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How to Assign a Patent Application to Your Startup

Detail from an illustration of a machine by Leonardo da Vinci symbolizing a patent application

Detail from an illustration of a machine by Leonardo da Vinci

Your invention is so novel and non-obvious that you have submitted a patent application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Good for you!

Furthermore, you have formed a legal entity to turn the patent, once it issues, into a revenue stream. (See Should I form an LLC or a corporation?)

This post explains how you can assign the patent application to your new entity so your startup company can begin conducting business.

Prepare an Assignment Agreement

First, you need to prepare an Assignment Agreement. Most importantly, the agreement must assign not just the application, itself, but any patents that are issued with respect to the invention.

Here is an example of operative assignment language adapted from Drafting Patent License Agreements by Brian G. Brunsvold and Dennis P. O’Reilly:

I hereby sell and assign to ABC Company the entire right, title and interest in and to the [name of invention] invented by me as described in U.S. patent application number __________, and any and all applications for patent and patents in any and all countries, including all divisions, continuations,reissues and extensions thereof, and all rights of priority resulting from the filing of said U.S. application.

Record Assignment of the Patent Application

Second, you need to record assignment of the application with the Patent and Trademark Office.

You can do this via the Electronic Patent Assignment System (EPAS).

Related post: How Can I Switch from a Sole Proprietorship to a Corporation?

Photo credit: HaMyT via flickr

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law  +1 510-547-0545  dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.