Monday, September 10, 2007

DEATH TO PATENTS

One of the more ridiculous notions out there is that tax planning techniques can be patented. Whether they can be patented as a legal matter is presently a disputed issue - the layman has to wonder, however, how someone can "own" a series of financial, trust, or asset transactions that are designed to achieve tax benefits. The uncertainty hasn't stopped some attorneys and other professionals from seeking patent protection for techniques they claim to have invented.

A measure of sanity may soon be arriving. Last week, the House of Representatives enacted legislation that, at least on a prospective basis, declares that tax planning techniques cannot be patented. Hopefully, this will pass into law.

The current version of the law does not disturb prior patents - although it does say that it should not be interpreted as to validate prior tax planning patents.

H.R.1908, the Patent Reform Act of 2007
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