Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

Patentable Tax Strategies?

Posted in General Commentary by Jake Ward on July 31, 2006

According to this article in Business Week, there are presently 41 business method patents related to tax strategies, and 61 applications pending. In particular, the article briefly describes that John Rowe, executive chairman at Aetna, was sued in U.S. District Court in New Haven for patent infringement by Wealth Transfer Group, a firm that obtained a patent on grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs) as a means of achieving substantial gift-tax savings.  The article further recommends strategies, e.g. written assurance and indemnity agreements, for protecting oneself from liability over creative tax-saving methods.

Although the article does not provide any in-depth analysis, I believe it does well in highlighting the concerns of allowing patents on business methods . . . and was a thought-provoking light read.  I recommend taking a look if you have a few minutes to spare.