Intangible assets are the company’s assets which are not physical - which does not mean that they are any less valuable that the company’s physical assets. Much of a company’s value can often be found amongst its intangible assets
Intangible assets could for example consist of the name of the company, product or service; the company’s logotype, product or service; design and appearance; text, photo, music, films, computer programs, computer games, and apps; internal manuals and working methods; business concepts or business models, competence and specialist knowledge; customer databases; manufacturing processes; company databases; internal databases; inhouse-developed technology; research results; results of development work; certifications; collaboration agreements and goodwill.
There are various ways of managing and protecting your intangible assets. Patent rights, copyrights, trademark rights and design rights are included in the intangible rights protection. You can also make use of other legislation. Marketing law, trade secrets, non-disclosure agreements, competition clauses and competition law all contain provisions which are very similar to those in intellectual property law and overlap intellectual property law to some extent. These provisions can be used as supplementary protection.
The Swedish Intellectual Property Office (PRV) is the competent authority for these intellectual property rights in Sweden. For patents, trademarks and designs, you must register with the competent authority in the country in which you wish to obtain protection. Copyright will automatically be triggered when a work (a piece of music, film, literature, etc.) is created, and it does not therefore have to be registered.
A company should have a strategy for managing its intangible assets, known as an IP strategy. To maximise the commercial benefits of the company’s intangible assets - and gain competitive advantages - it is important to carefully consider ways of managing both the assets which are covered by intellectual property rights and those which are not. Keeping information as trade secrets and having clear employment and assignment agreements are two ways of ensuring that intangible assets remain within the company.
Find out more about intangible assets at the PRV School.
Test your business
In the test, we will help you identify your intangible assets: