How to Buy Patent Rights

By Jennifer Williams

Companies make millions every year by manufacturing patented items, but before the first dollar of profit is made, the manufacturer must secure rights to the patents themselves. The manufacturer must either develop and patent the items or buy rights to existing patents. Finding patents that fit the manufacturer's need is critical. Once identified, the seller and buyer must transfer the patent rights and register the sale with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Find a Patent to Purchase

Step 1

Choose the patent to purchase by reviewing current and back issues of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Official Gazette, a weekly publication announcing newly issued patents. Individual announcements include patent rights owner contact information and a basic schematic of the patented invention. Contact the patent owner, ask if she is willing to sell her rights in the invention and negotiate terms for the purchase.

Step 2

Browse patent auction house listings, either in hard copy or online if a suitable patent isn't available directly from the inventor through the Gazette. Identify the patent you want to buy and study the auction procedures for the particular auction house holding the rights. Begin bidding for the patent according to the rules of the house.

File a provisional application for patent online. Get Started Now

Step 3

As an alternative to finding patents through the Gazette or auction houses, contact attorney members of the American Intellectual Property Law Association and inquire about patents that fit your needs. AIPLA members represent patent right owners as part of their practice and often know of patents available for sale or owners who might be willing to sell. If you reach attorneys who do not have this information, ask for referrals to colleagues who might.

Buy the Patent Rights

Step 1

Draft a sales contract, or conveyance, for the patent. Describe the patent in a way that adequately identifies the specific patent being transferred. Include all sales terms, including purchase price, terms and date of payment, and the date of transfer of rights from seller to buyer. Alternatively, retain a patent attorney to draft the sales contract or use a pre-printed form available from an online legal document provider.

Step 2

Sign, or execute, the conveyance in the presence of a notary public. Both seller and buyer should sign in the presence of the notary and in the presence of each other to ensure proper notarization of the document.

Step 3

File the notarized conveyance with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office within three months of its execution. As with a mortgage on real estate, filing the conveyance makes the transfer of rights public record.

File a provisional application for patent online. Get Started Now
How to Fill Out a Provisional Patent Application

References

Related articles

How to Get Licensing for Shirts

Anyone producing T-shirts or other apparel for sale must get permission in order to use any image, trademark, logo or design that is protected by copyright. If the copyright has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, then the copyright holder has the right to sue for damages if his creation is used for profit without his permission (there is no enforcement without registration). Thus it is very important to secure that permission, which in most cases will involve a licensing arrangement.

How to Purchase a Copyright

You can obtain ownership rights of a copyright by negotiating a copyright transfer or assignment for a fee. Alternatively, and more commonly, you can obtain a license to use, but not own, a copyright-protected work, such as a book, a song or even a film, for some fee arrangement. In the U.S., works are protected by copyright as soon as they are created and fixed in a tangible form. You have to get permission from the copyright holder to use the work or purchase the copyright, regardless of registration.

How to Sell an Idea Without a Patent

A patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office provides legal protection to inventors. Once an idea or invention is patented, no one can use that invention without the patent holder's permission. Because of this, many companies will not purchase the rights to an idea or invention unless they know it is patent protected and no one else can sell the same invention. Obtaining a patent can be very expensive and time consuming, but there are ways that you can sell your idea or invention without a patent.

Start here. LegalZoom. Legal help is here. LLCs. Corporations. Patents. Attorney help.

Related articles

How to License a Patent & Royalties

A patent places the rights to your invention securely in your hands. Now you have to bring the product to market. That ...

How to Transfer a Trademark

A trademark is a brand name. The brand can include a word, a symbol, a device or a combination of those elements. A ...

Ownership vs. Inventorship of a Patent

A patent grants the owner of the patent a temporary legal monopoly on a bundle of rights related to an invention, ...

Legal Document That Protects the Rights of an Owner's Invention

The owner of an invention can protect his right to make, use and sell his invention by obtaining a patent. Once an ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED