The patent box regime was introduced on 1 April 2012 and offers companies a 10% tax rate on the profits arising from their patents. However, the EC have asked the Treasury to provide them with details of the scheme under concerns that it could represent an illegal state aid. It is not just the UK patent box regime that it being investigated by the EC. Other countries with similar regimes include Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Cyprus, Hungary and Malta have also been asked to provide further information. The EC are concerned as they believe that the main benefit is to highly mobile businesses and therefore, does not trigger significant additional research and development activity.

At this stage there is no indication that the regime will be removed or altered but this is a risk that companies that use the patent box reliefs should be aware of.