Separation of the marital property between you and your spouse may feel complicated, especially if neither of you agrees on the best way to do so. In the face of that disagreement, Tennessee courts aim to divide everything equitably once they consider all the factors.
But dividing the value of a house at current market value or the sum total of a bank account during the divorce may prove easier to split than the value of an idea. When it comes to dividing intellectual property, a lot of factors go into estimating how much your or your spouse’s idea may be worth.
Evaluating your marriage’s ideas
Intellectual property represents non-tangible concepts that create value. This might be something like a brand logo that increases sales, like Disney’s classic font, or it could be the fantastical world created in a book, like Harry Potter. Those are big names, but U.S. copyright law extends those protections to your creations and the creations you helped your spouse make.
As the World Intellectual Property Organization details, IP rights create value by virtue of their exclusivity — meaning that the IP creates value generates income when you create something with it or attached to it. The important thing is that you and your spouse have rights to it when no one else does.
Dedicated accountants look at past income generation, the sale of similar IP and the cost to create similar IP all as references when determining the value of these ideas.
Dividing your marriage’s ideas
Unless stipulated before or during the marriage that the IP is solely yours, it may qualify as marital property. Just like any marital property, the courts attempt to distribute that value equitably. From home business brands to children’s book characters, these intangible values weigh as much as any car in a divorce.