Property, intangible

a blog about ownership of intellectual property rights and its licensing

holding company

  • The Subsidiary Standing In

    Lately we’ve been seeing an increasing number of trademark cases that revolve around the relative rights of different members of the same enterprise: a family of companies asserting a family of marks theory in Wise F&I v. Allstate Ins. Co., different chapters of the Salvation Army allowed to register similar trademarks in In re The […] Continue reading

  • When Your Tax Strategy Is Inimical to Your Patent Strategy

    Don’t let the tax department screw up your patent infringement case. Or, when they do, I hope they saved more on taxes than you lost on the patent case.1 W.L. Gore & Assocs., Inc. v. C.R. Bard, Inc. is an example of what can happen. In 1983, Gore set up a patent holding company, Gore […] Continue reading

  • A Blessing in Disguise

    Whole Foods lost a New York tax decision to the tune of $3.5 million, but in my opinion that’s a small price to pay to avoid a decision inconsistent with ownership of the WHOLE FOODS trademarks. Whole Foods Market Group, Inc. (WFMG), a Delaware corporation, is the operating company that distributes and sells natural and […] Continue reading

  • Fifteen Years Later

    Almost 15 years ago I published an article about the then-common practice of creating a wholly-owned subsidiary to be an “IP holding company.” It was a tax strategy, where royalty payments, an expense to the parent, would be made to a subsidiary in a jurisdiction that didn’t tax the income on royalties. I don’t take […] Continue reading

  • Only Registrants Get Statutory Damages for Counterfeiting

    The modern corporate enterprise with specialized subsidiaries may have its benefits, but it can also cause some unintended consequences on the intellectual property front. I’ve previously reported on a Mars intra-company assignment of patents that created havoc in at least two suits. Now, oil company Shell has run into a wrinkle in a routine litigation […] Continue reading

  • Mowing Trademarks Down

    A recent New York case explores a trademark licensor’s tort liability for defective merchandise, but with a twist: the licensor is a wholly-owned trademark holding company. The biggest lesson from the case is “get the left hand talking to the right.” Here, a low-probability, ultimately unsuccessful defense in a tort case only succeeded in providing […] Continue reading

  • Combining Trademarks in a Jointly Owned Holdco

    The May-June 2008 Trademark Reporter has an article entitled “Combining Trademarks in a Jointly Owned IP Holding Company,” by Lanning Bryer and Matthew Asbell. It discusses the risks and advantages of using jointly-owned trademark holding companies for management of “combined” trademarks, i.e., where one trademark is used by unrelated entities (like Volvo) or the trademarks […] Continue reading