Many intangible assets meet the key elements of property as identified for divorce purposes. They are transferable from one person to another, and these days there is an increasingly open market for the purchase and sale of such assets.
The fact that there is an actual market for intellectual property and intangible assets shows that their value not only can be computed with a reasonable degree of certainty in most cases, but also that the intellectual property interest may consist of both current and future value creation by providing a steady stream of income or new and subsidiary additions of technology, copyrighted materials, brands, and trademarks. In various cases across different states, all of the following have been ruled to be marital property to one degree or another:
- Nonfiction Books
- Fiction Books
- Trade Secrets
- Works Of Art
- Television Screenplays And Creative Content
- Rights Of Publicity
Further complicating the valuation and importance of intellectual property in divorce is that it’s rarely a simple case of an invention or literary work conceived, created, and marketed entirely during the marriage. In that case, the asset would probably be ruled entirely as joint marital property. However, the world of intellectual property is rarely so simple. Works of real value like books, trademarks, and patents take time to develop, produce, and market. Additionally, where the value of the intellectual property or intangible asset will continue beyond the term of the marriage, depending on how it’s developed and who continues to develop it, the issues become even more complex.
In addition to divorce, other personal and business relationship dissolutions can also have significant impact on shared IP interests and are prone to many of the same complications that intangible assets in a divorce setting. For example, when members of musical groups or writing teams have a parting of ways, the residuals and future interests from jointly developed IP are a very real concern.
The professionals at CONSOR understand the complexities involved in handling intangible assets in divorce and dissolution situations, both within and outside of a litigation context. We can identify and analyze the assets at issue, determine the estimated remaining useful life and project future revenues, and reach a conclusion as to the value of the disputed intellectual property.