From the Wall Street Journal.com:
Consumer and taxpayer organizations urged Congress on Wednesday to ban the patenting of tax strategies, saying they "pose a significant threat to American families and businesses."
U.S. law allows for the patenting of a system or method for reducing or deferring taxes. The number of tax-strategy patents has grown to 117 issued and 151 pending, according to a coalition of 18 taxpayer and consumer groups including the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the U.S. federation of state Public Interest Research Groups. The coalition said it fears an "even greater explosion in both applications and patents issued over the next several years."
Such patents may creating a monopoly for patent holders to determine who can and cannot take advantage of parts of the tax code, the groups said. Meanwhile, tax advisors, who are generally not patent experts, have the burden of being aware of such patents and face potential lawsuits for violating them.