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.

France vs SA SACLA, October 2022, Conseil d'État, Case No. 457695 (ECLI:FR:CECHS:2022:457695.20221027)

France vs SA SACLA, October 2022, Conseil d’État, Case No. 457695 (ECLI:FR:CECHS:2022:457695.20221027)

SA SACLA, which trades in protective clothing and footwear as well as small equipment, was subject of a tax audit covering the FY 2007, 2008 and 2009. In a proposed assessment issued in December 2011, the tax authorities increased its taxable income on the basis of Article 57 of the General Tax Code, by considering that SACLA, by selling, a set of brands/trademarks held by it for EUR 90,000 to a Luxembourg company, Involvex, which benefited from a preferential tax regime, had carried out an indirect transfer of profits in the form of a reduction in the selling price. In a ruling of February 2020, the Lyon Administrative Court of Appeal, after dismissing the plea of irregularity in the judgment, decided that an expert would carry out an valuation to determine whether the sale price of the trademarks corresponded to their value. The valuation should ... Continue to full case
France vs Ferragamo France, June 2022, Administrative Court of Appeal (CAA), Case No 20PA03601

France vs Ferragamo France, June 2022, Administrative Court of Appeal (CAA), Case No 20PA03601

Ferragamo France, which was set up in 1992 and is wholly owned by the Dutch company Ferragamo International BV, which in turn is owned by the Italian company Salvatore Ferragamo Spa, carries on the business of retailing shoes, leather goods and luxury accessories and distributes, in shops in France, products under the ‘Salvatore Ferragamo’ brand, which is owned by the Italian parent company. An assessment had been issued to Ferragamo France in which the French tax authorities asserted that the French subsidiary had not been sufficiently remunerated for additional expenses and contributions to the value of the Ferragamo trademark. The French subsidiary had been remunerated on a gross margin basis, but had incurred losses in previous years and had indirect cost exceeding those of the selected comparable companies. In 2017 the Administrative Court decided in favour of Ferragamo and dismissed the assessment issued by the ... Continue to full case
Malaysia vs Keysight Technologies Malaysia, May 2022, High Court, Case No WA-144-03-2020

Malaysia vs Keysight Technologies Malaysia, May 2022, High Court, Case No WA-144-03-2020

Keysight Technologies Malaysia Sdn Bhd (KTM) was incorporated in 1998 and active as a full-fledged manufacturer of various microwave devices and test instruments in which capacity it had also developed valuable intangibles. In 2008, KTM was converted into a contract manufacturer under an agreement with Agilent Technologies International s.a.r.l. and at the same time KLM purportedly transferred its intangibles to Agilent Technologies. KTM received an amount of RM 821 million which it reported as non-taxable gains form sale of intangibles in its tax return. Following an audit the tax authorities issued a notice of assessment for FY 2008 where the sum of RM 821 million had been considered revenue in nature and thus taxable under Section 4(f) of the ITA. This resulted in a claim of RM 311 million together with a 45% penalty. According to the tax authorities the transfer of technical knowhow was ... Continue to full case
France vs SAS Oakley Holding, May 2022, CAA of Lyon, No 19LY03100

France vs SAS Oakley Holding, May 2022, CAA of Lyon, No 19LY03100

SNC Oakley Europe, a subsidiary of SAS Oakley Holding, which belonged to the American group Oakley Inc. until its takeover in 2007 by the Italian group Luxottica, carried on the business of distributing clothing, footwear, eyewear and accessories of the Oakley brand on European territory. Following the takeover SNC Oakley Europe in 2008 transferred its distribution activity on the French market to another French company, Luxottica France, and its distribution activity on the European market to companies incorporated in Ireland, Luxottica Trading and Finance and Oakley Icon, and deducted restructuring costs in an amount of EUR 15,544,267. The tax authorities qualified these costs as an advantage granted without consideration to its sister companies, constituting, on the one hand, an abnormal management act and, on the other hand, an indirect transfer of profits within the meaning of Article 57 of the General Tax Code on the ... Continue to full case
Israel vs Medingo Ltd, May 2022, District Court, Case No 53528-01-16

