Advertising for Dummies: Understanding Robinson Knife Manufacturing Inc. v. Commissioner's Effect on Trademark Licensing and Advertising


This note identifies several problems created by the Tax Court’s holding in Robinson Knife Manufacturing Inc. v. Commissioner, and illustrates the dilemma with the current treatment of trademarks under the Internal Revenue Code.

In particular, this note analyzes: (1) the Robinson case; (2) the Code and Treasury Regulations; (3) and the history of trademark law.

It concludes that the government should strike the word “trademark” from Treasury Regulation section 1.263A-(1)(e)(3)(ii)(U), allowing a deduction for trademark royalties as advertising expenses, pursuant to section 162 of the Code and Revenue Ruling 92-80.

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