The concept of asset in Lithuanian law

Asta Jakutytė-Sungailienė

Abstract


This article focuses on the abstract legal concept of asset, trying to indicate what objects are included in this concept. The article also provides a brief overview of the development of the term “asset” in law in the historical perspective. A thing is the most elementary object to comprehend and describe, thus a considerable attention is drawn to this kind of unit of asset in this article. However, other objects of civil rights are analyzed more extensively next to the analysis of the concept ant nature of a thing. Such objects of civil rights as money, bonds, shares, intellectual property and intellectual capital evolved during the course of time. The analysis of legal acts of Lithuania shows that there is no general concept of asset given by the legislator, though separate legal acts have definitions of assets, which do not elaborate, nor generalize the typical features of every unit of asset. Discussing the concept of asset it is impossible to avoid the consideration of the interplay of such separate concepts as “asset”, “property”, “object of property rights”, as these concepts are often used as convertible terms. Due to complex economic relationship in the modern world, not only new intangible objects of property evolve, but existing objects are merged together by functional purpose to compose a self-sufficient unit of asset known as proprietary complex. The Civil Code of Lithuania establishes that a firm as a proprietary complex is considered as a mass of proprietary, financial and intangible resources, its rights and obligations. The article also pays attention to the changes of the concept of asset determined by knowledge based economy, when all intangible objects (information, knowledge, human resources) generating additional value of a company are considered as assets. Intellectual capital is considered as sum of information and knowledge, which significance in the modern world steadily rises becoming the new most valuable asset of a company. Consequently the conclusion of the article points out that the classical concept of the asset, e.g. considering only tangible objects as an asset, does not meet the needs of the modern civil law, thus the broader concept of asset, e.g. considering all objects having objective value and the ability to circulate in the civil turnover, conquers the classical one.

Keywords


asset; intellectual capital; proprietary complex

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236