Examples of advance in science or tech

To be successful, a company has to show that there is an advance in science or technology.


Some real life examples of successful claims by our clients:

  • research into trading algorithm to decide when & which shares to buy and sell
  • creation of an automated trading program
  • a new market research platform that operates faster and more efficiently compared to existing solutions and makes use of big data
  • location based contact routing for calls
  • mobile solutions to enable multi-channel customer service communication faster than previously and fewer queues
  • automation using chatbots using natural language processing and machine learning
  • developing a new payments system for a new industry with specific requirements that cannot be solved with existing solutions
  • overcoming user experience uncertainties based on understanding user psychology on how to motivate, trigger and reward certain desirable behavious, which was virtually impossible to predict at the outsight
  • trying to leverage multiple 3rd party SDKs and APIs in a new, untested manner and uncertainty over compatability on a large scale.

Case: BE Studios v Smith Williamson Ltd (the case number at the High Court is HC04C0110)

This was a case involving computer games. The industry involves a number of stages such as planning, script writing, drawing etc which wouldn’t necessarily involve qualifying R&&D by themselves.

Although the company provided a detailed description of their objectives, they didn’t show how this led to new scientific or technological knowledge and the Judge wasn’t satisfied that the R&D criteria had been met.

What if the technology already exists?

In paragraph 6 of the BIS Guidelines, there is a requirement which states that there must be an advancement in overall knowledge or capability. At first, many companies may feel that this doesn’t apply to them. However, as shown in paragraph 11:

“If a particular advance in science or technology has already been made or attempted but details are not readily available (for example, if it is a trade secret), work to achieve such an advance can still be an advance in science or technology.”

This means that technology may already exist privately, but if you are carrying out R&D for the purposes of unlocking a trade secret like this, then your project may still qualify for R&D tax relief.

As well as this, many software or R&D companies are deterred from claiming as they assume that only the biggest companies can claim for R&D if they are creating new technologies. However, if you have a new algorithm or piece of code which is not routine, then your project (or parts of it) may still qualify.