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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.

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 […]

Tokyo District Court, judgment of November 24 2017

In this case 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 […]

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 […]

US vs. Amazon, March 2017, US Tax Court

Amazon is an online retailer that sells products through 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 […]

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

In this case 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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