Intangible asset is something of value that cannot be physically touched, such as a brand name, franchise, trademark, or patent.
There are two basic types of intangible assets. One type of intangible asset is called a legal intangible asset. Legal intangibles include trade secrets such as customer lists, trademarks, patents, and copywrites. Another type of intangible asset is a competitive intangible. A competitive intangible includes basic knowledge activities in a company. Legal intangibles can be defended in a court of law since they are technically considered property. Competetive intangibles cannot be “owned” and, in many cases, cannot be defended in court. They do, however, have a large impact on the original company if they were to leak out, since competitive intangibles are the main source of competitive advantage over other companies. Developing new intangible assets is an important priority for most corporations today.