We've written a few times about the rush to patent various tax strategies
. That, by itself, should be evidence enough of some of the problems with the patent system. However, rather than deal with those larger problems, it appears that our Congressional Representatives are trying to take the cheap way out: creating a special exemption that would exempt taxpayers and tax preparers from risking infringement
should they use any of these "patented" tax strategies. While this bill may be well-intentioned, like the attempt to allow banks to ignore
a questionable patent on check scanning, it's the wrong approach. Rather than dealing with the root causes of problems with the patent system, these bills look to paper over the manifestations of those problems. In the long run, such laws (if they become law) would only make the system worse. It's nice that Rep. Rick Boucher (who often is on the right side when it comes to intellectual property issues) recognizes that tax preparation patents are a problem -- but this isn't the way to solve them.