Calls to reinstate tax incentives

Reinstating tax incentives for research and development should be considered to help innovation, a Ministry of Economic Development report on intellectual property says.

The report, released to coincide with World Intellectual Property Day today, examined how the intellectual property (IP) system could encourage innovation and productivity in the economy, Commerce Minister Simon Power said.

A survey conducted as part of the report showed there was a similar level of IP awareness amongst New Zealand businesses and, relative to the United Kingdom, there was a high level of awareness of the need to apply for IP protection.

Innovative firms surveyed called for the reinstatement of tax incentives.

The research and development tax credit was introduced by the previous Labour government and was canned by the current government.

The reports recommendations said it "bears consideration" to reinstate the tax credit.

"Amongst firms that did license their technology internationally there was a significant problem with the tax treatment of royalties on IP.

"Any tax policy that has a negative effect on licensing of intangibles needs to be reviewed," the report said.

Consideration needed to be given to supporting innovative firms with monetary grants and other help, including international registration of IP, monitoring and enforcement of IP rights, the report said.

The report also recommended raising awareness and understanding of IP, having a single comprehensive government IP policy and further research into other areas of IP.

Mr Power said the Government recognised the role it must play to enable business and others to engage in innovation.

"New Zealand innovation has also contributed to world leading technological breakthroughs in a diverse range of fields from science to adventure tourism."

A special panel discussion between students and film, music and science mentors will be held in Wellington to celebrate World Intellectual Property Day, Mr Power said.