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Given the inventiveness of the American people, it is not surprising that courts in divorce cases have been confronted with the need to classify, value, and divide a wide variety of intellectual property interests. The purpose of this Manual is to discuss the various ways in which the courts have accomplished these tasks.
There are three types of Intellectual Property:
The above mention property may be considered marital property, which means in may be divided during divorce.
When dividing interests in intellectual property, state courts must be sensitive to the policies behind patent and copyright law as well as to the policies behind divorce law. Creative control should remain with the inventor or the creator spouse, unless a contrary result is a necessary response to a substantial and justified fear of future financial misconduct. This result is strongly in both parties' interests, as it maximizes the future income potential of the creative spouse, thereby making more dollars available for property and support awards. Value created during the marriage must be divided, but the courts should exclude from division any value created before or after the marriage. The courts should be sensitive to the need to spend time and effort not only creating the invention or work but also marketing it effectively.
National Legal Research Group, Inc.
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