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HMRC internal manual

Capital Allowances Manual

Know-how: General: Definition

CAA01/S452 & ITTOIA/S192

Know-how is a type of intellectual property. It is industrial information or techniques likely to assist in:

  • the manufacture or processing of goods or materials, or
  • the working of a source of mineral deposits, or
  • the carrying out of any agricultural, forestry or fishing operations.


Mineral deposits include any natural deposits, including geothermal energy, capable of being lifted or extracted from the earth. A source of mineral deposits includes a mine, oil well or source of geothermal energy. Searching for, discovering or testing mineral deposits or obtaining access to them are working a source of mineral deposits.

The expression ‘industrial information or techniques’ is coloured by the words that follow - ‘likely to assist in the manufacture or processing of goods and materials’. This means that only information relevant to industrial or technical processes is within the definition of know-how.