Tag Archive for: intellectual property

Protecting Intellectual Property Rights During High Asset Divorces

When you get divorced, some assets are easier to divide than others. While retirement funds, bank accounts, and vehicles are relatively easy to split, those with unclear financial value are much more complex. Enter intellectual property: it is incredibly valuable in the right hands, but valuation is a complicated process. If you own intellectual property and are getting divorced, it is crucial to work with an attorney with experience in this area. Call Pence Law Firm at 304-407-7852 to set up a consultation with our team now.

Identifying Your Intellectual Property Assets

Due to their intangible nature, intellectual property assets are sometimes overlooked during the divorce process. However, for many people, they are arguably the most valuable assets they have. Intellectual property is the result of creativity and ingenuity, and it often serves as a healthy stream of income for entrepreneurs. In order to safeguard your intellectual property, you must first identify your relevant assets. These include:

  • Patents: Patents protect your inventions. If there are any patents granted or pending, they must be addressed in the divorce—it’s likely that they have significant financial value.
  • Copyrights: Copyrighted work included literature, art, music, and software. Copyright exists automatically when a creative work of authorship is fixed, but owners may still take additional legal steps to strengthen the protection granted to their work. Copyrighted work, including books and music, may be a significant source of income for its creator and must be accounted for in the divorce.
  • Trademarks: Brands, logos, and signs associated with brands can all be trademarked. Identifying and securing a fair valuation of trademarks is crucial if your brand has a presence in the market.
  • Trade secrets: Many established businesses rely heavily on trade secrets as a way to set themselves apart from competitors. Confidential business information can devastate a company when it reaches the wrong hands, so you must take steps to protect trade secrets as you navigate a divorce.
  • Licensing agreements: If you license any of your intellectual property to other individuals or companies, the revenue streams and agreements must be counted among your assets.

How to Protect Your Intellectual Property

The earlier you begin working with an attorney with experience in high-asset divorces, the more work you can put into safeguarding your intellectual property. There are various strategies that your attorney may recommend.

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are powerful tools when it comes to protecting intellectual property and other assets. While they aren’t an option if you already have a divorce in the works, they should definitely be considered if you are engaged or currently married.

A fair valuation of each intellectual property asset is another important part of securing your property. Valuing intellectual property isn’t like valuing a house or vehicle, so you’ll need to work with the right appraisers for this step.

If your main fear is that your spouse will disclose trade secrets in retaliation for your split, you may want to explore non-disclosure agreements with your attorney. This is a complicated subject, as non-disclosure agreements have recently been challenged repeatedly in court and many courts have chosen not to uphold them. If you go this route, ensure that your agreement is enforceable.

The primary tool available to you at this point is effective negotiation. You know your intellectual property is valuable, and it’s likely your ex does as well. It’s time to consider how important it is to you to keep your IP, what you are willing to give up in order to keep it, and how hard you think your spouse will fight to get a share.

Specialists Who Can Help with This Process

The first person you need on your team is a high-asset divorce attorney. Lawyers with experience in this are usually familiar with intellectual property, its significant value, and what it takes to protect it in a divorce. They will often have connections with other experts that can help you, including forensic accountants, business valuators, financial advisors, and mediators.

Prepare for Your Divorce with the Team at Pence Law Firm

With the right high-value divorce attorney fighting for you, you can get through this challenging time with as little stress as possible. Set up your free consultation with Pence Law Firm now by calling us at 304-407-7852 or contacting us online.