SOLOPRENEUR: Self-Employability in Remote Regions of Europe

Intangible Assets & IPR


Intangible Assets & IPR

Intangible assets, intellectual property rights, data, GDPR, privacy, data protection



Module objective is to give a comprehensive understanding of intangible assets and intellectual property rights, with a specific focus on how to protect them and how to collect and manage third parties personal data.

In Unit 1, the module explains the difference between tangible and intangible assets, focusing on intangible digital assets that are the most relevant for Solopreneurs. Unit 1 also focuses on the importance of intangible assets, that is often underestimated by businesses that solely rely on tangible assets.

 Contents in bullet points
1. Intangible assets 2. IPR – Intellectual Property Rights 3. Privacy and Data Protection in the EU framework – GDPR for Solopreneurs




  What is an intangible asset

An Intangible Asset is an asset that is not physical in nature

Brand recognition
Intellectual property (i.e. patents, trademarks, and copyrights)
Financial assets (such as stocks and bonds, which derive their value from contractual claims)



  Intangible digital asset

❏Economic, social and technology trends are accelerating the pervasiveness of digital technologies
❏Digital assets are more and more important among the intangible assets
❏Digital communities = Facebook groups, fan clubs...
❏Followers = The sum of all the followers in the several social media channels
❏Digital authority = Previous positive elements expressed with online/digital comments, interactions, etc.
❏Internet domains: Those with the brand name in the URL and the Exact Match Domains (EMD)
❏The brand name in the URL is fundamental to achieve the best indexing from the search engine
❏Exact Match Domain is a domain that includes the keywords you're targeting right in the search results (i.e. if you are looking for an airport shuttle in London, an EMD would be

They have an extremely high value!


  The importance of intangible assets

Intangible assets are even more important than tangible assets, since - for instance:

❏It’s useless to have the best machinery if you lack the right competencies to operate it
❏It’s useless to have a good product if our brand is weak and poor known




Nowadays, a business cannot be successful unless it’s able to take care of its intangible assets and build a solid:



  What are IPRs

Entrepreneurs and business owners need to understand the basics of intellectual property (IP) law to best protect their hard-earned creations and ideas from unfair competition.

Intellectual property includes distinctive items that you have created that give you an economic benefit.

Intellectual property rights (IPR) are recognised by the law and help to encourage and protect inventors and creators by giving them exclusive rights over their work for a set period of time.

  How to protect you IP

You can protect your intellectual properties (IP) by making use of:
1) Patents: A patent is a property right on an invention, that allows the patent holder to be the only person legally authorised to make, sell and/or use the invention. When a patent does exist, the holder can take legal actions against anyone who copies/makes use of the patented product/invention.
If a patent does not exist, you cannot benefit from this legal protection!
2)Trademarks: A trademark is a distinctive sign identifying an item/business from its competitors
A trademark can be a:
3) Trade secrets: A trade secret is a formula, process, device, or other business information that companies keep private to give them a business advantage over their competitors.
Trade secrets can be ensured by making use of:
Non-disclosure agreements: A contract through which the parties agree not to disclose information covered by the agreement
Restricted access to confidential information: Expedients to avoid access to confidential information
Restrictive covenants: Agreement that precludes employees from divulge information after the termination of employment
Other practices to restrict the diffusion of information
Notes:Unlike the other types of intellectual property, you can't obtain protection by registering your trade secret. Instead, protection lasts only as long as you take the necessary steps to control disclosure and use of the information.
4) Copyrights: Enjoying copyrights over your work means you have exclusive rights over your work of authorship.
Copyrights is usually relevant for authors and composers, as well as for performers, record producers and broadcasters that enjoy similar rights but for a shorter period.
When a copyright exists, you are the only one authorised to: 
Copy the work


  GDPR Overview

The General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR) is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individual citizens of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA).
It also addresses the transfer of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas.
The GDPR impose a number of duties on all the subjects that store or process personal data, reshaping the way data is handled by organisations, businesses, associations, public agencies, etc.
As a Solopreneur, you should be aware that anytime you collect, handle, store, process or transfer third persons personal data, you have to fully comply with the GDPR.
Failure to comply with the principles may leave you open to substantial fines, up to €20 million, or 4% of your total worldwide annual turnover, whichever is higher.

  Collecting of personal data

One is not allowed to collect personal data without the express consent of the subject and the controller shall be able to demonstrate that the data subject has consented to processing of his/her personal data.


Further, processing of special categories of personal data is subject to further duties:

-Data revealing racial or ethnic origin
-Political opinions
-Religious or philosophical beliefs
-Trade union membership
-Genetic data, biometric data for the purpose of uniquely identifying a natural person
-Data concerning health
-Data concerning a natural person's sex life or sexual orientation

  Data breach

According to the GDPR, the data controller is responsible for any personal data breach,
that means a breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction,
loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to, personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed.
As a Solopreneur, you should be able to build a solid and secure data storage system.

  GDPR – Seven key principles

The GDPR lists seven key principles that have to be strictly followed when handling personal data:
•Lawfulness, fairness and transparency
•Purpose limitation