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9 Examples of Intangible Assets
John Spacey, updated on April 26, 2023
An intangible asset is any asset that lacks physical substance. As economies modernize, intangible assets become an increasingly important asset class. In many cases, the value of a firm's intangible assets far outweigh its physical assets. The following are common types of intangible assets.
1. GoodwillGoodwill usually results from taking over another business or acquiring their assets. It is the difference between the tangible value of assets that you buy and the price you pay. For example, you may pay a premium for a business due to its brand name or patents. From an accounting perspective, this premium is goodwill.
2. LicensesIn many cases, licenses such as a business license in a highly regulated industry such as banking has significant value that's difficult to estimate.
3. TrademarksTrademarks and other visual symbols of a brand such as trade dress.
4. PatentsRights to inventive designs and solutions.
5. CopyrightsRights to creative and intellectual works.
6. RightsRights enshrined in contracts such as resource rights or franchise agreements.
7. Customer ListsA firm's relationships with customers can have significant value. This value is occasionally referred to as customer lists on financial statements.
8. Brand EquityBrand equity is the value of a brand's reputation and recognition by customers.
9. Research & DevelopmentResults of research & development such as software.
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