Protecting Your Startup Company’s Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property

If you are the owner of a startup company and you wish to protect your intellectual property, a lawyer can guide you through the process from start to finish. There are intellectual property laws in place that allow you to preserve and protect your unique copyright, trademark, patent, or trade secret. Though the legal methods vary from one type of intellectual property to the next, a lawyer from a law firm can ensure that all requirements are met and that the documentation is robust and fully compliant.

If you represent a company and require a transfer of intellectual property rights from an employee to the company, they can assist you with this as well. It is also not unusual for a startup company’s founders to have intellectual property that they developed and wish to transfer ownership of the intellectual property to the business entity for commercialization purposes.

Intellectual Property Assignment Agreements

An intellectual property assignment agreements may be referred to as an IP transfer agreement or a rights agreement. It is a contractual agreement to transfer intellectual property rights from one entity or individual (the assignor) to another entity or individual (the assignee). This can occur in many forms. Here are three common examples of how an intellectual property assignment agreement may come about:

·         An employee or an independent contractor in the course of their work for a company may have their rights to an intellectual property assigned to the company if they have discovered, created, or even came up with the idea for the intellectual property.

·         The founders of a startup company wish to use a contractual agreement to transfer intellectual property rights from an existing property to the new company.

·         A third party wishes to sell their rights to an intellectual property to a company in exchange for money or another type of consideration.

Provisions of an Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement

Intellectual property assignment agreements vary in content based on the circumstances involved and the deciding factors that dictate what must be included. A knowledgeable intellectual property lawyer from our firm can meet with you to determine what should be included in order to protect your best interests. Typically, part of the agreement includes the following:

·         Words of agreement. This identifies which parties are involved and the purpose for the intellectual property assignment agreement.

·         Assignment provision. This states that the owner of the intellectual property (the assignor) is transferring ownership of it to the assignee. There must be something of value or consideration paid to the assignor by the assignee as part of the exchange. It can be money, a job, real property, or something else. The assignment provision will acknowledge the payment and specify the details.

·         Definition of the intellectual property. This specifies the nature of the intellectual property. The intellectual property might be a trade secret, an invention, or something else.

·         Intellectual property rights. This specifies the rights of the assignor and the assignee in reference to the intellectual property.

To learn more about intellectual property rights and for assistance with transferring ownership, talk to a trademark attorney.