility model certificates also qualify.
- The following are deemed comparable rights: supplementary protection certificates (SPC), protected topographies, protected plant varieties, protected remedies and protected agricultural reports.
- It should be noted, however, that only granted patents or registered utility models and certificates can be placed in the patent box, but not pending applications.
Thus results in different strategic considerations depending on your IP situation. If gaps are identified in your IP portfolio regarding the patent box, the filing of a Swiss patent application is to be preferred, as the Swiss patent application is not examined on its merits (novelty and inventive step), and therefore a quick grant can be achieved within about a one year. In contrast to examined patents, such as the European patent, the US, or the German patent, you can quickly benefit from tax deductions.
Any technical teaching can be protected in a patent, provided that it is new, inventive and industrially applicable. The term technical is to be understood in a broad sense. In addition to classical technical inventions from the fields of engineering, chemistry and biotechnology, software can also be protected as a so-called computer-implemented invention, contrary to widespread opinion.
How we can help
The Swiss tax reform and the new patent box are a rich opportunity. But in such new and unexplored territory it’s good to have an expert guide. Contact us to discuss your next move.