Israel vs Medingo Ltd, May 2022, District Court, Case No 53528-01-16

In April 2010 Roche pharmaceutical group acquired the entire share capital of the Israeli company, Medingo Ltd, for USD 160 million. About six months after the acquisition, Medingo was entered into 3 inter-group service agreements: a R&D services agreement, pursuant to which Medingo was to provide R&D services in exchange for cost + 5%. All developments under the agreement would be owned by Roche. a services agreement according to which Medingo was to provided marketing, administration, consultation and support services in exchange for cost + 5%. a manufacturing agreement, under which Medingo was to provide manufacturing and packaging services in exchange for cost + 5. A license agreement was also entered, according to which Roche could now manufacture, use, sell, exploit, continue development and sublicense to related parties the Medingo IP in exchange for 2% of the relevant net revenues. Finally, in 2013, Medingo’s operation ... Continue to full case
Sweden vs Swedish Match Intellectual Property AB, May 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No Mål: 5264--5267-20, 5269-20

Sweden vs Swedish Match Intellectual Property AB, May 2022, Supreme Administrative Court, Case No Mål: 5264–5267-20, 5269-20

At issue was whether the acquisition value of an inventory acquired from a related company should be adjusted on the basis of Swedish arm’s length provisions or alternatively tax avoidance provisions According to the arm’s length rule in Chapter 18, Section 11 of the Income Tax Act, the acquisition value is to be adjusted to a reasonable extent if the taxpayer or someone closely related to the taxpayer has taken steps to enable the taxpayer to obtain a higher acquisition value than appears reasonable and it can be assumed that this has been done in order to obtain an unjustified tax advantage for one of the taxpayer or someone closely related to the taxpayer. Company (A) acquired a trademark from another company (B) in the same group for a price corresponding to its market value and used the acquisition value as the basis for depreciation ... Continue to full case
Poland vs "X-TM" sp. z o.o., March 2022, Administrative Court, SA/PO 1058/21

Poland vs “X-TM” sp. z o.o., March 2022, Administrative Court, SA/PO 1058/21

On 30 November 2012, X sold its trademarks to subsidiary C which in turn sold the trademarks to subsidiary D. X and D then entered into a trademark license agreement according to which X would pay license fees to D. These license fees were deducted by X in its 2013 tax return. The tax authorities claimed that X had understated its taxabel income as the license fees paid by X to D for the use of trademarks were not related to obtaining or securing a source of revenue. The decision stated that in the light of the principles of logic and experience, the actions taken by the taxpayer made no sense and were not aimed at achieving the revenue in question, but instead at generating costs artificially – only for tax purposes. An appeal was filed by X. Judgement of the Administrative Court The court ... Continue to full case
India vs Synamedia Limited, February 2022, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal - BANGALORE, Case No ITA No. 3350/Bang/2018

India vs Synamedia Limited, February 2022, Income Tax Appellate Tribunal – BANGALORE, Case No ITA No. 3350/Bang/2018

Synamedia Ltd. provides open end-to-end digital technology services to digital pay television platform operators. The company has expertise in the area of providing conditional access system, interactive systems and other software solutions as well as integration and support services for digital pay TV networks. For FY 2014-15 the company filed a tax return with nil income. The case was selected for a transfer pricing audit. The tax authorities in India accepted the arm’s length pricing determined by Synamedia, but some of the intra-group licence payments for software were considered subject to withholding taxes in India. Hence an assessment was issued. An appeal was filed by the company. Judgement of the Tax Appellate Tribunal The Tribunal decided in favor of Synamedia Ltd. and set aside the assessment. After analyzing the terms of the agreement the Tribunal concluded that the terms of agreement in the present case ... Continue to full case
France vs IKEA, February 2022, CAA of Versailles, No 19VE03571

