When you and your spouse discuss or litigate your marital property, there is a lot of value to divide. Tangible assets include the house and car. Monetary assets might be joint insurance policies or bank accounts.
You and your spouse may also find yourself with intangible assets to divide in the form of intellectual property. Knowing what IP includes may help you identify what there is to divide.
What is intellectual property?
As the World Intellectual Property Organization details, IP is a creation of the mind protected by law that includes copyrights, patents and trademarks.
What are copyrights, patents and trademarks?
A copyright on a work is the legal protection that gives you exclusivity to a creative work. This might be a painting of yours but it also includes books, music and even computer programs. Many couples have creations born out of a personal hobby that may still qualify as marital property.
Patents are exclusive rights to an invention. If you are a self-taught innovator, you may have worked on your own time to make something new or something that adds to something else. By publicly publishing its technical information with the government, you secure the exclusive right to determine who can and cannot use it.
Your trademark is your mark on something you produce. It could be the logo for your at-home side gig or something else that adds value to what you produce.
Each of these has a value that the courts must somehow determine in a divorce. Understanding the different types of intellectual property and their value will help to ensure a fair outcome in the property division process.