Frequently Asked Questions

Intellectual Property and Intangible Assets

What are intangible assets?

Intangible assets (IA) are assets that are non-physical in nature, owned by you or your business. These include both intellectual property (IP), such as patents, trademarks, and registered designs, as well as other non-registrable assets, like know-how, data and key relationships. Each company will have its own unique mix of IA and IP types, which make up the ingredients to its ‘secret sauce.

For a textbook definition, International Accounting Standard (IAS) 38 defines IA as identifiable (either being separable or arising from contractual or other legal rights), non-monetary assets without physical substance. IA largely comprise IP and other assets that grant potential economic benefits to the owner.

What is the difference between intangible assets and intellectual property?

Intangible assets (IA) comprise both intellectual property (IP) and other non-registrable assets, such as know-how, data, and key relationships. Simply put, IP may be considered a subset of IA.

For more information on IP, IPOS has a wealth of resources on patentstrade marksregistered designscopyrightgeographical indicationsplant varieties protection, and confidential information.

What are the different types of intangible assets?

Copyright protects the expression of ideas in the form of literary or artistic works, such as novels, videos, music, photographs, and other media works. It also applies to computer software. While copyright covers all content produced by a company, only certain assets may be of significant value on their own.

Registered Design

Registered designs protect the aesthetic look of an article or non-physical product, like its shape, pattern, or configuration.


Patents protect the functional elements of a technology or “how it works”. A patent should provide a technical solution, and an aspect of the solution must be novel, inventive and non-obvious.


Brand refers to the way businesses’ products and services are experienced by consumers, along with market and customer opinions of the company. Having a brand helps to maintain a company’s distinction in the marketplace even if a competitor is offering a similar product. Additionally, different forms of protection over a brand are by themselves also IA, which include registered and unregistered trade marks, and domain names.

Registered Trade Mark

Registered trade marks provide a formal registration to protect the brand from confusingly similar brands in the marketplace.

Unregistered Trade Mark

Unregistered trade marks refer to a brand’s reputation, awareness among consumers, and offerings. Unlike registered trade marks, these rights arise from “use”, and is not registered.

Domain Name

Internet addresses which contribute to online branding may be protected. Domain names provide another consumer touchpoint, which enhances overall brand presence.


Valuable data is either unique in origin or history, provides important insight, or has an associated value proposition. Read also: Safeguarding Your Competitive Edge

This can range from client databases, estimated market size, actual number of products or services purchased, to milestone numbers that can predict trends. Read also: From Pulling Data to Pushing Borders

Trade Secrets / Know-how

Registered trade marks provide a formal registration to protect the brand from confusingly similar brands in the marketplace.


What is IP management and how is it useful for my business?

Intellectual property (IP) and intangible assets (IA) can be key drivers for business success. Understanding IA and how to manage them well can build strong foundations for growth and expansion, as well as create new revenue streams.

Good IP management involves effectively identifying, prioritising and securing IP rights essential to your business. It also extends beyond protection to monetisation, by leveraging your IA to seize business opportunities, tide over and thrive in challenging times, and even secure investor funding for growth.

How do I know if I have intangible assets that should be protected or managed?

Book a complimentary 45-minute chat with us on your intangible assets (IA) today! Following a deeper understanding of your business, our IP Strategists will be able to advise on questions such as:

  • How do I know if my company has any valuable IA?
  • What are the possible risks if my company does not take care of its IA?
  • What is the most effective way to protect my innovations?
  • What should I look out for when my company is planning to expand overseas?
  • What are the key things to take note of in a joint-venture agreement?
  • How can better IA management help to increase the value of my company?
  • I am keen to develop an IA strategy but how should I start?

Discover Intangible Assets

How do I know if I have intangible assets that should be protected or managed?

It is an advisory programme designed to help enterprises leverage their intangible assets (IA) and intellectual property (IP) to maximise growth opportunities, manage risks and costs, and identify strategic partnerships to achieve business goals.

What kinds of companies will benefit from the programme?

Companies that plan to, or are currently doing the following, will benefit from this programme:

  • Expanding into new geographical markets
  • Investing in new innovation, products or services
  • Launching new products and services
  • Entering new partnerships, such as joint ventures, business partnerships, and research and development (R&D) collaborations
  • Seeking protection of products and services against competition, to reduce existing protection costs
  • Preparing for capital events, such as a fund raise or investment in other companies
How will my business benefit from this programme?

This programme aims to help you:

  • Secure your competitive edge, by aligning your IA with your business goals
  • Stay ahead of the curve in recognising IA risks and how to manage them
  • Establish a strong position to secure opportunities
Do I need to be well-versed in IP to embark on this programme?

Not at all. Our experienced IP Strategists will guide you through the entire project from start-to-finish, by first sensitising you to IP concepts for effective fact finding, to developing your IP strategy in the later stages.

What does the programme entail?

The programme comprises three main phases:


Get a deep understanding of your IA by learning from our expert team about:

  • The types of assets relevant to your business.
  • Corporate value, lifetime value, and impact of the IA to your business.
  • Effective IA management.

Identify key IA for your business through dialogue sessions together with your management, including core and non-core IA.


Create an action plan to improve your IA management and align it to your strategic business plans.

What can I expect at the end of the programme?

You’ll receive an IA action plan that guides you on how to manage and leverage your IA to achieve business objectives. This includes recommendations on how to improve your current IA management practices, along with proposed strategic moves to maximise the value of your IA.

Who will I be working with for this programme?

An IP Strategist will be working with you on your project. Our IP Strategists have a wealth of experience across business, industry, and academia to provide holistic perspectives in crafting your IP strategy.

How long is the programme?

The programme will take an estimated six weeks to complete, subject to your speed of response.

What is the level of commitment required from me or my staff?

To get a clear understanding of your IP needs to develop a holistic IP strategy aligned to your business goals, we will require:

  • Two dialogue sessions to sensitise you to IA concepts, understand your business, and identify the key IA for your business.
  • One presentation session for your management on the final IA strategy
  • Email correspondence throughout the project
How much does the programme cost?

For information on fees and funding, do email us at [email protected], or call us at 6330 8660.

Who can I contact for more information on this programme?

For more details on the programme, do email us at [email protected], or call us at 6330 8660.

IPOS International Business Continuity Planning (BCP)

Is IPOS International operational? Is your office open?

Yes, IPOS International is operational, though we have enacted our Business Continuity Plan. Our office is currently closed.

I have a matter pertaining to IPOS International. Should I come by your office?

In view of the current COVID-19 situation, our office is currently closed.

Instead, you may contact us at [email protected]. We seek your understanding that there might be a delay in our response to your request/query at this time.

Will IP Academy courses continue to be run?

Yes, however due to the evolving COVID-19 situation, we will endeavour to have IP Academy’s courses conducted online. Please check here or email us at [email protected] for more information.

Can I still consult an IP Strategist during this period?

Yes, you can still consult an IP Strategist virtually. IPOS International supports meeting online via audio or video conference calls. You can also reach us at [email protected].

I have other questions – who should I reach out to?

You may contact us at [email protected]. We seek your understanding that there might be a delay in our response to your request/query at this time.