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Country experience: Germany: Charges for the use of intellectual property

14.358.        Germany collects all BOP-relevant service transactions via a cut-off survey directly from enterprises, public authorities and natural persons on a monthly basis. Therefore, a generic questionnaire must be used by respondents to submit all their service transactions to Deutsche Bundesbank, as long as the value of a single transaction is above the reporting threshold of €12,500. Thus, the collection of data on “charges for the use of intellectual property” builds only one block in the frame of the general approach. Instead of asking explicitly what kind of intellectual property has been used and charged for in the reporting period, respondents must report only a transaction code indicating for which licences payments have been made/received (use or reproduction). 

14.359.        The list of transaction codes for filling out the forms is part of the basic law on the collection of BOP data. However, as the list may not always be self-explanatory enough for respondents, Deutsche Bundesbank has published, in addition, an explanatory note on the code list. As for other BOP items, in the case of intellectual property, the note describes, in more than three pages and in an understandable way, what types of transactions should be reported under a specific code and explains the differences between codes. 

14.360.        From the following excerpt from the explanatory note, it can be seen that, at the beginning of the section on intellectual property, a small table summarizes all relevant codes falling under that category.[1] The structure of the table mainly follows the structure presented in table III.1, treatment of intellectual property, in chapter III, subparagraph 8, of MSITS 2010. Subsequently, for each category (licences, distribution rights and purchase/sale) a general definition of the category is given, followed by detailed remarks about and examples of transactions to be reported under the respective codes. All the codes are in line with the recommendations of MSITS 2010 and BPM6. 

14.361.        Currently the reports of the reporting agents are the only source used to compile the item “charges for the use of intellectual property”. Besides the transaction code, the respondent must provide for each transaction (credit and/or debit), the partner country and the amount paid. 

14.362.        The incoming reports are checked by staff members for plausibility and completeness, mainly by cross-checking them with the reports of former periods. In case of doubt about accuracy, declarants are contacted to clarify the transaction in question. In the event that an open request could not be answered in due time by the respondent, imputations are made at least for important reporters.[2] The monthly values for the total and each partner country are then calculated by aggregating the transaction codes belonging to the item “charges for the use of intellectual property” of all individual reports. Codes for transactions with intellectual property belonging to other EBOPS items, for example, use of software (code 613 in the table above), are separated automatically and assigned to the appropriate item, such as software services.


Back to B.6. Services related to intellectual property products

[1] It becomes obvious from the table that, under this section, not only codes belonging to the item “charges for the use of intellectual property” are listed, but also codes for transactions with intellectual property which have to be assigned to other Extended Balance of Payments Services Classification (EBOPS) items. This is done for practical reasons because respondents usually get confused if transactions in intellectual property are spread over various service items.

[2] Usually they are replaced by the confirmed or corrected transaction in the following month.