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Is intellectual property considered a marital asset in Washington?

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2021 | Divorce |

Washington is a community property state, which means all assets acquired during a marriage are considered to be owned by both spouses. It doesn’t matter if those assets are tangible or intangible. However, it is usually the tangible assets such as the home, funds in shared or retirement accounts, and various possessions that people are concerned with.

Intangible assets can be extremely valuable though, and may be worth fighting for when getting a divorce. Take intellectual property for example.

What is considered intellectual property?

Intellectual property (IP) is a term that covers a number of non-physical assets. These assets provide their owners with a competitive advantage and are often held close and defended when needed. Some common forms of intellectual property include:

  • Copyrights
  • Patents
  • Trademarks
  • Trade Secrets
  • Franchises

As intellectual property is the product of human intellect, how can it be considered community property if only one spouse is behind its creation? The answer is simple. A spouse’s time, effort and sacrifice to support their partner and his or her work is taken into consideration.

How is IP valued?

The big problem with including intellectual property as a marital asset comes with determining its value. This is not an easy task. It is necessary to look at its current value, but also its earning potential. It is also imperative to determine if the spouse of the property creator is entitled to a portion of its current value or its future earnings as well.

When dealing with intangible assets, property division issues can be a bear to figure out. An experienced family law attorney will work diligently to help you achieve settlement terms that are fair, balanced and in line with Washington community property laws.