Making Intangible Assets Work for Your Business

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example of intangible property

Examples of intangible personal property are copyrights, patents, intellectual property, and investments. Assets that can be represented with social or reputational capital also qualify as intangible personal property. Tangible personal property, on the other hand, refers to assets that can be touched and have an assigned value, such as jewelry, art, machinery, and electronics. You will need to hire an intellectual property lawyer who can help you navigate the legal complexities of selling, licensing, and other contracts involving intangible assets. You will also need a licensed CPA to determine the value of your company’s intangible assets for tax and accounting purposes. The intangible assets definition refers to the non-physical valuable resources of an organization or individual.

Intangible assets may be recorded if they are acquired, but not if they are developed in-house. If acquired, an expenditure can only be recorded as an asset if it is expected to have a useful life of at least one year. For example, if a business pays a graphic artist to design a logo for it, then the artist’s fee can be recorded as an intangible asset.

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However, when a company is audited, and such incorrect information is included on an income statement or balance sheet, it creates a problematic situation for investors and stockholders. For example, intangibles like the Coca-Cola brand name are priceless, but they cannot carry value on financial reporting statements. Some intangibles have a determinable life, also known as a legal life or economic life. In this case the overall value, or cost of the asset, is divided against the remaining duration of its useful life. Such assets include software licenses, patents and customer lists.

example of intangible property

The internet has obviously raised a ton of questions about how to value information and who should get paid for doing what. This was first an issue with pirated music but it now extends to all the popular arts as well as software and data. The issues are complicated and I am far from being a copyright expert. But I appreciate that people who understand this kind of stuff are giving it some consideration and hopefully any changes they make will benefit both artists and consumers. Every purchase contributes to the independence and funding of the IFRS Foundation and to its mission.

Examples of Intangible Assets:

Few internally-generated intangible assets can be recognized on an entity’s balance sheet. Intangible personal property is anything with no obvious and assigned value and can’t be physically held. Examples include copyrights, patents, intellectual property, investments, digital assets, along with anything that has image, social, or reputational capital.

  • If these stipulations are not met, then the grants may need to be refunded by the company.
  • Goodwill measures several factors that affect your brand’s value.
  • Businesses have several ways to value these assets, which can be challenging because they have no shape or form.
  • The deductions begin with the month the intangibles were acquired or the month the intangible property begins to produce income, whichever is later.

Not all intangible assets can be amortized—only those with a finite useful life, which refers to the set amount of time you own an intangible asset. In the US, that patent likely has a finite useful life of 20 years, after which it expires. Companies are regularly advised to carry intangible assets on balance sheets at cost rather than perceived value. They are usually listed on this financial statement only if they can be amortized or have a specific value.


Businesses commonly use marketing, design techniques, and advertising to come up with their brands. For instance, most people can easily identify Apple (AAPL) just by seeing its logo. FullCircl is a Customer Lifecycle Intelligence (CLI) platform that helps B2B companies in financially regulated industries do better business, faster.

What are 2 examples of intangibles?

Some examples of intangible assets include brand recognition, goodwill, and intellectual property (patents, domain names, confidential information, inventions, names, and the like).

“It has intangible value that has a significant impact on the sales for PepsiCo, and thus, the success of the business.” Financial securities, such as stocks and bonds, are also considered tangible assets even though they can’t be held. That’s because they derive their value from contractual claims. There has been a lot of talk about patent and copyright law lately. Government grants may be in the form of a specific grant that includes specific requirements/stipulations such as employment levels or pollution control levels.

Legal Words of the Day: Tangible Property & Intangible Property

Real property includes land and whatever is built on the land or attached to it. It includes buildings (like houses and grain silos), fences, tile lines, and mineral rights, for example. It can be something that legally enables a business to operate and make money. A business may also purchase licensing to use a particular software in order to operate and make sales.

The value is determined based on the purchase or acquisition price along with their amortization schedules. Some intangible assets, such as goodwill, don’t appear on corporate balance sheets. But intangible assets created by a company do not appear on the balance sheet and have no recorded book value.

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