Accounting for trademarks – indefiniteness is no more than an interim solution

By Christof Binder, Anke Nestler and Robert B Morrison

While valuators tend to describe trademarks as having an indefinite life, this is seldom the case. However, there are various ways to estimate a mark’s remaining useful life, which can be beneficial for accounting

The value of an intangible asset is based on its useful life, among other factors, such as its ability to generate cash inflow and risk. For trademarks, valuators regularly opt for an indefinite life when there are no obvious factors to limit the mark’s future economic life. However, almost all brands are finite and only a small proportion have the potential to last for a hundred years or more. Assuming indefiniteness can have two serious effects – one relating to value and one to accounting. This article discusses such effects and suggests some guidelines and tools to analyse the lifecycle of a brand and to estimate its remaining useful life (RUL). It also presents new research that examines indefinite-lived trademarks in European jurisdictions and traces their reporting over the past 10 years.

Want to read more?

Register to access two of our subscriber only articles per month

Subscribe for unlimited access to articles, in-depth analysis and research from the World Trademark Review experts

Already registered? Log in

What our customers are saying

World Trademark Review is one of my favourite conference organisers. The topics and themes are always relevant, on point and designed to give me practical information about real-time industry issues. I look forward to all of the World Trademark Review events and highly recommend them to my industry colleagues.

Jennifer Chung
Assistant general counsel
Time Inc


Subscribe to World Trademark Review to receive access to the full range of trademark intelligence, insight, and case law, as well as our guides, rankings and daily market insight delivered to your inbox.

Why subscribe?


Register for more free content

  • Read more World Trademark Review blogs and articles
  • Receive the editor's weekly review by email
Register now  
Issue 74