Property division in your divorce is a sensitive topic that often gets more complicated the longer you and your spouse build your lives around each other. This might mean big savings on what was once your dream home, retirement accounts for your golden years or even intellectual property created during the marriage.
IP assets include anything from works of art done by you or your spouse to industrial designs as part of a family business. Knowing how courts evaluate those assets and divide them between you and your spouse in a divorce may help clarify what to expect.
How do the courts value IP assets?
Since IP assets are intangible, it makes it harder to declare a true value for them. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization, valuing IP assets comes down to comparison. IP assets that already generate income provide helpful precedence in guessing at future gains. Other IP assets may have similar assets in the market to compare.
Why is it important to protect IP assets?
The value of your IP, whether it is a matter of artistic rights or business security, comes down to who has the ability to exclude competitors from using it. In the case of dividing a family business, that competition might now include your spouse. If you both have the rights to use certain trade secrets in post-marital business situations, that might affect that IP’s overall value.
When it comes time to divide these assets between you and your spouse, it is important to investigate your unique situation in order to divide your marital property—intangible or not—in as fair a way as possible.