Tag: Know-how

All undivulged technical information, whether or not capable of being patented, that is necessary for the industrial reproduction of a product or process, i.e. knowing how a product is made or how a particular process works. Payments for knowhow may be taxed as royalties in many cases. The distinction from contracts for the provision of services is addressed in the OECD Commentary to Article 12.

TPG2022 Chapter VI Annex I example 28

TPG2022 Chapter VI Annex I example 28

101. Company A is the Parent company of an MNE group with operations in country S. Company B is a member of the MNE group with operations in country T, and Company C is also a member of the MNE group with operations in country U. For valid business reasons the MNE group decides to centralise all of its intangibles related to business conducted outside of country S in a single location. Accordingly, intangibles owned by Company B are sold to Company C for a lump sum, including patents, trademarks, know-how, and customer relationships. At the same time, Company C retains Company B to act as a contract manufacturer of products previously produced and sold by Company B on a full-risk basis. Company C has the personnel and resources required to manage the acquired lines of business, including the further development of intangibles necessary to the Company B business. 102. The MNE group is unable to identify comparable uncontrolled transactions ... Read more
TPG2022 Chapter VI Annex I example 27

TPG2022 Chapter VI Annex I example 27

97. Company A is the Parent of an MNE group with operations in country X. Company A owns patents, trademarks and know-how with regard to several products produced and sold by the MNE group. Company B is a wholly owned subsidiary of Company A. All of Company B’s operations are conducted in country Y. Company B also owns patents, trademarks and know-how related to Product M. 98. For sound business reasons related to the coordination of the group’s patent protection and anti-counterfeiting activities, the MNE group decides to centralise ownership of its patents in Company A. Accordingly, Company B sells the Product M patents to Company A for a lump-sum price. Company A assumes responsibility to perform all ongoing functions and it assumes all risks related to the Product M patents following the sale. Based on a detailed comparability and functional analysis, the MNE group concludes that it is not able to identify any comparable uncontrolled transactions that can be ... Read more
TPG2022 Chapter VI Annex I example 24

TPG2022 Chapter VI Annex I example 24

86. Zhu is a company engaged in software development consulting. In the past Zhu has developed software supporting ATM transactions for client Bank A. In the process of doing so, Zhu created and retained an interest in proprietary copyrighted software code that is potentially suitable for use by other similarly situated banking clients, albeit with some revision and customisation. 87. Assume that Company S, an associated enterprise of Zhu, enters into a separate agreement to develop software supporting ATM operations for another bank, Bank B. Zhu agrees to support its associated enterprise by providing employees who worked on the Bank A engagement to work on Company S’s Bank B engagement. Those employees have access to software designs and know-how developed in the Bank A engagement, including proprietary software code. That code and the services of the Zhu employees are utilised by Company S in executing its Bank B engagement. Ultimately, Bank B is provided by Company S with a software ... Read more
TPG2022 Chapter VI Annex I example 19

TPG2022 Chapter VI Annex I example 19

67. Company P, a resident of country A conducts a retailing business, operating several department stores in country A. Over the years, Company P has developed special know-how and a unique marketing concept for the operation of its department stores. It is assumed that the know-how and unique marketing concept constitute intangibles within the meaning of Section A of Chapter VI. After years of successfully conducting business in country A, Company P establishes a new subsidiary, Company S, in country B. Company S opens and operates new department stores in country B, obtaining profit margins substantially higher than those of otherwise comparable retailers in country B. 68. A detailed functional analysis reveals that Company S uses in its operations in country B, the same know-how and unique marketing concept as the ones used by Company P in its operations in country A. Under these circumstances, the conduct of the parties reveals that a transaction has taken place consisting in the ... Read more
TPG2022 Chapter VI Annex I example 18

TPG2022 Chapter VI Annex I example 18

64. Primarni is organised in and conducts business in country A. Company S is an associated enterprise of Primarni. Company S is organised in and does business in country B. Primarni develops a patented invention and manufacturing know-how related to Product X. It obtains valid patents in all countries relevant to this example. Primarni and Company S enter into a written licence agreement pursuant to which Primarni grants Company S the right to use the Product X patents and know-how to manufacture and sell Product X in country B, while Primarni retains the patent and know-how rights to Product X throughout Asia, Africa, and in country A. 65. Assume Company S uses the patents and know-how to manufacture Product X in country B. It sells Product X to both independent and associated customers in country B. Additionally, it sells Product X to associated distribution entities based throughout Asia and Africa. The distribution entities resell the units of Product X to ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter VI paragraph 6.20

