How Can I Assign My Intellectual Property?

While you have probably already registered your intellectual property (IP) it might be important to consider intellectual property assignment and how you, and your business can benefit from it. 

Table of Contents

Why is Intellectual Property Important?

Claiming your intellectual property through IP ownership can protect your ideas, designs, artistic works or inventions while giving you the exclusive right to usage. This is why it is capable of being sold through intellectual p[roerty assignment making it a valuable asset to have.

You, as the creator of the intellectual property, can register it with the correct patents, trademarks, design or plant breeder’s rights. The different types of intellectual property have different governing legislation; for example the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) covers the regulations for copyrights.

Assignment

From here, the assignment of intellectual property is up to you, which means you can keep the IP rights or sell them. Obtaining the IP through sale or transfer of the IP rights from the current owner is a process is known as ‘assigning’ intellectual property. If you are looking for the assignment of copyright, Lawpath provides a Copyright Assignment template to assist the process. This document is perfect for business owners, startups and freelancers.

What is Intellectual Property assignment?

Assignment of rights is when the owner of the intellectual property sells or transfers their ownership rights to another individual, individuals or businesses (the assignee). This occurs within an IP Assignment agreement

IP assignment different to licensing rights which is when the owner (licensor); for example a registered design grants permission to the licensee but reserves an interest in the property. This is usually done through a licensing agreement. However, the owner (the assignor) fully transfers their rights and interest in the property.

Intellectual property rights are important if you’re starting or running a business because you have a contract between the owner and assignee. Due to this, the value of the businesses and individuals are protected.

If you are thinking of starting a business, your Employment Agreement or employment contract should contain assignment of any property ownership rights related to or created by employees under employment at your business.

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What does an Intellectual Property assignment agreement contain?

An assignment agreement in Australia is a contract that includes the rights and responsibilities of the assignor and assignee. It also covers your legal obligations and includes a warranties clause to protect all parties involved. Some key points covered in a IP assignment agreement can include:

  • Who is involved;
  • What property is being transferred;
  • Costs; and 
  • Terms. 

Additionally, payment, Goods and Services Tax (GST), warranties and indemnities are all covered by an assignment agreement. However, they do have an expiry date which is agreed upon by the assignor and assignee. 

Effect of Intellectual Property Assignment

When you transfer your rights to IP, you guarantee yourself payment for you asset. However, when you do this, you transfer ownership meaning that you no longer have the right to use the IP or profit off it. 

Who can own Intellectual Property?

An individual, several individuals or a business can own intellectual property rights. While you may  create intellectual property it does not necessarily mean that you own these rights. Some employers have ownership of employees’ intellectual property in relation to their business. Therefore, it is always important to check what is in the terms of your employment agreement.

Steps To Complete an Intellectual Property Assignment

  1. Precisely choose the IP you would like to assign.
  2. Learn about the other party that you would like to assign the IP to. 
  3. Craft an Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement to set out the terms of the contract. 
  4. Consider the amount you would like to be paid for the IP and how long you are willing to wait for payment. 
  5. Make the assignor’s representations and warranties to ensure the IP is capable of being assigned. 
  6. Ensure the assignee understands their representations and warranties. 
  7. Ensure all documents are correct. 
  8. Create and understand any future obligations in relation to the IP. 

Conclusion

Intellectual property assignment through IP Australia involves the completion of an agreement to remove ownership rights to an assignee for sale or otherwise. As a result assignment agreements are important to protect the value of businesses for ideas created by employees during employment. Therefore, it benefits and protects an assignee to have their legal rights and responsibilities in writing for assignment of IP.

If you need any assistance when protecting your intellectual property, reach out to one of Lawpath’s experienced Australian intellectual property lawyers to assist you with your IP legal needs. They will provide you with the best legal advice and so you know that you have covered all your legal requirements. 

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