In some divorces, intellectual property considerations loom large

A core of common concerns sometimes emerges in many marital dissolutions, revolving around a few select matters.

Quite often, and understandably, children emerge front and center in divorce proceedings. What will best promote their interests as regards parental custody? Can a parenting plan be worked out that fairly and comprehensively addresses visitation, holiday schedules, school and sports activities and other matters?

Child — as well as spousal — support is also of central importance in some divorces.

And then there is property division, which fully engages soon-to-be exes in many divorce negotiations. Customarily, that includes determinations regarding the family home and, potentially, other real estate holdings, personal property, heirlooms, artwork, jewelry and, importantly, savings and investment accounts.

In some instances, focus also centers on intellectual property, both as it relates to business development and as a distinct idea that holds potential value.

A recent patent-related tale well underscores how important intellectual property can be in a divorce proceeding or following a divorce.

That story emerges in a federal lawsuit filed recently by the ex-wife of a man who received 14 patents on technology enhancements allowing for board games such as Yahtzee and Monopoly to be played electronically in casinos.

The woman claims that the couple collaborated closely for years on the concept and development of the idea, being co-inventors. She contends that, notwithstanding her contributions, her former partner applied for patent rights with another party, securing ownership without her knowledge.

The complaint seeks patent correction that includes the woman as co-inventor of the technology, as well as damages for a number of alleged legal breaches.

Property identification, valuation and equitable distribution can indeed be complex in some divorces. A proven property division attorney with wide-ranging experience in asset distribution can help ensure that a client’s interests in this important area are fully promoted.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Ex-wife demands rights to Monopoly patents,” author uncited, Aug. 11, 2014

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