When it comes to selling your intellectual property, there are two primary types of agreements that are used: assignments and licensing. Both types of agreements can have significant consequences, and should be carefully reviewed before finalizing, regardless of whether you're a software programmer selling your latest program to a large company or a writer submitting finished web content.

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What to Watch for When You Assign IP

An assignment of intellectual property is the transfer of intellectual property rights from one party to another, usually in exchange for monetary compensation. The transfer is complete, which means that once another party owns the rights to your intellectual property, you will no longer be able to use it. This makes paying attention to the terms of the Assignment Agreement particularly important. If you plan to use any of the intellectual property, ensure that the transfer agreement includes a provision that will enable you to do so. If you are simply transferring the finished work, it is good business practice to tie the actual transfer of property to reception of payment. Otherwise you are risking losing control of your IP without compensation.

Things You Need to Consider When You License IP

Similar in principle to assignment, licensing has one major difference. You never relinquish ownership of your IP, but instead, permit another party to use it without infringing on your rights. You still maintain full ownership over the IP. While both intellectual property agreements are similar, licensing requires more regulations. When working on a Licensing Agreement, make sure to specify the terms of the license plainly and unambiguously. In particular, pay attention to the extent of use permitted by the license and the way you should be compensated for licensing.

Don't Forget That Scale Is Irrelevant

While it might seem that both assignments and licensing would only apply to larger companies, you should remember that they do not have to be formal. Informal IP agreements may be legally binding as well, so make sure to keep a backup copy of everything concerning transferring and using your IP, especially if you're a freelancer. Even an email can construe a legally binding agreement.

Get started Start Your Licensing Agreement Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.


Get started Start Your Licensing Agreement Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.