Intangible asset

Intangible assets are defined as identifiable non-monetary assets that cannot be seen, touched or physically measured, which are created through time and/or effort and that are identifiable as a separate asset. There are two primary forms of intangibles - legal intangibles (such as trade secrets (e.g., customer lists), copyrights, patents, trademarks, and goodwill) and competitive intangibles (such as knowledge activities (know-how, knowledge), collaboration activities, leverage activities, and structural activities). Legal intangibles generate legal property rights defensible in a court of law. Competitive intangibles, whilst legally non-ownable, directly impact effectiveness, productivity, wastage, and opportunity costs within an organization - and therefore costs, revenues, customer service, satisfaction, market value, and share price. Human capital is the primary source of competitive intangibles for organizations today. Competitive intangibles are the source from which competitive advantage flows, or is destroyed. The area of finance that deals with intangible assets is known as Intangible Asset Finance.

The Uniform Commercial Code (Section 9-102(a)(42)) defines "general intangibles" as

:"any personal property...other than accounts, chattel paper, commercial tort claims, deposit accounts, documents, goods, instruments, investment property, letter of credit rights, letters of credit, money, and oil, gas, or other minerals before extraction. The term includes payment intangibles and software."

Research & Development

Millions are spent each year by corporations to research and develop new intangible assets. To protect their research and development (R&D) efforts, corporations generally rely on intellectual property law.

Financial accounting

General standards

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) offers some guidance (IAS 38) as to how intangible assets should be accounted for in financial statements. In general, legal intangibles that are developed internally are not recognized and legal intangibles that are purchased from third-parties are recognized.

Expense recognition

Intangible assets are typically expensed according to their respective life expectancy. [ [http://www.iasplus.com/standard/ias38.htm International Accounting Standards IAS38] ] Intangible assets have either an identifiable or indefinite useful life. Intangible assets with identifiable useful lives are amortized on a straight-line basis over their economic or legal life, whichever is shorter. Examples of intangible assets with identifiable useful lives include copyrights and patents. Intangible assets with indefinite useful lives are reassessed each year for impairment. If an impairment has occurred, then a loss must be recognized. An impairment loss is determined by subtracting the asset's fair value from the asset's book/carrying value. This impairment loss may only be reversed under certain circumstances. Trademarks and goodwill are examples of intangible assets with indefinite useful lives.

Taxation

For personal income tax purposes, some costs with respect to intangible assets must be capitalized rather than treated as deductible expenses. Treasury regulations generally require capitalization of costs associated with acquiring, creating, or enhancing intangible assets. [Treas. Reg. § 1.263(a)-4.] For example, an amount paid to obtain a trademark must be capitalized. Certain amounts paid to facilitate these transactions must also be capitalized. Some types of intangible assets are categorized based on whether the asset is acquired from another party or created by the taxpayer. The regulations contain many provisions intended to make it easier to determine when capitalization is required. [Donaldson, Samuel A. Federal Income Taxation Of Individuals: Cases, Problems and Materials (2nd ed.). St. Paul: Thomson West, 2007. pg. 200.]

References

ee also

*Intellectual capital
*Intellectual property
**Copyright
**Patent
**Trademark
**Trade secret
*Goodwill (accounting)

External links

* [http://intangible-asset.de/ Free blog on intangible assets, information and knowledge in german]
* [http://www.consensio.com.au/ Private Australian blog on intangible assets,business theory and brand]
* [http://www.intangibleeconomy.org/ Blog on intangible economy and public policy issues]
* [http://www.fourgroups.com/blog/archives/13/managing-intangibles/ Blog article on managing intangibles]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • intangible asset — see asset 2 Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. intangible asset n …   Law dictionary

  • intangible asset — A legal claim to some future benefit, typically a claim to future cash. goodwill, intellectual property, patents, copyrights, and trademarks are examples of intangible assets. Bloomberg Financial Dictionary An intangible asset is an asset that… …   Financial and business terms

  • Intangible asset — A legal claim to some future benefit, typically a claim to future cash. Goodwill, intellectual property, patents, copyrights, and trademarks are examples of intangible assets. The New York Times Financial Glossary * * * intangible asset… …   Financial and business terms

  • intangible asset — invisible asset An asset that can neither be seen nor touched. The most common of these are competencies, goodwill, and intellectual properties such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Goodwill is probably the most intangible and invisible of …   Accounting dictionary

  • intangible asset — invisible asset An asset that can neither be seen nor touched. The most common of these are competencies, goodwill, and intellectual property such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Goodwill is probably the most intangible and invisible of… …   Big dictionary of business and management

  • Intangible Asset — An asset that is not physical in nature. Corporate intellectual property (items such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, business methodologies), goodwill and brand recognition are all common intangible assets in today s marketplace. An… …   Investment dictionary

  • intangible asset — noun assets that are saleable though not material or physical • Syn: ↑intangible • Hypernyms: ↑assets • Hyponyms: ↑good will, ↑goodwill * * * intangible asset UK US noun …   Useful english dictionary

  • intangible asset — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms intangible asset : singular intangible asset plural intangible assets business something that a company has, such as the good opinion of its customers, that has value to the company although its worth cannot be …   English dictionary

  • intangible asset — Property that is a right such as a patent, copyright, trademark, etc., or one which is lacking physical existence, such as goodwill. A nonphysical, noncurrent asset which exists only in connection with something else, such as the goodwill of a… …   Black's law dictionary

  • intangible asset — nematerialusis turtas statusas T sritis Gynyba apibrėžtis Nefizinis turtas, toks kaip prestižas, intelektinės nuosavybės teisės. atitikmenys: angl. intangible asset ryšiai: susijęs terminas – trumpalaikis turtas susijęs terminas – ilgalaikis… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.