Like other forms of property, patents and designs can be bought, sold and mortgaged. They can also be licensed – that is, one can give others permission to use them, usually subject to a fee.
Such transactions are – quite properly – commercially driven. The timing and level of our involvement varies hugely from one case to another. But the legal niceties need to be observed.
Checks on the actual status of intellectual property are vital before transactions are completed, and in our experience it is surprising how often the results of such checks cause surprise.
Assignments, licences and other deals should, chiefly for the protection of the beneficiary, be recorded at the relevant Patent Offices.
Licensing often raises a whole range of practical issues that need to be thought through, agreed upon between the parties and set out in a clear agreement.
All of these are part of our day to day practice as patent attorneys.