Know-how and trade secrets are proprietary information or knowledge that assist or improve a commercial activity, but that are not registered for protection in the manner of a patent or trademark. Know-how and trade secrets generally consist of undisclosed information of an industrial, commercial or scientific nature arising from previous experience, which has practical application in the operation of an enterprise. Know-how and trade secrets may relate to manufacturing, marketing, research and development, or any other commercial activity. The value of know-how and trade secrets is often dependent on the ability of the enterprise to preserve the confidentiality of the know-how or trade secret. In certain industries the disclosure of information necessary to obtain patent protection could assist competitors in developing alternative solutions. Accordingly, an enterprise may, for sound business reasons, choose not to register patentable know-how, which may nonetheless contribute substantially to the success of the enterprise. The confidential nature of know-how and trade secrets may be protected to ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.175

It should be noted, however, that in some situations, the transfer or secondment of one or more employees may, depending on the facts and circumstances, result in the transfer of valuable know-how or other intangibles from one associated enterprise to another. For example, an employee of Company A seconded to Company B may have knowledge of a secret formula owned by Company A and may make that secret formula available to Company B for use in its commercial operations. Similarly, employees of Company A seconded to Company B to assist with a factory start-up may make Company A manufacturing know-how available to Company B for use in its commercial operations. Where such a provision of know-how or other intangibles results from the transfer or secondment of employees, it should be separately analysed under the provisions of Chapter VI and an appropriate price should be paid for the right to use the intangibles ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.127

Differences in the specific characteristics of property or services often account, at least in part, for differences in their value in the open market. Therefore, comparisons of these features may be useful in delineating the transaction and in determining the comparability of controlled and uncontrolled transactions. Characteristics that may be important to consider include the following: in the case of transfers of tangible property, the physical features of the property, its quality and reliability, and the availability and volume of supply; in the case of the provision of services, the nature and extent of the services; and in the case of intangible property, the form of transaction (e.g. licensing or sale), the type of property (e.g. patent, trademark, or know-how), the duration and degree of protection, and the anticipated benefits from the use of the property. For further discussion of some of the specific features of intangibles that may prove important in a comparability analysis involving transfers of intangibles or ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.49

Where no written terms exist, the actual transaction would need to be deduced from the evidence of actual conduct provided by identifying the economically relevant characteristics of the transaction. In some circumstances the actual outcome of commercial or financial relations may not have been identified as a transaction by the MNE, but nevertheless may result in a transfer of material value, the terms of which would need to be deduced from the conduct of the parties. For example, technical assistance may have been granted, synergies may have been created through deliberate concerted action (as discussed in Section D.8), or know-how may have been provided through seconded employees or otherwise. These relations may not have been recognised by the MNE, may not be reflected in the pricing of other connected transactions, may not have been formalised in written contracts, and may not appear as entries in the accounting systems. Where the transaction has not been formalised, all aspects would need to ... Read more
France vs Bluestar Silicones France, Feb 2021, Supreme Administrative Court (CAA), Case No 16VE00352

France vs Bluestar Silicones France, Feb 2021, Supreme Administrative Court (CAA), Case No 16VE00352

Bluestar Silicones France (BSF), now Elkem Silicones France SAS (ESF), produces silicones and various products that it sells to other companies belonging to the Bluestar Silicones International group. The company was audited for the financial years 2007 – 2008 and an assessment was issued. According to the tax authorities, the selling prices of the silicone products had been below the arm’s length price and the company had refrained from invoicing of management exepences and cost of secondment of employees . In the course of the proceedings agreement had been reached on the pricing of products. Hence, in dispute before the court was the issue of lacking invoicing of management exepences and cost of secondment of employees for the benefit of the Chinese and Brazilian subsidiaries of the Group. According to the company there had been no hidden transfer of profits; its method of constructing the group’s prices has not changed and compliance with the arm’s length principle has been demonstrated ... Read more
Portugal vs "A-Contract Manufacturer LDA", December 2020, CAAD Tax Arbitration, Case No 808/2019-T

Portugal vs “A-Contract Manufacturer LDA”, December 2020, CAAD Tax Arbitration, Case No 808/2019-T

