Tag: Trademark

Legally registered name, word, symbol or design which identifies the goods or services of a particular manufacturer, business or company.

Poland vs "Sport O.B. SA", March 2021, Provincial Administrative Court, Case No I SA/Rz 4/22

Poland vs “Sport O.B. SA”, March 2021, Provincial Administrative Court, Case No I SA/Rz 4/22

Following a business restructuring, rights in a trademark developed and used by O.B SA was transferred to a related party “A”. The newly established company A had no employees and all functions in the company was performed by O.B. SA. Anyhow, going forward O.B SA would now pay a license fee to A for using the trademark. The payments from O.B SA were the only source of income for “A” (apart from interest). According to the O.B. group placement of the trademark into a separate entity was motivated by a desire to increase recognition and creditworthiness of the group, which was a normal practice for business entities at the time. In 2014 and 2015 O.B. SA deducted license fees paid to A of PLN 6 647 596.19 and PLN 7 206 578.24 The tax authorities opened an audited of O.B. SA and determined that the license fees paid to A were excessive. To establish an arm’s length remuneration of A ... Read more
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 set aside the assessment of the tax authorities and decided in favor of X. According ... Read more
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 to a resident of the other State shall be taxable only in that other State”, ... Read more
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 to Temp. Treas. Reg. § 1.367(d)-1T,” we determine, in accordance with the parties’ stipulation, that ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter VI paragraph 6.23

The term “brand” is sometimes used interchangeably with the terms “trademark” and “trade name.” In other contexts a brand is thought of as a trademark or trade name imbued with social and commercial significance. A brand may, in fact, represent a combination of intangibles and/or other items, including among others, trademarks, trade names, customer relationships, reputational characteristics, and goodwill. It may sometimes be difficult or impossible to segregate or separately transfer the various items contributing to brand value. A brand may consist of a single intangible, or a collection of intangibles, within the meaning of Section A. 1 ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter VI paragraph 6.22

A trade name (often but not always the name of an enterprise) may have the same force of market penetration as a trademark and may indeed be registered in some specific form as a trademark. The trade names of certain MNEs may be readily recognised, and may be used in marketing a variety of goods and services. Trade names are intangibles within the meaning of Section A. 1 ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter VI paragraph 6.21

A trademark is a unique name, symbol, logo or picture that the owner may use to distinguish its products and services from those of other entities. Proprietary rights in trademarks are often confirmed through a registration system. The registered owner of a trademark may exclude others from using the trademark in a manner that would create confusion in the marketplace. A trademark registration may continue indefinitely if the trademark is continuously used and the registration appropriately renewed. Trademarks may be established for goods or services, and may apply to a single product or service, or to a line of products or services. Trademarks are perhaps most familiar at the consumer market level, but they are likely to be encountered at all market levels. Trademarks are intangibles within the meaning of Section A. 1 ... Read more

TPG2022 Chapter I paragraph 1.137

When evaluating whether a taxpayer was following a business strategy that temporarily decreased profits in return for higher long-run profits, several factors should be considered. Tax administrations should examine the conduct of the parties to determine if it is consistent with the purported business strategy. For example, if a manufacturer charges its associated distributor a below-market price as part of a market penetration strategy, the cost savings to the distributor may be reflected in the price charged to the distributor’s customers or in greater market penetration expenses incurred by the distributor. A market penetration strategy of an MNE group could be put in place either by the manufacturer or by the distributor acting separately from the manufacturer (and the resulting cost borne by either of them), or by both of them acting in a co-ordinated manner. Furthermore, unusually intensive marketing and advertising efforts would often accompany a market penetration or market share expansion strategy. Another factor to consider is whether ... 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
Denmark vs EAC Invest A/S, October 2021, High Court, Case No SKM2021.705.OLR

Denmark vs EAC Invest A/S, October 2021, High Court, Case No SKM2021.705.OLR

In 2019, the Danish parent company of the group, EAC Invest A/S, had been granted a ruling by the tax tribunal that, in the period 2008-2011, due to, inter alia, quite exceptional circumstances involving currency restrictions in Venezuela, the parent company should not be taxed on interest on a claim for unpaid royalties relating to trademarks covered by licensing agreements between the parent company and its then Venezuelan subsidiary, Plumrose Latinoamericana C.A. The Tax tribunal had also found that neither a payment of extraordinary dividends by the Venezuelan subsidiary to the Danish parent company in 2012 nor a restructuring of the group in 2013 could trigger a deferred taxation of royalties. The tax authorities appealed against the decisions to the High Court. Judgement of the High Court The High Court upheld the decisions of the tax tribunal with amended grounds and dismissed the claims of the tax authorities. Excerpts: Interest on unpaid royalty claim “The High Court agrees that, as ... Read more
Italy vs NEOPOST ITALIA s.r.l. (QUADIENT ITALY s.r.l.), September 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 25025/2021

