The Impact of the Alice Decision on Corporate Patent Assets
While impairment analysis exists for reported intangible, there is no process whatsoever for writing off non-reported intangibles, which include all internally created patents as previously discussed. Since these assets are not on the balance sheet, there is nothing to write off in the first place and no basis against which to conduct an impairment test. From a pure accounting perspective – there is no place to record the loss, and no way to calculate the size of the loss. This does not mean that the markets will not factor that into the stock price, even without specific disclosure by the company. It may very well be that if companies start writing off acquired intangibles, stock analysts and investors could estimate the degree at which a similar write-off could be applied to non-reported patents, and adjust stock price expectations accordingly.