A-Contract Manufacturer LDA is an entity residing in Portugal, whose main activity is contract manufacturing of coffee machines and irons, as well as spare parts, tools etc. on behalf of its German parent B A.G. Following an audit, the tax authorities found that the results of A-Contract Manufacturer LDA had not been at arm’s length. An assessment of additional income was issued where the adjustment had been determined based on a benchmark study and use of statistical tools – interquartile range and median. Not satisfied with the assessment A-Contract Manufacturer LDA brought the case to the CAAD, a Portuguese arbitration tribunal. Decision of CAAD The CAAD decided in favour of the tax authorities and upheld the assessment. Excerpt “In sum, regarding the first claim of the Claimant that the arm’s length principle was violated, it appears that the Defendant did nothing more than, in compliance with the duty imposed by art. In short, as to the first claim of violation ... Read more
Denmark vs. Adecco A/S, June 2020, Supreme Court, Case No SKM2020.303.HR

Denmark vs. Adecco A/S, June 2020, Supreme Court, Case No SKM2020.303.HR

The question in this case was whether royalty payments from a loss making Danish subsidiary Adecco A/S (H1 A/S in the decision) to its Swiss parent company Adecco SA (G1 SA in the decision – an international provider of temporary and permanent employment services active throughout the entire range of sectors in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia – for use of trademarks and trade names, knowhow, international network intangibles, and business concept were deductible expenses for tax purposes or not. In  2013, the Danish tax authorities (SKAT) had amended Adecco A/S’s taxable income for the years 2006-2009 by a total of DKK 82 million. Adecco A/S submitted that the company’s royalty payments were operating expenses deductible under section 6 (a) of the State Tax Act and that it was entitled to tax deductions for royalty payments of 1.5% of the company’s turnover in the first half of 2006 and 2% up to and including 2009, as these ... Read more
Japan vs. "Metal Plating Corp", February 2020, Tokyo District Court, Case No 535 of Heisei 27 (2008)

Japan vs. “Metal Plating Corp”, February 2020, Tokyo District Court, Case No 535 of Heisei 27 (2008)

“Metal Plating Corp” is engaged in manufacturing and selling plating chemicals and had entered into a series of controlled transactions with foreign group companies granting licenses to use intangibles (know-how related to technology and sales) – and provided technical support services by sending over technical experts. The company had used a CUP method to price these transactions based on “internal comparables”. The tax authorities found that the amount of the consideration paid to “Metal Plating Corp” for the licenses and services had not been at arm’s length and issued an assessment where the residual profit split method was applied to determine the taxable profit for the fiscal years FY 2007-2012. “Metal Plating Corp” on its side held that it was inappropriate to use a residual profit split method and that there were errors in the calculations performed by the tax authorities. Judgement of the Court The Court dismissed the appeal of “Metal Plating Corp” and affirmed the assessment made by ... Read more
Denmark vs Adecco A/S, Oct 2019, High Court, Case No SKM2019.537.OLR

Denmark vs Adecco A/S, Oct 2019, High Court, Case No SKM2019.537.OLR

The question in this case was whether royalty payments from a loss making Danish subsidiary Adecco A/S (H1 A/S in the decision) to its Swiss parent company Adecco SA (G1 SA in the decision – an international provider of temporary and permanent employment services active throughout the entire range of sectors in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia – for use of trademarks and trade names, knowhow, international network intangibles, and business concept were deductible expenses for tax purposes or not. In  2013, the Danish tax authorities (SKAT) had amended Adecco A/S’s taxable income for the years 2006-2009 by a total of DKK 82 million. “Section 2 of the Tax Assessment Act. Paragraph 1 states that, when calculating the taxable income, group affiliates must apply prices and terms for commercial or economic transactions in accordance with what could have been agreed if the transactions had been concluded between independent parties. SKAT does not consider it in accordance with section ... Read more
France vs ST Dupont, March 2019, Administrative Court of Paris, No 1620873, 1705086/1-3

France vs ST Dupont, March 2019, Administrative Court of Paris, No 1620873, 1705086/1-3

ST Dupont is a French luxury manufacturer of lighters, pens and leather goods. It is majority-owned by the Dutch company, D&D International, which is wholly-owned by Broad Gain Investments Ltd, based in Hong Kong. ST Dupont is the sole shareholder of distribution subsidiaries located abroad, in particular ST Dupont Marketing, based in Hong Kong. Following an audit, an adjustment was issued for FY 2009, 2010 and 2011 where the tax administration considered that the prices at which ST Dupont sold its products to ST Dupont Marketing (Hong Kong) were lower than the arm’s length prices, that royalty rates had not been at arm’s length. Furthermore adjustments had been made to losses carried forward. Not satisfied with the adjustment ST Dupont filed an appeal with the Paris administrative Court. Judgement of the Administrative Court The Court set aside the tax assessment in regards to license payments and resulting adjustments to loss carry forward but upheld in regards of pricing of the ... Read more
US vs Medtronic, August 2018, U.S. Court of Appeals, Case No: 17-1866

