New federal bill seeks to ban tax planning strategy patents

On May 21, 2009, Representatives Rick Boucher (D-Va) and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va) introduced introduced a bill that would ban patents that cover tax planning strategies.  The bill would amend Section 101 of the Patent Act to provide that a “tax planning method” is not patent-eligible subject matter.   Under the bill, a prohibited “tax planning method” is:

a plan, strategy, technique, or scheme that is designed to reduce, minimize, or defer, or has, when implemented, the effect of reducing, minimizing, or deferring, a taxpayer’s tax liability, but does not include the use of tax preparation software or other tools used solely to perform model mathematical calculations or prepare tax or information returns.

Similar bills were introduced into the House and Senate 2007 and 2008, but the prior bills never got very far.  H.R. 2584 differs from some of the prior bills in that the prior bills made tax patents unenforceable, while the new one would prevent them from being granted in the first place. 

P.S. : After a break from blogging due to a heavy business travel schedule, I have a lot of IP news to catch up with on the IP Spotlight blog.  I look forward to staying in touch with you and publishing several news items this week.

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