21 May 2013

What could be done with the Bradford Odeon

Bradford Odeon in 1937 Source Wikipedia

The Bradford Odeon is a magnificent building set between the Alhambra Theatre and The National Media Museum in one of England's handsomest cities. Like much of that great city the Odeon has seen better days. It closed in 2000 and by at least one account it is in a terrible state of repair (see Will Kilner "Former Odeon 'unsafe' says survey", Bradford Telegraph & Argus, 29 Sept 2008. There have been calls to pull it down - even though there is already a massive derelict area of the city centre where a shopping centre was supposed to be - and the building has been saved largely by the efforts of BORG (Bradford Odeon Rescue Group), its allies and supporters.

Recently the burghers of Bradford enjoyed two bits of good news. First their football team won an important match at Wembley (BBC Sport 18 May 2013). Secondly, the local authority has acquired the Odeon for £1 (Rachel Covill "Odeon set to transfer to the Council" The Business Desk 1 May 2013). The question that now arises is what should be done with that magnificent building.

Here is my suggestion offered tentatively by an outsider albeit a good friend and neighbour of the city of Bradford. How about turning the building into an arts centre to celebrate the cultural diversity of your great city?  There is a model for such a centre in Tottenham (another community with a rich cultural diversity and a football club) namely the Bernie Grant Arts Centre.  

I visited the Centre last Saturday with a friend from Bradford who was already in London  for the football. I was there for to see Ballet Black as I greatly prefer ballet to the spectacle of 22 men and a ref chasing a ball around a field - a tedious exercise if ever there was one. You can see my review of the performance in "Why Ballet Black is Special" Terpsichore 20 May 2013.

Ballet Black performed in a very comfortable auditorium - by which I mean there was plenty of leg room - but there was much more to the Centre than that. There was a restaurant called the Blooming Scent, serving jollof rice from West Africa, jerk chicken from Jamaica and chips from London, whose proprietor, Gina Moffatt, has been honoured by the Prince of Wales and an enterprise centre with plenty of interesting local businesses. 

Now that I am spending a lot of time in London I hope to get to know the Centre and offer it my support in the way that I have supported entrepreneurs in Yorkshire with clinics, clubs, newsletters and blogs like this. But I shall never forget where I have come from.   If ever the transformation of the Odeon building - or any other Bradford business - needs the sort of help and advice I can offer I and my colleagues will be there for it.  And I now have lots of great colleagues to help me.  

If anyone wants to discuss this article call me on 0113 320 3232 or 01484 599090 or fill in my contact form. You can also follow me on Facebook, Linkedin, twitter or Xing.

15 May 2013

Patent Box and R & D Credits: Dan Brookes's Slides

Tax Relief for Innovation: Patent Box and R & D Credits Regime by Dan Brookes of BDO 

I introduced the patent box and our guest speaker in "Leeds Inventors Group: Patent Box and R & D Credits" 4 May 2013. Here are his slides.

We had a good meeting on 8 May 2013 and although we were a little low on inventors we had rather more accountants and lawyers in the audience.  We were particularly pleased to welcome Ros Beattie of Company Solutions and Jordi Farré Gasol of Barcelona who is currently working with Schofield Sweeney of Leeds.  Ros knows more than most about start-ups having been chair of Bmedia. She is now contributing her experience to the Business Enterprise Fund.

In the questions and answers session after the talk, I asked "what happens to the tax if a patent is revoked? Must the tax be repaid?  This was a question that I had raised in similar presentations at Daresbury and Liverpool the previous month.  Dan did not know the answer off the top of his head but he promised to look it up.   This is his reply:
"Vince and I have spoken about the query you addressed with us at our respective events in Liverpool and Leeds. The attached link to HMRC manuals appears to infer that HMRC take the view that there will be no retrospective clawback of patent box benefits where it is clear that the company has claimed on a patent that has been granted by a qualifying patent office, even in the situation that down the line events take place which means that sales of product are no longer covered by the patent. In this scenario benefits are denied going forward but there is no retrospective clawback of relief.
I hope this is helpful."
It is indeed helpful and my thanks to Dan and Vince Walker of the Manchester office of BDO for their trouble.

A lot of useful information on the patent box and tax law relating to IP generally can be obtained from Intellectual Property Tax which is edited by Anne Fairpo of Atlas Tax Chambers.  Atlas merged with 4-5 Gray's Inn Square just about the time I joined the set.  Anne is also one of the contributing editors to IP Finance

If anyone wants to discuss this article or IP or tax generally you can call us in Leeds on 0113 320 3232, Huddersfield on 01484 599090 or London on 020 7404 5252.   You can also contact us through our message form.

4 May 2013

Leeds Inventors Group: Patent Box and R & D Credits

The patent box is a tax concession to encourage businesses to invest in research and development in the UK which came into force on 1 April 2013.  As  one of the few sets of chambers with expertise in tax as well as intellectual property we have been touring the country with our good friends in BDO and Jackson & Canter.

We have already held one workshop on the patent box in Liverpool on 29 April 2013 at which Vince Walker and I gave talks. You can download our presentations from "The Patent Box Workshop: Liverpool Inventors Club" IP North West on 3 May 213.   

There will be a similar workshop at Leeds Inventors Group which will take place at Leeds Central Library, Calverley Street, Leeds, LS1 3AB on 8 May at 18:00.   My presentation will be very much the same as at Liverpool but the the main speaker will be Dan Brookes tax director of BDO's office in Leeds whose face appears above.

If you want to discuss the patent box or any aspect of patent law call us on  0113 320 3232, 01484 599090 or 020 7404 5252 or send a message through our contact form. You can also follow me on Facebook, Linkedin, twitter or Xing.