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Charitable Donations of Intellectual Property

One may want to consider donating intellectual property to a non-profit institution, such as a charity or university. Such a donation may have tax advantages for the donor. In this regard, the American Jobs Creation Act, which was enacted on October 22, 2004, allows tax deductions for donated intellectual property. Previously, donors could deduct the fair market value of the items, including their potential to bring in future income, whether or not the charity ever realized the income. However, under the Jobs Creation Act, donors are now limited to deducting either the amount they spent to create the item of intellectual property or its fair market value, whichever is smaller. The Jobs Creation Act also requires companies and individuals to provide an appraisal before deducting donations of intellectual property worth more than $5,000. These intellectual property gift provisions apply to gifts made after June 3, 2004.

There are other reasons to donate intellectual property in appropriate circumstances. For example, a business owner may want to donate intellectual property if the business no longer sells the product or provides the service covered by the intellectual property. Also, donation of intellectual property, such as patents, allows the business owner to avoid maintenance fees and internal administrative costs associated with keeping a patent active. One should consult his tax advisor and intellectual property attorney in any particular situation

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