Italy vs NEOPOST ITALIA s.r.l. (QUADIENT ITALY s.r.l.), September 2021, Supreme Court, Case No 25025/2021

Neopost Italia s.r.l. had paid service fees and royalties to its French parent. Following an audit, deductions for these intra-group transactions was adjusted by the tax authorities due to non compliance with the arm’s length principle and lack of documentation. However, for the purpose of determining an arm’s length remuneration a benchmark study had been performed by the tax authorities in which one of the comparables was not independent. The Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the tax authorities. Judgement of the Supreme Court The Supreme Court set aside the decision of the Court of Appeal and remanded the case to the court of first instance. In regards to the comparable company in the benchmark that was not independent, the Supreme Court found that: “it is entirely arbitrary, in comparing the two companies, to assert that the price charged by one of the two is the market price while the other is not”; this is a ruling that affects ... Read more
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 Ltd licensed the trademark to SAS SEPHIRA in return for royalty payments. In the books ... Read more
Norway vs New Wave Norway AS, March 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No LB-2020-10664

Norway vs New Wave Norway AS, March 2021, Court of Appeal, Case No LB-2020-10664

New Wave Norway AS is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swedish New Wave Group AB. The group operates in the wholesale market for sports and workwear and gift and promotional items. It owns trademark rights to several well-known brands. The sales companies – including New Wave Norway AS – pay a concept fee to New Wave Group AB, which passes on the fee to the concept-owning companies in the Group. All trademark rights owned by the group are located in a separate company, New Wave Group Licensing SA, domiciled in Switzerland. For the use of the trademarks, the sales companies pay royalties to this company. There is also a separate company that handles purchasing and negotiations with the Asian producers, New Wave Group SA, also based in Switzerland. For the purchasing services from this company, the sales companies pay a purchasing fee (“sourcing fee”). Both the payment of royalties and the purchase fee are further regulated in the group’s ... Read more
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 the years 2008 and 2009. The audit had shown that the licence fees were to ... 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
Uruguay vs Nestlé del Uruguay S.A., December 2019, Tribunal de lo Contencioso Administrativo, Case No 786/2019

Uruguay vs Nestlé del Uruguay S.A., December 2019, Tribunal de lo Contencioso Administrativo, Case No 786/2019

Nestlé del Uruguay S.A. had deducted royalty payments to its parent company located in Switzerland for the right to use certain local brands such as Águila, El Chaná, Vascolet, Bracafé and Copacabana. Royalties were calculated as 5% of sales, with the exception of payments for the Águila brand products, where royalties were calculated as 2% of sales. The tax administration (DGI) found that the royalty payments had not been at arm’s length. In defense of this position, it was argued that these local brands had been developed by Nestlé Uruguay itself, and then transferred to Nestlé Switzerland in 1999 for a sum of USD 1. Nestle Uruguay disagreed and argued that the tax administration was applying transfer pricing rules retroactively to a transaction concluded in 1999, when such rules did not yet exist. Judgement of the Court The Court considered that the Nestlé Uruguay should not pay 5% in royalties for the right to use trademarks it had developed itself ... 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
Malaysia vs Shell Timur Sdn Bhd, June 2019, High Court, Case No BA-25-81-12/2018

Malaysia vs Shell Timur Sdn Bhd, June 2019, High Court, Case No BA-25-81-12/2018

In FY 2005 Shell Timur Sdn Bhd in Malaysia had sold its economic rights in trademarks to a group company, Shell Brands International AG. The sum (RM257,200,000.00) had not been included in the taxable income, but had – according to Shell – been treated as a capital receipt which is not taxable. The tax authorities conducted a transfer pricing audit beginning in June 2015 and which was finalized in 2018. Following the audit an assessment was issued where the gain had been added to the taxable income of Shell Timur Sdn Bhd. According to the tax authorities they were allowed to issue the assessment after the statutory 5-year time-bar in cases of fraud, wilful default or negligence of a taxpayer. An application for leave was filed by Shell. Courts decision The Court dismissed the application. Excerpt “I am, by the doctrine of stare decisis, bound by these pronouncements of the Court of Appeal and Federal Court. Hence, it is crystal ... 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

TPG2017 Chapter VI paragraph 6.24

Government licences and concessions may be important to a particular business and can cover a wide range of business relationships. They may include, among others, a government grant of rights to exploit specific natural resources or public goods (e.g. a licence of bandwidth spectrum), or to carry on a specific business activity. Government licences and concessions are intangibles within the meaning of Section A. 1. However, government licences and concessions should be distinguished from company registration obligations that are preconditions for doing business in a particular jurisdiction. Such obligations are not intangibles within the meaning of Section A. 1 ... Read more
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