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HMRC internal manual

Capital Allowances Manual

Patents: General: Meaning of patent

The word patent is not defined in the tax legislation. The legislation covers patents granted anywhere in the world except where it specifically refers to a UK patent.

A patent consists of rights conferred by letters patent to the exclusive use and benefits of a particular invention. It will last for a specified period. The period for which a patent lasts is often referred to as the term of the patent.

A patent is a form of protection for an inventor. A person who wants to use an invention that has been patented must acquire rights to use the patent or be granted a licence to use it. This lets the inventor control the way in which the invention is used. Once a patent has been granted the inventor can get income by granting rights or a licence to use it.

Example Georgio invents a thermo nuclear pizza oven and patents it. If Frankie wants to use a thermo nuclear pizza oven in his restaurant he will have to pay Georgio for the right to use Georgio’s invention.