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Intellectual property and intellectual capital: defining a relationship

Nenad Gajic

Keywords: intellectual capital; intellectual property; intangible assets (IAs); knowledge resources; ontology

A word may mean a world of difference. This article explains facets of the relationship between intellectual property and intellectual capital. They are both ‘intellectual’, but intellectual capital, as a superset of intellectual property, encompasses a broader scope, though often without explicit ownership rights. Considering that intellectual capital/intellectual property subjects are interconnected but often explored under different branches of science, it is advisable, even if one's interests revolve only around intellectual property law, to at least grasp the holistic picture of intellectual capital in management and financial economics, and of intangible assets and goodwill in accounting literature. Scholars sometimes cannot tell the subtle differences, if any, and this study aims to bring clarity to the relevant terminology. To achieve such a goal, the research tightens the basics, even if this means going back to the defining of terms. The resulting terminology should be comparable across different scientific fields, while building strongly on established knowledge – the concurrence with the existing body of intellectual capital/intellectual property-related literature is mostly, if not completely, preserved.

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