When a couple goes through a divorce, it will be necessary to divide all of their assets. The division of these assets will depend on an array of factors including the situation, state laws, and many other considerations. When the couple has intellectual property, this can become even more difficult to accomplish. Intellectual property is ultimately an intangible aspect, which can make it incredibly difficult to divide equally across each party. Contested divorces are often even more complicated than uncontested situations, especially when intellectual property is involved. It is crucial to work alongside a divorce attorney when you are dealing with intellectual property to protect your interests throughout your divorce, whether it is a contested or uncontested situation.
What is Intellectual Property?
Intellectual property is generally defined as the work of human intellect. It can be difficult to determine the division of intellectual property, due to the ambiguous nature of this type of property. Common types of intellectual property that will need to be divided in a divorce include plant varieties, patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, and industrial design rights. This results in many different situations in which intellectual property will have to be divided throughout a divorce process, as the distribution will depend on the type of intellectual property, the situation, the state laws, and many other factures.
The Division of Intellectual Property
The division of intellectual property may be determined based on the different laws in each state, as well as various factors in the particular situation. For example, there are community law states that require that the assets be distributed evenly between each party. Other laws may require an individual to prove that they should receive a certain percentage of the asset if it shouldn’t be distributed evenly. The division of intellectual property in a divorce may not even depend necessarily on who created the initial property. For example, it can be argued that while one individual may have created the intellectual property, their partner supported them emotionally and financially throughout the creation. Consulting with an attorney can help you to obtain the ideal outcome for your divorce process.
Valuation of Intellectual Property
It is only really possible to divide intellectual property when it has a specific value. This can be incredibly difficult when you are working with something as convoluted as intellectual property. The intellectual property will have to be valued by a professional in order to determine its overall value. There are many factors that may be used to aid in the valuation of intellectual property. Ultimately, it will depend on the type of intellectual property and the professional services used to give the intellectual property a value. It will also be important to consider future income that may come from the intellectual property.
The division of future income will generally depend on the court ruling. In many situations, a court will decide that it will be impossible to identify potential future earnings and won’t necessarily include it in the divorce settlement. There is often a lump fee that will have to be paid to the other party if one person gets exclusive access to the intellectual property. There are many factors that can dictate the division of intellectual property and any future income from the intellectual property.
Patents are one common type of intellectual property that will need to be divided between parties in a divorce. These patents are obtained in order to grant a property right to an inventor of a particular invention. These property rights allow them to use their invention or potentially allow others to use the invention with a license. Patents are often bestowed for a limited duration, generally a standard of 20 years. This patent is often granted in exchange for making the information of their invention available to the public.
Trademarks are another common type of intellectual property that needs to be divided. Trademarks are essentially brand names that will help to identify the source of goods or services. It is often also used to help distinguish these services and goods from other similar services. Trademarks often include things like logos, catch phrases, and other distinguishing factors. A trademark can be difficult to divide in a divorce, which is one of the reasons that it is incredibly important to work with an experienced divorce attorney when dealing with the division of a trademark.
Copyrights are intellectual property considerations that serve to grant exclusive rights of a work to the author of that work. There are many works that can be involved in the copyright category. Novels, paintings, movies, music, TV shows, and more can be protected under a copyright. It can be rather difficult to navigate the division of copyrights during a divorce. Future income can also be incredibly to determine during a divorce, which can make it difficult to deal with copyright distribution. Our services can go a long way toward helping you to obtain the best possible outcome from your divorce involving intellectual property.
Trade secrets can be a rather complex factor to divide during a divorce. Essentially, trade secrets are pieces of confidential business information that helps to provide an individual, company, or other entity with a competitive edge in their industry. For example, a specific recipe for a product will likely be considered a trade secret.
Our team at Ammon Nelson Law is capable of handling the division of intellectual property during a divorce. This concept can be rather complicated, because intellectual property is intangible. It will have to be given a specific value in order to ensure that it can be divided. There is often a great deal at stake when you have to distribute intellectual property in a divorce, due to the potential of future income. It is critical to consult with an experienced attorney in order to protect your interests throughout the divorce process. To learn more about the division of intellectual property in a divorce, contact our experienced team at Ammon Nelson Law today!