Assignment and Delegation in Contract Law
Assignment and delegation are terms that have specific meanings in U.S. contract law. I am basing this post on a Quora answer that I wrote recently. Please see What are assignment and delegation in contract law?
In contract law, “assignment” can have a narrower meaning and a broader meaning. To start, I will discuss the narrower meaning. (more…)
What is a Stock Assignment Separate from Certificate?
I recently introduced a client to the document called a Stock Assignment Separate from Certificate. While well-known to business lawyers, this document is not known to most business owners.
The client was implementing employee and management stock plans. To provide stock for the plans, the corporation was going to repurchase shares from the founders.
The CFO asked whether and how the founders should complete and sign the assignment provision on the back of their share certificates.
Sometimes You *Shouldn’t* Assign All Rights
I have written, on several occasions, about the importance of assigning copyrights (and other intellectual property rights) when work is done by an independent contractor. (See, e.g., Independent Contractors: How to Assign Copyrights.) Sometimes, however – as suggested in a comment to What is a Derivative Work, and Why should I Care? – it is appropriate not to assign all rights.
Present Assignment is Important for Patents, Too
In “Copyright: Why You Need Presence of Mind about Present Assignments“, I wrote about why copyright assignments should be expressed as present assignments (e.g., “I hereby assign”) rather than obligations to assign in the future (e.g., “I hereby agree to assign”). This suggestion applies to assignment of patents, too.
A researcher at Stanford University, in collaboration with Roche predecessor Cetus, developed methods for quantifying Human Immunodeficiency Virus in human blood samples, and correlating those measurements to the therapeutic effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs.
Copyright: Why You Need Presence of Mind about Present Assignments
In Independent Contractors: How to Assign Copyrights, I provided sample language for an independent contractor’s assignment of copyrights to a client. This post explains why the present assignment aspect of that language is critical.
Here (with emphasis added) is the relevant portion of the pivotal sentence:
Contractor hereby irrevocably assigns, transfers and conveys to Client all of its right, title and interest in and to the Deliverables, including complete, unconditional and worldwide ownership of all intellectual property rights in any draft or final version of the Deliverables.
How to Assign a Patent Application to Your Startup
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. (more…)
How Can I Switch from a Sole Proprietorship to a Corporation?
This post is based on (and is an edited version of) a Quora question and my answer. Q. How do you switch from a sole proprietorship to a corporation? You do, of course, want to keep all your intellectual property and brand and street cred and so on. Can you treat that as equity?
A. Yes, you can treat the assets of your sole proprietorship as the consideration for which your shares are issued. You need to create an agreement by which you (as an individual) assign those assets (including the intellectual property rights therein) to the corporation. This is, of course, a friendly transaction, so the assignment agreement can be simple – no need for endless pages of legal boilerplate to protect against litigation that never will occur.
Related post: How to Assign a Patent Application to Your Startup Company
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.
Can I Assign My LLC Membership?
Recently I have received several questions about assigning LLC (limited liability company) memberships. Here is a brief summary of California law on this topic.
Section references below have been updated to reflect California’s new LLC law that took effect on January 1, 2014 (see RULLCA Brings New LLC Laws to California in 2014).
The applicable statutes are Corporations Code Sections 17705.01-17705.04. If assignment of membership interests (known as “transferable interests” under RULLCA) is not covered in the LLC’s Articles of Organization or Operating Agreement, the the following statutory provisions apply:
Independent Contractors: How to Assign Copyrights
After reading If You Don’t Set the Terms of a Copyright License, a Court Will, a (non-lawyer) friend wrote: “I work with subcontractors on a regular basis in the creative area (photographers, graphic artists, website designers, etc.).? Do you know where I can find a sample [copyright assignment provision]?”
Can I assign a DBA to my new LLC?
This post is based on an answer that I provided on Avvo. The user wanted to know whether he could assign a fictitious business name (FBN) – or, colloquially, assign a DBA, short for “doing business as” – from his sole-proprietor business to a limited liability company (LLC) that he was about to form.
He probably would assign all of the sole-proprietor assets (and liabilities) to the new LLC. However, there are special considerations if one wants to assign a DBA / FBN. (more…)
Work Made for Hire – a Term Made for Confusion
As Alexander Pope wrote in An Essay on Criticism (1711), “A little Learning is a dang’rous Thing“. That certainly pertains to the legal concept of a “work made for hire” (WMFH).
People who have some knowledge of WMFH typically believe that it means the transfer of all rights in a work from the creator to a purchaser. So, for example, if an independent contractor writes software for a company, then according to this belief, the company will own all rights to the software if the parties’ contract says the software is a work made for hire. This belief is wrong! The following is an explanation of what work made for hire really means under copyright law and how parties actually can arrange for transfer of all rights in a work.