Category: Intangibles – Goodwill Know-how Patents

In transfer pricing the word “intangible” is intended to address something which is not a physical asset or financial asset, which is capable of being owned or controlled for use in commercial activities, and whose use or transfer would be compensated had it occurred in a transaction between independent parties in comparable circumstances.

In discussions of transfer pricing various categories of intangibles are described and labels applied. Distinctions are sometimes made between trade intangibles and marketing intangibles, between “soft” intangibles and “hard” intangibles, between routine and non-routine intangibles, and between other classes and categories of intangibles.

Examples of intangibles are: Patents, Know-how and trade secrets, trademarks, trade names and brands, rights under contracts and government licences, licences and similar limited rights in intangibles, goodwill and ongoing concern value.

US vs Amazon, August 2019, US Court of Appeal Ninth Circut, Case No. 17-72922

US vs Amazon, August 2019, US Court of Appeal Ninth Circut, Case No. 17-72922

In the course of restructuring its European businesses in a way that would shift a substantial amount of income from U.S.-based entities to the European subsidiaries, appellee Amazon.com, Inc. entered into a cost sharing arrangement in which a holding company for the European subsidiaries made a “buy-in” payment for Amazon’s assets that met the regulatory definition of an “intangible.” See 26 U.S.C. § 482. Tax regulations required that the buy-in payment reflect the fair market value of Amazon’s pre-existing intangibles. After the Commissioner of Internal Revenue concluded that the buy-in payment had not been determined at arm’s length in accordance with the transfer pricing regulations, the Internal Revenue Service performed its own calculation, and Amazon filed a petition in the Tax Court challenging that valuation. At issue is the correct method for valuing the preexisting intangibles under the then-applicable transfer pricing regulations. The Commissioner sought ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs Crop Tax Advisors, June 2019, Court of the Northern Netherlands, Case No  200.192.332/01

Netherlands vs Crop Tax Advisors, June 2019, Court of the Northern Netherlands, Case No 200.192.332/01

The question at issue was whether a tax adviser at Crop BV had acted in accordance with the requirements of a reasonably competent and reasonably acting adviser when advising on the so-called royalty routing and its implementation and when giving advice on trading. Click here for translation NL royalty routing1 Share: ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs H Group, April 2019, Tax Tribunal, Case No. SKM2019.207

Denmark vs H Group, April 2019, Tax Tribunal, Case No. SKM2019.207

Intangibles had been transferred from a Danish subsidiary to a US parent under a written agreement. According to the agreement the Danish subsidiary – which had developed and used it’s own intangibles – would now have to pay royalties for the use of trademarks, know-how and patents owned by the US parent. The tax authorities had issued an assesment on the grounds that the majority of the Danish company’s intangibles had been transferred to the US parent. In the assesment the value of the intangibles had been calculated based on the price paid when the US group acquired the shares in the Danish company. H Group argued that the transferred intangibles no longer carried any value and that the Danish company now used intangibles owned by the US group. The Tax Tribunal found that tax authorities had been entitled to make an assessment as the transaction ... Continue to full case
Norway vs Normet Norway AS, March 2019, Borgarting Lagmannsrett, Case No 2017-202539

Norway vs Normet Norway AS, March 2019, Borgarting Lagmannsrett, Case No 2017-202539

In January 2013 the Swiss company Normet International Ltd acquired all the shares in the Norwegian company Dynamic Rock Support AS (now Normet Norway AS) for a price of NOK 78 million. In February 2013 all intangibles in Dynamic Rock Support AS was transfered to Normet International Ltd for a total sum of NOK 3.666.140. The Norwegian tax authorities issued an assessment where the arm’s length value of the intangibles was set at NOK 58.2 million. The Court of Appeal upheld the tax assessment issued by the tax authorities and rejected the appeal. Click here for translation Norway vs Normet 190319 Share: ... Continue to full case
Norway vs Cytec, March 2019, Borgarting Lagmannsrett, Case No 2017-90184

