North East businesses need to close the 'innovation gap'

Firms within the region were granted 58 patents last year – the lowest number granted in any of the English regions

North East businesses need to take advantage of Government reliefs to boost hi-tech research if the region is to close the ‘innovation gap’ with the rest of the UK, an advisory firm has said.

Firms within the region were granted 58 patents last year – the lowest number granted in any of the English regions.

Business advisory firm Deloitte has said the region has made considerable progress since 2007 when just 33 patents were granted.

However, if they are to maintain progress, Deloitte urges North East companies to make the most of reliefs aimed at encouraging innovation.

A patent protects inventions and gives owners the ability to stop others from making or using the invention without permission, and the profits from patented products benefit from the Patent Box tax relief, which was introduced by the Government earlier this year in a bid to boost British innovation.

Deloitte says the Patent Box also encourages firms to locate high-value jobs associated with the development, manufacture and exploitation of patents in North East and the rest of the UK.

Stuart Cottee, head of tax at Deloitte in the North East, said: “The region is home to a cohort of innovative firms, and the number of patents filed in recent years suggests that the North East is developing an increasing number of high-value, innovative products that are the cornerstone of successful exports.

“The Government recently unveiled a raft of measure such as the Patent Box and the enhanced R&D tax credits to encourage firms to invest in research and innovation, creating an opportunity for the region’s firms to take another step towards closing the gap on other regions.”

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