Focus on intangibles

An intangible asset is nothing more than a property owned by the company that does not exist physically. The most famous example of intangible asset (cannot be seen or cannot be touched) is a software created internally in the company. It is recorded in the “non-current asset” group, within the asset. It does not exist physically, but is a property that many companies own and are often the most valuable asset they own.

Other examples of intangible assets are:

  1. Licenses
  2. Copyright
  3. Customer portfolio
  4. Brand

Where is the intangible asset of the company? Is it correctly accounted for? Is it appropriately protected and transferred from its creators to the startup?

Considering the importance of intangible assets for startups, it is of vital importance that they take efficient action to protect, maintain and manage their intangible assets. Often, by lack of appropriate financial control, these assets are not correctly recorded in the company’s ledgers. When the “spin-off” of a project is required, it is important that these records are easily highlighted, since they will become part of the share capital of the new company that will be incorporated.

In the matter of assets object of protection provided by law, such as Copyrights, Patents and Brands, it is extremely important not only to ensure the maintenance of the company’s rights before third parties, but also regulate their authorship and ownership. Any confusion must be avoided, from the inception, between what are the company’s ownership rights and what are the partners’ and associates’ rights.

As with regard to assets not equipped with legal protection mechanisms, the concern should be even greater. These are methodologies, know-how, formulas, recipes, among other highly valuable intangible assets depending on the company’s activities. For these, protection must take place through proactive monitoring, confidentiality and secrecy preservation strategies, using appropriate legal instruments.

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