The Difference Between Assigning and Licensing Intellectual Property

Published: 08th July 2010
Views: N/A

Do you know the difference between assigning and licensing a patent? If not, here are some basic guidelines to these principles.

The main difference between assigning a patent and licensing a patent is important. Assigning IP Rights is basically selling the complete ownership interest in that patent, trademark, or copyright. And the licensing of the Intellectual Property is like "renting" that IP.

Assignment of IP Rights can be made in whole or in part. In other words, you may assign away 50%, 1%, or 99% of your interest in that IP. Assignments may be integrated into a contract, or may be drafted separately. And the assignment of Intellectual Property can be fairly straight forward.

By way of contrast, the licensing of Intellectual Property is essentially "renting" those Patents, Trademarks or Copyrights. In the most strict legal sense, a license for IP is basically a promise not to sue the licensee for infringement of those Patents, Trademarks or Copyrights which belong to you. These licenses are typically time-constrained. They may be made for a fixed number of months, years, decades, or contingent upon a specific event.

Assignments, like deeds, are not time sensitive. Once you assign those IP rights, your rights in those Intellectual Property are gone forever. In other words, you cannot assign those rights in your Patents, Trademarks or Copyrights for a period of months, years, or decades.

For this reason, an assignment of IP will be more valuable than a simple license. As such, any assignment you make should be duly recorded with the USPTO, Library of Congress, or your Secretary of State. Moreover, it probably would not hurt to have the assignment notarized in the event the IP is very valuable.

Report this article Ask About This Article

More to Explore