The recognition of the rights attached to some forms of intellectual property is a contested domain in legal frameworks, such as the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement. The same can be said of economic frameworks, such as accounting which attempt to recognise and value intellectual property for the purposes of providing information for decision making. In this paper we explore the discourse of accounting in the recognition of intellectual property as an asset according to the new International Accounting Standards. We then contrast the legal and accounting discourses in which intellectual property rights are acknowledged, concluding that these discourses are not necessarily aligned.
The effects and implications of the development of a global regime for accounting for intangibles may eventually harmonise the accounting treatment for intellectual property but does not resolve the contentious issue of the inconsistencies in the recognition of intellectual property rights under different frameworks and the implications for economic decision making.