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WILLIAMS v. UNITED STATES

February 10, 1965

Melvin P. WILLIAMS and Carol J.A. Williams, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES of America, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LEVET

This is a suit for refund of $ 107.19 in income taxes paid for the year 1985 plus interest. The plaintiffs claim that $ 540 paid by the plaintiff Melvin P. Williams for tuition and fees to George Washington University Law School in 1958 was a deductible expense. Trial was held before the court without a jury.

The proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law and briefs of the parties having been received, the court, after considering the pleadings, evidence, exhibits and the stipulation of the parties, now makes and files herein its Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, separately stated.

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. Plaintiff Melvin P. Williams graduated from the Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Electrical Engineering in June, 1957.

 2. Prior to 1957, International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) hired both lawyers and non-lawyers to do patent work at its various offices and plants. In 1957, IBM decided that henceforth it would hire only members of the bar as "patent professionals" to handle its patent affairs.

 3. In 1957, in furtherance of this policy, IBM opened its Patent Training Center in Washington, D.C. in order to train such patent attorneys. For this purpose IBM recruited college graduates with degrees in engineering or science who could qualify for admission to law school. Except for the Patent Training Center, IBM conducted no other patent work in Washington, D.C. The sole purpose of the Training Center was to provide patent attorneys for IBM offices at locations other than Washington, D.C.

 4. IBM notified various colleges throughout the United States of this program to start on April 1, 1957 and invited applications from engineering or science seniors interested in patent law who wished "to take a permanent position in the IBM Patent Department * * * [and] be trained to write and prosecute patent applications with the opportunity to study law in evening classes at an accredited law school, in preparation for becoming members of the Bar and Registered Patent Attorneys."

 5. In June, 1957, plaintiff Melvin P. Williams accepted employment at IBM as a "patent trainee" in the aforesaid program for ultimate assignment to an IBM office as a "patent attorney" provided he fulfilled the requirements of IBM therefor as hereinafter stated.

 6. Thereafter, plaintiff Melvin P. Williams attended George Washington University Law School evenings from September, 1957 to June, 1961; during the day he was employed full-time as a "patent trainee" by IBM at its Patent Training Center in Washington, D.C.

 7. Plaintiff Melvin P. Williams as a "patent trainee" of IBM was required, with other such trainees, to --

 (1) attend evening law school;

 (2) maintain a degree status at such school;

 (3) secure a LL.B degree in a prescribed four-year period of study;

 (4) obtain admission to the bar; and

 (5) gain admission to practice before the Patent Office.

 A "patent trainee" who did not fulfill these requirements was subject to dismissal from the program and precluded from ...


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