Home » Helpful info » General Info

Transfer of ownership

The transfer of ownership in intellectual property is usually effected by a formal assignment. The whole, or part, of an intellectual property right can be assigned.

Where the intellectual property right is registered, the new owner should record the change of ownership on the appropriate Patent, Design, or Trade Mark Register.

Assignments of part of an intellectual property right often occur when partners or investors are brought in to assist in the development or commercialisation of a new business venture. An assignment of all rights in intellectual property usually occurs when a business is sold, or when a company is formed to commercialise an independent inventor’s intellectual property.

When buying a business, a purchaser should always enquire whether any patents, designs, trade marksor other intellectual property rights form part of the business being sold. A formal deed of assignment must be executed by the vendor to give effect to the assignment of any patents, designs, trade marks or copyright associated with the business. Copyright may exist in products and promotional materials which form part of a business. An assignment of copyright must be in writing. It cannot be implied.

The ability to prove ownership of intellectual property rights is crucial if a purchaser has to subsequently prevent unfair competition against the newly acquired business.

In addition to providing advice on the need for, and requirements of, an assignment, we can also conduct due diligence on the intellectual property being purchased, including advising you on its scope.