An Intellectual Property Agreement (“IP Agreement”), also called an Intellectual Property Transfer Agreement or Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement, consummates and formalizes an agreement between two companies for the purchase and sale of intellectual property rights. The Intellectual Property being purchased can consist of copyrights, trademarks, moral rights, and/or patents. (Moral rights are recognized in Europe, but not the United States. Thus, a transfer of moral rights would only be applicable in an international agreement.) As opposed to an IP License Agreement, the purchaser or assignee in an IP Transfer Agreement takes total and exclusive ownership and control of the IP rights, and is free to use those rights however he or she wishes.
When drafting an IP Agreement, be sure to consider including the following provisions:
1. Assignment and Waiver of Moral Rights. Moral rights, recognized in Europe but not the U.S., involve general rights in respect to the intellectual property. In this provisions, the assignor must irrevocably and in perpetuity waive, in favor of Assignee, all moral rights in and to the transferred intellectual property, including the following:
* a. The right to restrain or claim damages for any distortion, mutilation, or other modification of the transferred IP;
* b. The right to be associate with the transferred IP; and
* c. The right to restrain use or reproduction of the transferred IP
* d. This waiver shall be binding upon the heirs, executors, employees, directors and all successors involved in the creation of the IP.
2. Representations and Warranties. It is important to include a representations and warranties paragraph in the agreement where the assignor promises that it has the full authority to assign the transferred intellectual property, free and clear of any material encumbrances, liens, or claims against the property. The assignor must also promise that it has the full authority to waive all moral rights.
3. Non-disclosure. The assignor should promise, for itself, its officers, directors, shareholders, etc., that it agrees that, except with the assignee’s express prior written consent, that it will not disseminate, disclose, or use, or permit to be used, any of the transferred intellectual property, since upon execution of the agreement the IP is property of the assignee.
4. Damages Inadequate. The assignee may want to include a provision whereby the assignee must concede that damages at law by itself may not be an adequate remedy for a breach of the agreement. In the event of a breach, the assignee’s rights may be enforceable by specific performance, injunction, or other equitable remedy, as opposed to remedies at law.
5. Assignment of the Agreement. The assignee may wish to require their prior written consent before the assignor is allowed to assign the agreement to a third party.
6. Governing Law. The parties should agree which state will govern the agreement, and if they desire, could include a binding arbitration provision in an effort to seek a speedy resolution to any dispute.
These are the key provisions that must be included in an Intellectual Property Agreement. To read and download actual IP agreements, please visit the agreement section of this website.