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Dealing With Intellectual Property in Mergers and Acquisitions

Lynn P. Hendrix, Peter O. Hansen, Proceedings of 47th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (2001)

Intellectual property can be among a company's most valuable assets, and often gives a company a significant advantage over its competitors. A company's processes, procedures, and methods (including business methods), information, data, products, and goodwill (including business names and designs) all embody intellectual property. Intellectual property is intangible personal property, and includes the four categories of trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks and service marks, and patents.2

A company does not have to be on the cutting edge to have intellectual property. Every company has know-how, information, materials, processes, and procedures that may be protectable by trade secret, copyright, or patent law. For example, mining companies have protectable intellectual property rights in processes for removing precious metals from ore through leaching, adsorption, or other processes. Oil and gas companies have protectable intellectual property rights in the processes and procedures they use for producing oil and gas from specific formations, for well stimulation, and for gas flow rate measurement. Geological and geophysical companies have protectable intellectual property rights in their processes and procedures as well as the information and data they generate. Drilling companies have protectable intellectual property rights in their [8-5] procedures, including frac