Personal Property Assets versus Real Property Assets
Most companies have both personal property and real property assets. As general rule, real property includes the land, building(s) attached to the land and fixtures attached to the building(s). A personal property asset is any asset other than real property.
The Relationship Between Real Property and Personal Property
Buildings, Structures and Fixtures are Tangible Real Property
By way of illustration, your plant’s building and its fixtures (such as cooling fans, ductwork and pipes) are generally considered tangible real property. Real property assets are tangible and can become tangible personal property assets. When an old cooling fan is replaced with a newer more efficient cooling fan, the new cooling fan becomes a tangible fixture and the old fan becomes tangible personal property.
Real Property Boundaries
A deed sets forth the boundary lines of the real property. Without permission of the land owner, anyone who crosses over the boundary lines of the real property may be charged with trespassing.
Patents are Usually Intangible Personal Property Assets
The claims of a Patent “stake out” the legal boundaries of the Patent. An analogy is the 1849 California Gold Rush where miners staked out their “gold fever” claims in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
When the Patent claim remains valid, anyone who invades the space claimed by the Patentee without permission may become a defendant in an infringement suit. Staking your Patent infringement claims can be a “rough and tumble” adventure for both the plaintiff and the defendant. Under some select circumstances, that legal tousle may result in the defendant paying treble damages.
- A few US Patents have been issued for real properties (e.g., building components attached to land), but most Patents are valuable intangible personal property assets.
Goods Covered by Patent Claims are Tangible Personal Property Assets
As noted above, Patents are generally intangible personal property assets. However, the widgets manufactured by your company that are covered by one or more claims of your Patent(s) are tangible personal properties which could also fall under the parameters of the Several States Uniform Commercial Codes. And if your widgets are medical devices, FDA approvals of the tangible personal properties are required before the widgets can be sold for medical use in patients.
Simultaneous Multiple Property Types
What happens when a situation arises where there are simultaneous real property, personal property and intellectual property issues? This will be addressed in a future post, so stay tuned!
If you have questions about intellectual property, tangible or intangible assets, please contact Business Patent Law, PLLC and we will discuss possibilities for your business and intellectual properties.
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