Norway vs Cytec, March 2019, Borgarting Lagmannsrett, Case No 2017-90184

The question in the case was whether Cytec Norway KS (now Allnex Norway A/S) had paid an arm’s length price for an intra-group transfer of intangible assets in 2010. Cytec Norway KS had set the price for the accquired intangibles at NOK 210 million and calculated tax depreciations on that basis. The Norwegian tax authorities found that no intangibles had actually been transferred. The tax Appeals Committee determined that intangibles had been transferred but only at a total value of NOK 45 million. The Court of appeal upheld the dicision of the Tax Appeals Committee, where the price for tax purposes was estimated at NOK 44.9 million. Click here for translation Norway vs Cytec 19 March 2019, Borgarting Lagmannsrett Case No 2017-90184 Share: ... Continue to full case
Blizzard Gaming involved in major Tranfer Pricing disputes

Blizzard Gaming involved in major Tranfer Pricing disputes

US Gaming Giant, Activision Blizzard Inc. – known for games such as World of Warcraft and Diablo – is and has been involved in several major transfer pricing disputes – with the US, French, UK, and Swedish tax authorities. In a 10Q filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission from November 2018 the following information was provided by the company on pending tax cases. “Activision Blizzard’s 2009 through 2016 tax years remain open to examination by certain major taxing jurisdictions to which we are subject. During February 2018, the Company was notified by the IRS that its tax returns for 2012 through 2016 tax years will be subject to examination. In September 2018, the IRS concluded its examination of our 2009 through 2011 tax years. The Company also has several state and non-U.S. audits pending, including the French audit discussed below. In addition, as ... Continue to full case
Tokyo District Court, judgment of November 24 2017

Tokyo District Court, judgment of November 24 2017

A Japanese company had entered into a series of controlled transactions with foreing group companies granting services and licences to use intangibles – know-how related to manufacturing and sales, training, and provided support by sending over technical experts. The company had used a CUP method to price these transactions based on select “internal comparables”. Tax authorities disagreed with the company and found that the residual profit split method should be applied to price the transactions. The court found the transactions should be aggregated and that the price should be determined for the full packaged deal – not separately for each transaction. The foreign related-party transactions were compared – as a whole – to the comparable transactions selected by the company and the court found that the product lines, how to use them and frequency of dispatching employees to support the foreing group company were not ... Continue to full case
France vs. Havas, July 2017, CE, No 400644

France vs. Havas, July 2017, CE, No 400644

The French Court considers that in the event of a transfer of shares, the goodwill recognized at the acquisition of the shares shall no longer be included in the balance sheet of the parent company. Share: ... Continue to full case
Israel vs. Gteko Ltd (Microsoft), June 2017, District Court

Israel vs. Gteko Ltd (Microsoft), June 2017, District Court

In November 2006 Microsoft Corp. purchased 100% of the shares of Gteko Ltd. (IT Support technology), for USD 90 million. The purchase was made with the intention of integrating Gteko’s technology into Microsoft’s own products. Following this purchase of Gteko Ltd., the employees were transferred to the local Microsoft subsidiary and a few months later another agreement was entered transferring Gteko’s intellectual property/intangibles to Microsoft. This transfer was priced at USD 26 million based on the purchase price allocation (PPA). The tax authorities of Israel found that the price of 26 mio USD used in the transaction was not at arm’s length. It was further argued, that the transaction was not only a transfer of some intangibles but rather a transfer of all assets owned by Gteko as a going concern to Microsoft Corp. The arm’s length price for the transfer was set at USD 80 million. The District Court agreed with the assessment. Israel-vs-Gteko-Microsoft-June-2017-District-Court-English-translation-of-ITAs-announcement ... Continue to full case
US vs. Amazon, March 2017, US Tax Court, Case No. 148 T.C. No 8

US vs. Amazon, March 2017, US Tax Court, Case No. 148 T.C. No 8

Amazon is an online retailer that sells products through Amazon.com and related websites. Amazon also sells third-party products for which it receives a commissions. In a series of transactions  in 2005 and 2006, Amazon US transferred intangibles to Amazon Europe, a newly established European HQ placed in Luxembourg. A Cost Sharing Arrangement (“CSA”), whereby Amazon US and Amazon Europe agreed to share costs of further research, development, and marketing in proportion to the benefits A License Agreement, whereby Amazon US granted Amazon Europe the right to Amazon US’s Technology IP An Assignment Agreement, whereby Amazon US granted Amazon Europe the right to Amazon US’s Marketing IP and Customer Lists. For these transfers Amazon Europe was required to make an upfront buy-in payment and annual payments according to the cost sharing arrangement for ongoing developments of the intangibles. In the valuation, Amazon had considered the intangibles to have ... Continue to full case
Denmark vs. Corp, March 2017, Tax Tribunal, SKM2017.187

