Many people employ an accountant or tax attorney to assist them with the paying of their taxes. Tax practitioners may utilize various tax strategies in determining how a taxpayer should allocate his money. These tax strategies fall into the category of business methods. It was widely held that patents could not be granted for methods of doing business; however, this changed in 1998 when the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the patentability of an investment structure in State Street Bank & Trust Company v. Signature Financial Group, Inc. More recently, in Wealth Transfer Group v. Rowe, the scenario of being sued for using a patented tax strategy was illustrated. The current state of patent law makes no mention of tax strategies; however, after analyzing the characteristics of tax strategies with the elements required for patentability, it is determined that tax strategies should not be patentable subject matter. This proposal suggests that the patent laws be amended, as they have been in the past, to remove tax strategies from being patent-eligible subject matter, a solution which lies in Congress’ hands.
Anish Parikh, The Proliferation of Tax Strategy Patents: Has Patenting Gone Too Far?, 7 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 202 (2007)