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Shanks v Unilever

In Shanks v Unilever [2019] UKSC 45 (23 October 2019) the Supreme Court found that Professor Shanks was entitled to a fair share of the benefit of patents derived from his invention calculated without taking corporation tax payable by his employer into account.

The appeal concerned an application made by Professor Shanks for compensation under the Patents Act 1977 s 40 on the basis that the patents for his invention had been of outstanding benefit to his employer Unilever UK and that he was entitled to a fair share of that benefit. The court found that the Shanks patents were of outstanding benefit to Unilever UK and that Professor Shanks was entitled to a fair share of that benefit amounting to £2m.

The appeal included a tax issue; whether in calculating the benefit which Unilever UK had received corporation tax on the profit which was attributable...

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