France vs IKEA, February 2022, CAA of Versailles, No 19VE03571

Ikea France (SNC MIF) had concluded a franchise agreement with Inter Ikea Systems BV (IIS BV) in the Netherlands by virtue of which it benefited, in particular, as a franchisee, from the right to operate the ‘Ikea Retail System’ (the Ikea concept), the ‘Ikea Food System’ (food sales) and the ‘Ikea Proprietary Rights’ (the Ikea trade mark) in its shops. In return, Ikea France paid Inter Ikea Systems BV a franchise fee equal to 3% of the amount of net sales made in France, which amounted to EUR 68,276,633 and EUR 72,415,329 for FY 2010 and 2011. These royalties were subject to the withholding tax provided for in the provisions of Article 182 B of the French General Tax Code, but under the terms of Article 12 of the Convention between France and the Netherlands: “1. Royalties arising in one of the States and paid ... Continue to full case
US vs TBL LICENSING LLC, January 2022, U.S. Tax Court, Case No. 158 T.C. No 1 (Docket No. 21146-15)

US vs TBL LICENSING LLC, January 2022, U.S. Tax Court, Case No. 158 T.C. No 1 (Docket No. 21146-15)

A restructuring that followed the acquisition of Timberland by VF Enterprises in 2011 resulted in an intra-group transfer of ownership to valuable intangibles to a Swiss corporation, TBL Investment Holdings. The IRS was of the opinion that gains from the transfer was taxable. Judgement of the US Tax Court The tax court upheld the assessment of the tax authorities. Excerpt: “we have concluded that petitioner’s constructive distribution to VF Enterprises of the TBL GmbH stock that petitioner constructively received in exchange for its intangible property was a “disposition” within the meaning of section 367(d)(2)(A)(ii)(II). We also conclude, for the reasons explained in this part IV, that no provision of the regulations allows petitioner to avoid the recognition of gain under that statutory provision.” “Because we do not “agree[] to reduce the adjustment to income for the trademarks based on a 20-year useful life limitation, pursuant ... Continue to full case
Austria vs "ACQ-Group", February 2022, Bundesfinanzgericht, Case No RV/7104702/2018

Austria vs “ACQ-Group”, February 2022, Bundesfinanzgericht, Case No RV/7104702/2018

“ACQ-Group” had acquired the shares in foreign subsidiaries and financed the acquisition partially by intra group loans. Furthermore, in the years following the acquisition, goodwill amortisations were deducted for tax purposes. The tax authorities issued an assessment where the interest rate on the loans had been reduced, and where costs related to external financing and amortisations of acquired goodwill had been denied. An appeal was filed by “ACQ”. Decision of the Federal Tax Court Before the judgment was delivered the appeal filed by “ACQ” in regards of the interest rate on the intra group loans was withdrawn. “***Firma*** Services GmbH pays interest of a non-variable 9% p.a. to the affiliated (grandparent) company ***6*** for an intercompany loan (“Intercompany Loan”). As stated in the statement of facts in the enclosure, the high difference between the intercompany loan interest rate and the arm’s length interest rate is ... Continue to full case
Sweden vs Flir Commercial Systems AB, January 2022, Administrative Court of Appeal, Case No 2434–2436-20

Sweden vs Flir Commercial Systems AB, January 2022, Administrative Court of Appeal, Case No 2434–2436-20

In 2012, Flir Commercial Systems AB sold intangible assets from a branch in Belgium and subsequently claimed a tax relief of more than SEK 2 billion in fictitious Belgian tax due to the sale. The Swedish Tax Agency decided not to allow relief for the Belgian “tax”, and issued a tax assessment where the relief of approximately SEK 2 billion was denied and a surcharge of approximately SEK 800 million was added. An appeal was filed with the Administrative Court, In March 2020 the Administrative Court concluded that the Swedish Tax Agency was correct in not allowing relief for the fictitious Belgian tax. In the opinion of the Administrative Court, the Double tax agreement prevents Belgium from taxing increases in the value of the assets from the time where the assets were owned in Sweden. Consequently, any fictitious tax cannot be credited in the Swedish ... Continue to full case
Greece vs "GSS Ltd.", December 2021, Tax Court, Case No 4450/2021

