February 28, 2005
Excerpt from Practical US/Domestic Tax Strategies by Paul Dau, Paul Devinsky and Justin Hill (McDermott Will & Emery LLP)
Typical reasons for establishing intellectual property (IP) holding companies include (i) tax planning, (ii) protection in the event of insolvency, and (iii) administrative synergies, such as consolidation of legal costs. In reality the process of establishing and operating an IP holding company is far from trivial. By its very nature it brings together three complex legal fields, namely intellectual property, tax and insolvency.
Moreover, the considerations that apply are usually multi-jurisdictional and therefore inherently complex. Oftentimes, IP holding strategies turn out to be optimized with one or more of the above legal fields more in mind than the others. Failure to assess properly competing economic and legal considerations in these complex international scenarios can lead to failure to meet objectives and runaway costs.
In many cases, the holding company is a subsidiary within an international corporate group. Sometimes, although less often, the holding company is the parent company of the overall corporate group. Adoption of a suitable structure depends to a large extent on the headquarter jurisdiction, the mechanism by which the various synergies are anticipated to operate, and on the circumstances of the particular scenario.
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