Intangible assets such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and intellectual assets are not new ideas but have been in existence for thousands of years ago. But the value they enjoy now may be unprecedented in history due to globalization because organizations have realized that intangible assets such as patent, trademark, and copyright are more sustainable sources of competitive advantage. The countries understand the importance of proper legal frameworks that enable organizations to protect their intangible assets and encourage them to participate in international trade. Several international and national rules and regulations have been developed such as U.S. Trademarks Act of 1946 and Patent Cooperation Treaty to ensure that only the owners of the intangible assets have the right to use them or transfer the privilege to their business partners whether on local or international level. This paper doesn’t only address the types of intangible assets usually owned by organizations but also looks into national and international legal framework that supports economic activity.
Globalization has increased the value of intangible assets such as trademarks, copyrights, and patents because they are difficult to replicate, provide differentiation, and also assist with international expansion. In addition, they can also be source of valuable revenue streams which is why organizations often invest millions and sometimes even billions to develop intangible properties. In order to encourage innovation as well as international trade, both national and international legal frameworks exist and may or may not conflict with each other. Thus, it is important to know both national and international laws to both protect intangible property as well as avoid violations. Almost every major corporation owns valuable intangible assets including BMW, Lucasfilm, Disney, Verizon Wireless, and Swiss Rail and they often authorize use of their intangible assets in exchange for a fee or other economic benefits. These agreements often cover multiple markets and are usually multi-years in duration.