Intellectual Property (IP) can be defined as intangible assets owned and legally protected by a company or individual. Properly protected IP may be used to prevent third party use use or implementation without consent of the owner. Many different things can be classified as IP and IP can include software, artwork, inventions, discoveries, designs, and music recordings, to name a few.
There are a number of options available to owners of intellectual property. They may choose to retain and use their own IP, may decide to sell the IP for various reasons, or may license their rights to third parties. You may be able to purchase ownership rights when they are offered for sale. However, it is important that you have correct information, due proper due diligence, and have proper agreements to ensure assets are transferred appropriately.
To help you out, we have discussed everything you need to know before buying intellectual property.
Types of Intellectual Property
These are the main types of intellectual property:
Patents (Utility Patents)
Patents protect inventions. This can include products, methods, systems, improvements on existing inventions, and more.
Industrial Designs (Design Patents)
Industrial Designs, also known as design patents, protect the specific look of a product as opposed to the function of the product.
Trademarks are granted for logos, color schemes, words, music, sounds and symbols used by a company. Some examples of trademarks include the Facebook logo and the font used by Dunkin Donuts.
Copyrights are granted for original works like songs, poems or stories. The difference between copyrights and patents is that copyrights are awarded to tangible items.
Plant Breeders Rights (Plant Patents)
Plant Breeders Rights protect new plant varieties. There are a number of requirements for a plant to be eligible for this type of protection.
Buying Intellectual Property
As mentioned earlier, owners may decide to sell the rights and ownership of the intellectual property. While it may be possible to complete a purchase without legal assistance, there are risks to doing so since there are formalities that must be completed for the proper transfer of rights.
The assistance of a professional can be invaluable as they can help ensure proper legal documentation and that the required steps to properly transfer ownership and payments occurs correctly. They can also assist with due diligence to ensure that you are getting what you believe you are getting and that the person selling to you is actually entitled to sell to you. In the event of unforeseen issues, having a professional in your corner can be invaluable.
If you want to learn more about buying or selling intellectual property, contact us.