In a vote that may have a wide-ranging effect on the accounting profession, House lawmakers voted 220-175 to overhaul patent rules and place a ban on tax-planning-method patents.HR 1908, the Patent Reform Act of 2007, primarily contains provisions that would make it harder to get patents and harder for companies to be sued for patent infringement. However, it also contains a provision that would protect accounting firms from lawsuits over tax-planning methods.

The bill defines a "tax-planning method" as a plan, strategy, technique or scheme designed to reduce, minimize or defer a taxpayer's tax liability. However, the bill did not include the use of tax preparation software or other tools used "to perform or model mathematical calculations or prepare tax or information returns."

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