An intellectual property assignment agreement is a key legal document that investors look for when deciding whether to fund you.
Startup founders should have complete ownership, in writing, of all intellectual property assets during the formation of the company.
Not only is the legal ownership a requirement for most investors, but it can also keep patent trolls and companies that want to copy your products at bay.
A couple of key points should be included in the agreement for the best legal protection.
The assignment provision requires employees to assign their inventions to the employer, so the employer has total ownership of the intellectual property.
This provision could be narrowed to employee inventions only or broadened to include nearly anything the employee creates.If you are hiring an employee to invent or develop a work product, the rights to those inventions and work products are yours if they were created at your request and expense.This last is an important point when hiring a software developer.The owner of the intellectual property rights may transfer all or part of his rights - e.g.the copyright owner could assign only some of his economic prerogatives.Although the specific requirements for intellectual property rights assignments depend on the particular situation and vary from country to country, in most jurisdictions a valid IP assignment must at a minimum include the following: The assignment of intellectual property rights can be made as a separate transaction of intangible assets, or it may occur as part of much larger acquisitions of assets such as sales of business assets, mergers or stock purchases.However, ownership of intangible assets is not affected by the mere acquisition of shares in a company.It is worth noting that these agreements are also known as Rights Agreements or IP Transfer Agreements.The intention behind the Agreement is to transfer ownership of specific intellectual property from one party to another.However, it wouldn’t hurt to have that developer sign an intellectual property assignment agreement, just to prevent problems in the future.There is no standard form for assignment agreements so each must be carefully worded and signed by the employee or developer for it to be binding.