Denmark vs. Corp, March 2017, Tax Tribunal, SKM2017.187

The Danish Tax administration had made an estimated assessment due to a insufficient TP documentation. In the assessment goodwill amortizations were included when comparing the operating income of the company to that of independent parties in a database survey. The Tax Tribunal found that the tax administration was not entitled to make an estimated assessment under Article 3B (3) of the current Tax Control Act. 8 (now paragraph 9) and section 5 3, where the TP documentation provided a sufficient basis for assessing whether prices and terms were in accordance with the arm’s length principle. According to the Tax Tribunal goodwill amortizations should not be included when comparing the operating income of the company to the operating income of independent parties in a database survey. Hence the assessment was reduced to DKK 0. The case has been appealed to the Danish National Court by the tax authorities ... Continue to full case
US vs. Medtronic Inc. June 2016, US Tax Court

US vs. Medtronic Inc. June 2016, US Tax Court

The IRS argued that Medtronic Inc failed to accurately account for the value of trade secrets and other intangibles owned by Medtronic Inc and used by Medtronic’s Puerto Rico manufacturing subsidiary in 2005 and 2006 when determening the royalty payments from the subsidiary. In 2016 the United States Tax Court found in favor of Medtronic, sustaining the use of the CUT method to analyze royalty payments. The Court also found that adjustments to the CUT were required. These included additional adjustments not initially applied by Medtronic Inc for know-how, profit potential and scope of product. The decision from the United States Tax Court has been appealed by the IRS in 2017. US-Memo-2016-112-Medtronic-v.-Commissioner Share: ... Continue to full case
US vs. Guidant Corporation. February 2016

US vs. Guidant Corporation. February 2016

The U.S. Tax Court held in favor of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, stating that neither Internal Revenue Code §482 nor the regulations thereunder require the Respondent to always determine the separate taxable income of each controlled taxpayer in a consolidated group contemporaneously with the making of the resulting adjustments. The Tax Court further held that §482 and the regulations thereunder allow the Respondent to aggregate one or more related transactions instead of making specific adjustments with respect to each type of transaction. US-vs.-Guidant-Corporation-and-Subsidiares-v.-Commissioner-of-Internal-Revenue Share: ... Continue to full case
Germany vs. License GmbH, January 2016, Supreme Tax Court, Case No I R 22 14

Germany vs. License GmbH, January 2016, Supreme Tax Court, Case No I R 22 14

The Supreme Tax Court has held that a parent company cannot be deemed to have earned income from allowing its Polish subsidiary to register locally in the group name. A German business was active in a field of patented technology associated with its own firm name, “B”. It allowed its Polish subsidiaries to register in that name, “B Sp.z.o.o.”, but made an appropriate charge for the use of the technology. It also did not authorise the Polish companies to use its logo, but left it up to them to design their own. The tax office maintained that the group name was a valuable intangible and demanded an income adjustment to reflect its use by foreign subsidiaries. However, the Supreme Tax Court has now confirmed its previous case law in holding that the mere use of the group name in the company registration of a subsidiary ... Continue to full case
Canada vs. Skechers USA Canada Inc. March 2015, Federal Court of Appeal

Canada vs. Skechers USA Canada Inc. March 2015, Federal Court of Appeal

In this case the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal in which the tribunal upheld seven decisions – one for each of the years 2005 through 2011 – of the Canada Border Services Agency under subsection 60(4) of Canada’s Customs Act. Skechers Canada, a subsidiary of Skechers USA, purchases footwear to sell in Canada from its parent at a price equal to the price paid by Skechers US to its manufacturers, the cost of shipping the foodware to the US and warehousing, and an arm’s length profit. Skechers Canada also makes payments to Skechers US pursuant to a cost sharing agreement to compensate the parent for activities associated with the development and maintenance of the Skechers brand and to the creation and sale of footwear. The Court ruled that CSA payments relating to research, design, and development (R&D) were “in respect of” the goods ... Continue to full case
India vs LG Electronics India Pvt Ltd, December 2014, ITA

