Assignment of registered designs

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What's an assignment of registered designs and when do you need it?

Use this template assignment agreement to transfer your ownership of one or more design rights to someone else. Design rights protect others from copying how your products look, including their shape, configuration, or decoration. (How something works, e.g. technically or mechanically, may be something eligible for patent protection). There are two types of design rights: registered ones and unregistered ones.Use this template assignment agreement to permanently transfer ownership of your registered designs (and any that you’ve applied to register) to someone else. If you don’t want to permanently transfer ownership, you should consider our licence for registered designs, which enables you to retain ownership and to charge a fee (a royalty) for use of the designs by someone else.

To be able to assign registered designs (or to licence them), you’ll need to demonstrate that you own them, or that you’re in the process of applying for registration and ownership. Your ownership position will affect the wording that is used in your agreement, such as whether you’re assigning the designs with ‘full title guarantee’, or what’s called an assignment ‘subject to encumbrances’, which puts your assignee on notice that you may not entirely own these IP rights. It will also affect the warranties that you may be expected to give in this type of transaction – our template contains built-in guidance to help you make the right drafting choices here and to know when and if you might want to take legal advice in relation to the deal.

The assignment document is produced in the form of a deed. Deeds are contracts, but they have more exacting signature provisions, incorporating witnesses of signatures, which means they tend to be used in certain circumstances where a straightforward contract would be considered insufficient.

The point of including the witnesses is to make clear, unequivocally, that both the signing parties fully understood what they were signing and that they intended to agree to the terms set out in the deed. Powers of attorney, transfers of property, including intellectual property and other valuable items will usually be done by way of a deed. It’s considered the most appropriate way to evidence that the IP owner fully intends to transfer valuable property to someone else.