Say That Again

by Mike Masnick

I'm Sorry, You Can't Use That Deduction: It's Patented

from the say-what? dept

It's no secret that we have some problems with the way the patent system is set up, especially when it comes to things like business method patents. However, sometimes a situation comes along that so perfectly explains the problems with these types of patents, there's just not much to add. John Bennett at Against Monopoly points us to a NY Times/International Herald Tribune piece that talks about the rise of patented tax strategies. Yes, certain financial firms are patenting their tax strategies, and then claiming no one else can use them to reduce their taxes. In one case, a financial firm has actually sued the chairman of Aetna for daring to use its strategy to reduce taxes. The IHT article claims that 50 tax reduction patents have been granted and many more are pending. A recent article in Fortune claimed that there are another 81 tax reduction patents pending. That Fortune article points out why this is patently ridiculous: "tax advice hinges on interpretations of the law and... the law should be available to everyone equally, without the need to pay a licensing fee." Not so in our wonderful world of patents.

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  1. identicon
    mousepaw, 22 Oct 2006 @ 6:07am

    Re: Brian's comment

    Another feather in your cap, from me. Brilliant.

    To address uniboy, It's not that easy to stand up and be one.

    I think it's fair to say that most men and women get into government positions to make a difference, at least that's how they get started. The thing is, once you get there you have to play the game or you'll be ousted or framed.

    In Canada, our three-party system has broken down to the same mud-slinging level. The platforms for our last election, for Prime Minister were based on: "he's going to do this and I'm going to stop him!" Brian was right when he said they have to keep the status quo. There is no one here to vote for and no party. They're all saying the same thing and even the original intention of the party, left, right or down the middle has meshed so well we can't tell the difference. Not to mention the number of people "crossing the floor."

    As for the tax issue, do the people that work for these tax firms have to sign over their rights to their ideas, formulas and/or systems? What gives the company the right to patent a program? Who really has ownership?

    It's the same as all the other current trends of how to make more money. We have to pay for everything, including information and the companies patenting the "tax programs" (I didn't know you could do that - thought it had to be a physical "thing" or "device") are culling money from a new source. And that's what we're all doing. All the things that used to be courtesies or "customer service" are now chargeable. I don't feel that it's right but hell, the banks have been getting away with it for years. It's insidious and by the time one recognizes that it's happening, it's too late to do anything about it.

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