Friday, November 14, 2014

Ireland's proposed Knowledge Development Box

The 2015 Budget speech by the Irish Minister for Finance mentioned that Ireland is taking steps to develop a "Knowledge Development Box" (KDB). Most people took this as meaning that it would be implemented in 2015. This is not exactly what the minister said.

As the word "box" implies, it is envisaged that there will be similarities with patent box regimes that have been implemented elsewhere.

Countries such as the UK, the Netherlands and Luxembourg have all implemented systems that give incentives to host IP-related activities in those countries. Many of these regimes are under examination by European authorities. Most observers believe that the current scrutiny will lead to modifications in the various European regimes.

Irish Government intentions

Intellectual property is important to Irish economic development and Irish policy makers have been observing the activities of competing jurisdictions. It would not make sense to roll out an Irish KDB before the deliberations are complete. However the Government has now signaled its intention to be ready when there is more international clarity.

The Minister gave a written response to an opposition question on this issue last week.

He also dealt with it in parliamentary questions, as outlined in this transcript. (Deputy Noonan is the Minister for Finance.)

Why call it something different?

While "Knowledge Development Box" is a bit of  mouthful, it is an interesting expansion on the concept of patent box. Clearly, there is a lot of creativity in Ireland in software and brand development. "Knowledge" is a broad catch-all term that could include IP such as patents, copyright and trademarks. Indeed, depending how deliberations progress, the definition of KDB could extend to other intangible assets such as know-how, trade secrets, designs and image rights.

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