Greece vs “GSS Ltd.”, December 2021, Tax Court, Case No 4450/2021

An assessment was issued for FY 2017, whereby additional income tax was imposed on “GSS Ltd” in the amount of 843.344,38 €, plus a fine of 421.672,19 €, i.e. a total amount of 1.265.016,57 €. Various adjustments had been made and among them interest rates on intra group loans, royalty payments, management fees, and losses related to disposal of shares. Not satisfied with the assessment, an appeal was filed by “GSS Ltd.” Judgement of the Tax Court The court dismissed the appeal of “GSS Ltd.” and upheld the assessment of the tax authorities Excerpts “Because only a few days after the entry of the holdings in its books, it sold them at a price below the nominal value of the companies’ shares, which lacks commercial substance and is not consistent with normal business behaviour. Since it is hereby held that, by means of the specific ... Continue to full case
Switzerland vs A AG, September 2021, Administrative Court, Case No SB.2020.00011/12 and SB.2020.00014/15

Switzerland vs A AG, September 2021, Administrative Court, Case No SB.2020.00011/12 and SB.2020.00014/15

A AG, which was founded in 2000 by researchers from the University of Applied Sciences D, has as its object the development and distribution of …, in particular in the areas of ….. It had its registered office in Zurich until the transfer of its registered office to Zug in 2021. By contract dated 16 June 2011, it was taken over by Group E, Country Q, or by an acquisition company founded by it for this purpose, for a share purchase price of EUR …. On the same day, it concluded two contracts with E-Schweiz AG, which was in the process of being founded (entered in the Commercial Register on 7 September 2011), in which it undertook to provide general and administrative services on the one hand and research and development on the other. As of 30 September 2011, A AG sold all ”Intellectual Property ... Continue to full case
France vs SA SACLA, August 2021, CAA of Lyon, Case No. 17LY04170

France vs SA SACLA, August 2021, CAA of Lyon, Case No. 17LY04170

SA SACLA, which trades in protective clothing and footwear, as well as small equipment, was the subject of an tax audit covering the FY 2007, 2008 and 2009. In a proposed assessment issued in December 2011, the tax authorities increased its taxable income, on the basis of Article 57 of the General Tax Code, by considering that SACLA, by selling, a set of brands held by it for EUR 90,000 to a Luxembourg company, Involvex, which benefited from a preferential tax regime, had carried out an indirect transfer of profits in the context of a reduction in the selling price. In a ruling of February 2020, the Lyon Administrative Court of Appeal, after dismissing the plea of irregularity in the judgment, decided that an expert would carry out an valuation to determine whether the sale price of the trademarks corresponded to their value. The valuation ... Continue to full case
Israel vs Sephira & Offek Ltd and Israel Daniel Amram, August 2021, Jerusalem District Court, Case No 2995-03-17

Israel vs Sephira & Offek Ltd and Israel Daniel Amram, August 2021, Jerusalem District Court, Case No 2995-03-17

While living in France, Israel Daniel Amram (IDA) devised an idea for the development of a unique and efficient computerized interface that would link insurance companies and physicians and facilitate financial accounting between medical service providers and patients. IDA registered the trademark “SEPHIRA” and formed a company in France under the name SAS SEPHIRA . IDA then moved to Israel and formed Sephira & Offek Ltd. Going forward the company in Israel would provid R&D services to SAS SEPHIRA in France. All of the taxable profits in Israel was labled as “R&D income” which is taxed at a lower rate in Israel. Later IDA’s rights in the trademark was sold to Sephira & Offek Ltd in return for €8.4m. Due to IDA’s status as a “new Immigrant” in Israel profits from the sale was tax exempt. Following the acquisition of the trademark, Sephira & Offek ... Continue to full case
Belgium vs "Uniclick B.V.", June 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No 2016/AR/455

