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Can you change the owner of a trademark?

Photo of Jan Buza

Written by Jan Buza

Co-founder of Trama

Yes, changing a trademark's owner is possible. It requires the preparation of a document called the trademark assignment, which specifies the assignor (current owner), the assignee (the new owner) and the details of the transfer. The assignment is then recorded with the corresponding IPO.

In the US, which distinguishes between use-in-commerce and intent-to-use trademarks, intent-to-use applications are generally not transferable due to the original applicant's obligation to submit the specimen of use (proving the intent to use the trademark in commerce was genuine and the applicant didn't file the application for the sole purpose of selling it). However, certain exceptions to this rule exist.

While the idea of a trademark assignment can look pretty straightforward, a lot can go into defining what is actually being transferred. For example, an assignment can be complete or partial and be granted with or without goodwill, all of which define different levels of what the assignee will be permitted to use and in connection to which goods and services. Assignments can also get quite complex in case of mergers.

If you're interested in transferring the ownership of your trademark, our legal services offering includes the preparation of an assignment agreement.

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