Inventors are often presented with many opportunities to sell or transfer ownership of their patents. Usually, a proposal of this sort is a happy and joyful occurrence, meaning that the inventor is nearing a payday and receiving affirmation that their idea or invention could provide a valuable or meaningful contribution to the world.
But sometimes, other situations can arise that may force an inventor to entertain the idea of transferring ownership of their patents, and that typically involves a medical crisis, or worse, death.
We can’t predict when we might become sick, disabled, or pass away. Fortunately, there are ways to transfer patent ownership to your loved ones either during your lifetime or as an inheritance after death, to ensure that someone of your choosing continues to benefit from the rights and protections of your life’s work.
Transferring Ownership of a Patent During Your Lifetime
If you desire to transfer your patent(s) during your lifetime, you’ll want to retain an experienced patent attorney that can help you walk through all the legal steps of doing so. If it is a straightforward transfer, your patent attorney will help you to record an “assignment” or other ownership change with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Assignment Services Division. If you are actually selling your patent to a successor, or working out a royalty agreement to go along with your transfer of ownership, your attorney can also help you draft those terms and negotiate a fair agreement.
Transferring a Patent After Your Death
After you die, your patent will be passed down to your loved ones according to the terms set forth in your will or trust. If you do not have a will or trust that covers your patent(s) at the time of your passing, your patent(s) will be transferred to your next of kin via interstate laws. What this ultimately means is that the government, and not you, will decide who becomes the owner of your valuable ideas and intellectual assets. If this is not acceptable to you, ask your patent attorney for a referral to a good estate planning attorney in your local area that can help you put a proper plan in place.
Whether you are facing an unexpected illness or contemplating how your intellectual property will ultimately be passed down to the people you love at the end of your life, we invite you to contact our Charleston and New York patent lawyers at (888) 666-0062 for assistance. We will work side-by-side with you through these complex decisions so that you will have the peace of mind knowing that your creative work will wind up in the right hands, no matter what the future holds.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.
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