By Floyd Norris International Herald Tribune
As the American tax law gets more and more complicated, lawyers have come up with one more way to make life difficult for taxpayers: Now you may face a patent infringement suit if you use a tax strategy that someone else thought of first.
“I can’t even imagine what it will be like in 5 or 10 years,” said Dennis Drabkin, a tax lawyer with Jones Day in Dallas, “if anytime a lawyer or accountant gives tax advice, they have to find out if there is a patent on this.” He notes that researching patents, and then licensing them, would just make tax compliance more costly.
Drabkin is chairman of an American Bar Association task force on the issue. He said that at one conference where tax strategies were discussed, participants later got a letter warning that using one idea mentioned would be in violation of a patent. (more…)