Warning: Tax strategies are now being carved out as private property, patented through the U.S. Patent Office.The practice started with a trickle in 1998, and is now becoming a steady stream threatening to overflow its banks. How does this development affect the tax practitioner? Will a practitioner be subject to a patent infringement suit for using a particular technique that has been "making the rounds?" Should practitioners begin applying for patents on strategies that they have discovered in solving a particularly thorny problem for a client?

The problems surrounding the patenting of tax strategies have caught the eye of Congress. The Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures of the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing in mid-July to uncover and start addressing the issues relating to the patenting of tax advice.

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