Selling your intellectual property

When your business grows, so does the financial worth of your intellectual property and just like any other form of property, your intellectual property can be purchased, sold or transferred.

Many large corporations and businesses have a number of intellectual property rights which include but are not limited to patents, copyrights and trademarks. Intellectual property that is owned by a business is generally considered to be an intangible asset which is recorded on a companies balance sheet. Therefore, when a business wishes to sell on, the intellectual property of that business is generally sold on as well.

Selling a Trade mark

Selling a trade mark would require the trade mark owner and buyer to complete what is known as a ‘trade mark assignment’. This document must be in writing and signed by both parties (the assignee and assignor). In order to complete the transfer successfully, the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) must be notified by way of a TM16 form accompanied by the assignment and payment of relevant fees (£50 for form TM16 only).

Selling a Copyright

A UK copyright may be sold or transferred as long as the transfer is documented by way of copyright assignment which is in writing and is signed by both parties.  A copyright assignment will detail a list of works (or future works) that are being transferred for example, the design of a product. However, selling a work or copy of the work doesn’t always transfer the copyright a whole and it is in instead assigned partially. For example, the owner of the copyright could assign the right to copy the written works to one writer, and assign the right to make translations of the work to another writer.

Selling a Patent

Similar to trade marks and copyrights, a patent can be sold by way of a patent assignment which requires the assignor (owner) to the transfer the ownership of the patent to the assignee by way of a signed written assignment. Although selling a patent could see the seller get a large lump sum in payment, the owner of a patent could also license it as it may be more profitable in the long run should the invention become a success. Like trade marks, if the ownership of a  patent is being sold by way of a patent assignment, the UKIPO will need to be formally notified of the transfer within six months of the parties signing the agreement.

Therefore if you own a business and are looking to sell your intellectual property rights, it is of vital importance to carry out the steps above.

Here at Lawdit we can assist you in ensuring the transfer of your intellectual property is a smooth process. Contact us today if you’d like further information.

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