Paul L. Caron

Thursday, July 13, 2006

House Holds Hearing Today on Patenting Tax Advice

House_6 The Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures of the House Ways & Means Committee holds a hearing today on Issues Relating to the Patenting of Tax Advice.  From the announcement of the hearing:

In recent years, patents for “business methods” have been issued by the Patent and Trademark Office. A number of patents have been issued for tax reduction strategies, particularly in the area of estate and gift taxation

In announcing the hearing, Chairman Camp stated, “This hearing is an opportunity to explore a relatively recent phenomenon. At first glance, it seems odd that anyone should be permitted to patent means of complying with federal law. While intellectual property experts rightly note that patents can help promote the development of new technologies and ideas, tax practitioners have expressed concerns about giving one person the ability to charge others for using relatively common structures. We also need to get a sense of whether patents may contribute to tax avoidance schemes which make the IRS’s job of blocking tax shelters more difficult in the long run.”

Here are the witnesses scheduled to testify:

  • James Toupin, General Counsel, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • Mark Everson, Commissioner, Internal Revenue Service
  • Richard S. Gruner, Professor of Law, Whittier Law School
  • Ellen Aprill, Associate Dean of Academic Programs, Professor of Law, and John E. Anderson Chair in Tax Law, Loyola-L.A. Law School (see Ellen's testimony here)
  • Dennis I. Belcher, Partner, McGuireWoods LLP, Richmond, Virginia

For more details, see:

The hearing will take place at 10:30 a.m. in B-318 Rayburn House Office Building.

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