Tangible: adj. physically exists and is not an unproven concept which is just theoretical and/or just exists on paper and/or digitally and has no logical one to one correspondence with (matter and/or energy) and/or the material world
A tangible asset has physical reality but let’s investigate the world of mythological intangible assets.
Intangible asset: n. an asset that is not physical in nature. Corporate intellectual property (items such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, business methodologies), goodwill and brand recognition are all common intangible assets in today’s marketplace.
Goodwill and brand recognition can be determined statistically to some extent because it is all a ball park approximation of the good reputation of a business or organization. With a broad enough population you can gather statistical information on what the percentages are for a favorable good reputation. Yes, a good reputation is unstable because well publicized very bad fact(s) about a corporate entity can place a good reputation in the toilet almost overnight and goodwill and brand recognition decrease accordingly in value monitarily.
Statistics can be gathered comparing similar competing company products on a like scale from one to ten and similar company comparison like scales can be gathered for company to company comparisons. Percentage of market penetration for various income groups and ages is also a probabalistic assessment of the reputation of a company by its mere relative quantitative existence. Contacting a company’s customers and asking to rate the company on a scale of satisfaction from one to ten is also a way of directly assessing one of the variables which are important in evaluating the probable total reputation of a company. Company or brand associations with words such as car, lawn mower, tool, etc. can be made in a region to get the relative statistical reputation of the company or brand in that region.
Reputation is tangible but few have the resources to do the necessary statistical gathering with questionnaires so it is erroneously assumed that because a tangible reputation is unknown it is therefore an intangible asset or physically non existent concept. Believe me a good reputation or a belief that this is so exists in the minds of humans and it is not an intangible asset.
Brand loyalty can be determined by the frequency of repeat customers for a product(s) and this information is only available to a company which keeps good records of sales and who bought the product(s) repeatedly.
A patent is tangible property if it specifies the material which it is made of and the actual size or dimensions. A generalized patent is possible where the material and dimensions are not accurately specified but this should be a rarity in future patent rights. Material and dimensions are critical to any real functioning device and no future patents should be given for generalized ideas or concepts.
Trademarks and copyrights are visual images which can be enlarged in size or reduced in size and if enough is added and/or subtracted from them then a new trademark and copyright is possible. For written work, word by word copying is plagiarism but the same basic topics or ideas may be rewritten without fear of copyright intrusion.
Copyrighting software programs is possible but patents should not be granted to those programs.
Business methodologies are not really intangible assets because they are hidden tangible assets which the company just doesn’t want to become public knowledge. A true methodology is one with clearly defined behaviors or behavior sequences and it all is quite tangible.
There is no such thing as an intangible asset unless it is an unproven theory or an untrue or fake financial document not connected to a tangible asset. Everything which exists and is logically connected to the real world can be defined and represented as a tangible asset(s).
Even a promise is tangible if the time(s), place(s), and action(s) are specified and can be considered to be an oral agreement. If it is printed and signed it is the foundation of what a legal binding contract is.
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