India vs LG Electronics India Pvt Ltd, December 2014, ITA

LG India is a wholly owned subsidiary of LG Korea, a multinational manufacturer of electronic products and electrical appliances. LG Korea and LG India entered into a technical assistance and royalty agreement in 2001 where LG India, as a licensed manufacturer, would pay a 1% royalty to LG Korea for the use of various rights for the manufacture and sale of products in India. The agreement also gave LG India a royalty-free use of the LG brand name and trademarks. The tax tribunal in 2013 held that the advertising, marketing and promotion (AMP) expenditure in excess of the arm’s length range helps to promote the brand of the foreign associated enterprise and that the Indian associated enterprise should necessarily be compensated by the foreign one. In reaching the above conclusion, the special bench applied the “bright line” test used by a US Court in DHL Corp v Commissioner. The 2014 ... Continue to full case
India vs. Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.

India vs. Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.

Maruti Suzuki India manufactures and sells cars and spare parts. A license agreement had been entered with the group parent for use of licensed information and trademark for the manufacture and sale of the products. Hence, Maruti Suzuki paid royalties to the parent for trademark and technology. The tax administration made an adjustment where the royalty paid for use of the trademark was disallowed and where a reimbursement with mark-up for non-routine advertising, marketing and promotion of the brand name was imputed. The High Court, referred the case back to the tax administration with observations. If there is an agreement between the group parent and the taxpayer which carries an obligation on the taxpayer to use the trademark owned by the group parent. Such agreement should be accompanied either by an appropriate payment by the group parent or by a discount provided to the taxpayer. Appropriate payment should be made on account of benefit ... Continue to full case
US vs. Veritas Software Corporation, December 2009

US vs. Veritas Software Corporation, December 2009

The issue in the VERITAS case involved the calculation of the buy-in payment under VERITAS’ cost sharing arrangement with its Irish affiliate. VERITAS US assigned all of its existing European sales agreements to VERITAS Ireland. Similarly,VERITAS Ireland was given the rights to use the covered intangibles and to use VERITAS US’s trademarks, trade names and service marks in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and in Asia-Pacific and Japan. In return, VERITAS Ireland agreed to pay royalties to VERITAS US in exchange for the rights granted. The royalty payment included a prepayment amount (i.e. lump-sum payment) along with running royalties that were subject to revision to maintain an arm’s length rate. Thereafter, VERITAS Ireland began co-developing, manufacturing and selling VERITAS products in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa markets as well as in the Asia-Pacific and Japan markets. These improvements, along with the establishment of new ... Continue to full case
Norway vs. Cytec. September 2007, LRD 2007/1440

Norway vs. Cytec. September 2007, LRD 2007/1440

This case is about business restructuring and transfer of intangibles – customer portfolio, technology, trademarks and goodwill. Cytec Norge was originally a full-fledged manufacturer that was changed into a toll manufacturer. The customer portfolio, technology, trademarks and goodwill were transferred to the related entity, Cytec Netherlands, free of charge. The court found that Cytec Norge AS had held intangibles of considerable value prior to the business restructuring in 1999, and that the Norwegian entity should have received an arm’s-length remuneration for the transfer of these rights to the related Dutch entity. The court ruled that the Norwegian tax authorities’ calculation of such remuneration and the increased income was correct. An appeal to the Supreme Court was dismissed in 2008. Click here for translation Norway Cytec-dom Share: ... Continue to full case
Netherlands vs Shoe Corp, June 2007, District Court, Case nr. 05/1352, VSN June 2, 2007

Netherlands vs Shoe Corp, June 2007, District Court, Case nr. 05/1352, VSN June 2, 2007

This case is about a IP sale-and-license-back arrangement. The taxpayer acquired the shares in BV Z (holding). BV Z owns the shares in BV A and BV B (the three BVs form a fiscal unity under the CITA). BV A produces and sells shoes. In 1993, under a self-proclaimed protection clause, BV A sells the trademark of the shoes to BV C, which is also part of the fiscal unity. The protection clause was supposedly intended to protect the trademark in case of default of BV A. Taxpayer had created BV C prior to the sale of the trademark. In 1994, the taxpayer entered into a licensing agreement with BV C: the taxpayer pays NLG 2 to BV C per pair of shoes sold. Next, BV C is then moved to the Netherlands Antilles, which results in the end of the fiscal unity as of January ... Continue to full case
Loading...