Belgium vs “Uniclick B.V.”, June 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No 2016/AR/455

“Uniclick B.V.” had performed all the important DEMPE functions with regard to intangible assets as well as managing all risks related to development activities without being remunerated for this. Royalty-income related to the activities had instead been received by a foreign group company incorporated in Ireland and with its place of management in Luxembourg. In 2012, the administration sent notices of amendment to the tax return to the respondent for assessment years 2006 and 2010. The tax administration stated that “Uniclick B.V.”, through its director B.T. and employees M.C. and S.M., invented and developed the Uniclic technology in 1996 and continued to exploit it, and that the subsequent transfer of rights to the Uniclic invention to U.B. BV was simulated. The administration added the profits foregone annually by the “Uniclick B.V.”, i.e. the royalties received by F. from third party licensees less the costs borne ... Continue to full case
Portugal vs "B Restructuring LDA", February 2021, CAAD, Case No 255/2020-T

Portugal vs “B Restructuring LDA”, February 2021, CAAD, Case No 255/2020-T

B Restructuring LDA was a distributor within the E group. During FY 2014-2016 a number of manufacturing entities within the group terminated distribution agreements with B Restructuring LDA and subsequently entered into new Distribution Agreements, under similar terms, with another company of the group C. These events were directed by the Group’s parent company, E. The tax authorities was of the opinion, that if these transaction had been carried out in a free market, B would have received compensation for the loss of intangible assets – the customer portfolio and the business and market knowledge (know-how) inherent to the functions performed by B. In other words, these assets had been transferred from B to C. The tax authorities performed a valuation of the intangibles and issued an assessment of additional taxable income resulting from the transaction. E Group disagreed with the assessment as, according to ... Continue to full case
Italy vs Vibac S.p.A., January 2021, Corte di Cassazione, Case No 1232/2021

Italy vs Vibac S.p.A., January 2021, Corte di Cassazione, Case No 1232/2021

Transactions had taken place between Vibac S.p.A. and related foreign group companies related to use of trademarks and royalty/license payments. It was up to the Vibac S.p.A. to demonstrate that the remuneration received from related companies for use of the trademark of the products had been at arm’s length. According to the company the royalty had been set at a low price to ensure that the foreign subsidiaries were more competitive. An upward adjustment was issued by the tax authorities rejecting the taxpayer’s argument that the below market royalty was explained by the need to enable its foreign subsidiary to penetrate more effectively the US market. The tax authorities argued that such a strategy could only be justifiable in a limited period. The tax authorities determined the arm’s length royalty payment by application of the Resale Price Method (RPM). However, due to the uniqueness of ... Continue to full case
Austria vs S GmbH, November 2020, Verwaltungsgerichtshof, Case No Ra 2019/15/0162-3

Austria vs S GmbH, November 2020, Verwaltungsgerichtshof, Case No Ra 2019/15/0162-3

S GmbH was an Austrian trading company of a group. In the course of business restructuring, the real estate division of the Austrian-based company was initially separated from the “trading operations/brands” division on the demerger date of 31 March 2007. The trademark rights remained with the previous trading company, which was the parent company of the group, now M GmbH. On 25 September 2007, M GmbH transferred all trademark rights to a permanent establishment in Malta, which was set up in the same year, to which it also moved its place of management on 15 January 2008. Licence agreements were concluded between S GmbH and M GmbH, which entitle S GmbH to use the trademarks of M GmbH for advertising and marketing measures in connection with its business operations in return for a (turnover-dependent) licence fee. The tax authorities (re)assessed the corporate income tax for ... Continue to full case
Loading...