If you and your spouse made it big with a family business, your divorce may seem more complicated than others. Dividing up a marital company involves examining business assets, documentation and determining the financial futures of yourselves and any employees.
It is a lot to handle, especially when you get into the intangible aspects of your business like intellectual property.
Business IP examples
The most common examples of IP in a business are trademarks, copyrights and patents.
A trademark could be a phrase or product name that identifies your brand above others.
Copyright may apply to a logo or design that you have exclusive control over.
You may have a patent because one of your products is a unique invention or design.
Your business model might include an innovative product that has a trademark name and your custom-designed logo on it. This would benefit from each of these three protections.
Dividing the valuable intangible
Each of these protections has a certain value in the marketplace, and it is important that you evaluate and protect this IP during a divorce. It impacts the documentation for your business, and it helps clarify how much your family business is worth.
Whether you choose to keep the business yourself, divide the rights between the both of you or liquidate the business to split the value, there is a process to follow. It is important to understand your situation, your options and the way forward. When you have the right information and resources, you can double-check that you get your fair share of the marital assets, including your business IP.