US vs Medtronic, August 2018, U.S. Court of Appeals, Case No: 17-1866

The IRS was of the opinion, that Medtronic erred in allocating the profit earned from its devises and leads between its businesses located in the United States and its device manufacturer in Puerto Rico. To determine the arm’s length price for Medtronic’s intercompany licensing agreements the comparable profits method was therefor applied by the IRS, rather than the comparable uncontrolled transaction (CUT) method used by Medtronic. Medtronic brought the case to the Tax Court. The Tax Court applied its own valuation analysis and concluded that the Pacesetter agreement was the best CUT to calculate the arm’s length result for intangible property. This decision from the Tax Court was then appealed by the IRS to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeal found that the Tax Court’s factual findings were insufficient. The Tax Court failed to: address whether the circumstances of the Pacesetter settlement was comparable to the licensing agreements in this case, the degree of comparability of the contractual ... Read more
Japan vs C Uyemura & Co, Ltd, November 2017, Tokyo District Court, Case No. 267-141 (Order No. 13090)

Japan vs C Uyemura & Co, Ltd, November 2017, Tokyo District Court, Case No. 267-141 (Order No. 13090)

C Uyemura & Co, Ltd. is engaged in the business of manufacturing and selling plating chemicals and had entered into a series of controlled transactions with foreign group companies granting licenses to use intangibles (know-how related to technology and sales) – and provided technical support services by sending over technical experts. The company had used a CUP method to price these transactions based on “internal comparables”. The tax authorities found that the amount of the consideration paid to C Uyemura & Co, Ltd for the licenses and services had not been at arm’s length and issued an assessment where the residual profit split method was applied to determine the taxable profit for the fiscal years 2000 – 2004. C Uyemura & Co, Ltd disapproved of the assessment. The company held that it was inappropriate to use a residual profit split method and that there were errors in the calculations performed by the tax authorities. Judgement of the Court The Court ... Read more
TPG2017 Chapter VI Annex example 24

TPG2017 Chapter VI Annex example 24

86. Zhu is a company engaged in software development consulting. In the past Zhu has developed software supporting ATM transactions for client Bank A. In the process of doing so, Zhu created and retained an interest in proprietary copyrighted software code that is potentially suitable for use by other similarly situated banking clients, albeit with some revision and customisation. 87. Assume that Company S, an associated enterprise of Zhu, enters into a separate agreement to develop software supporting ATM operations for another bank, Bank B. Zhu agrees to support its associated enterprise by providing employees who worked on the Bank A engagement to work on Company S’s Bank B engagement. Those employees have access to software designs and know-how developed in the Bank A engagement, including proprietary software code. That code and the services of the Zhu employees are utilised by Company S in executing its Bank B engagement. Ultimately, Bank B is provided by Company S with a software ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter VI paragraph 6.20

Know-how and trade secrets are proprietary information or knowledge that assist or improve a commercial activity, but that are not registered for protection in the manner of a patent or trademark. Know-how and trade secrets generally consist of undisclosed information of an industrial, commercial or scientific nature arising from previous experience, which has practical application in the operation of an enterprise. Know-how and trade secrets may relate to manufacturing, marketing, research and development, or any other commercial activity. The value of know-how and trade secrets is often dependent on the ability of the enterprise to preserve the confidentiality of the know-how or trade secret. In certain industries the disclosure of information necessary to obtain patent protection could assist competitors in developing alternative solutions. Accordingly, an enterprise may, for sound business reasons, choose not to register patentable know-how, which may nonetheless contribute substantially to the success of the enterprise. The confidential nature of know-how and trade secrets may be protected to ... Read more

TPG2017 Chapter I paragraph 1.155

It should be noted, however, that in some situations, the transfer or secondment of one or more employees may, depending on the facts and circumstances, result in the transfer of valuable know-how or other intangibles from one associated enterprise to another. For example, an employee of Company A seconded to Company B may have knowledge of a secret formula owned by Company A and may make that secret formula available to Company B for use in its commercial operations. Similarly, employees of Company A seconded to Company B to assist with a factory start-up may make Company A manufacturing know-how available to Company B for use in its commercial operations. Where such a provision of know-how or other intangibles results from the transfer or secondment of employees, it should be separately analysed under the provisions of Chapter VI and an appropriate price should be paid for the right to use the intangibles ... Read more