What does Assignment mean?

Assignment refers to the transfer of a copyright, patent, or trademark from the owner or holder to another party, whether the other party is an individual or an entity. The party receiving the copyright, patent, or trademark is the assignee; the person or entity transferring the copyright, patent, or trademark is the assignor.

The owner of a patent or trademark should record the transfer with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Likewise, the owner should record the transfer of a copyright with the United States Copyright Office. Both offices have defined processes for recording the assignment of such rights to another party.

The assignment of such rights does not typically mean the assignor can no longer use the right but rather that the assignee now possesses the right in addition to the assignor. Therefore, the legal transfer of an assignment should include certain assets or goodwill that exist for the support of the right or are otherwise bound to the right.

For example, assume the assignor has the rights to a product sold to the public that the public generally considers better than products sold by its competitors. The assignor has achieved this distinction through a specific production process. If the assignor assigns the right to manufacture the product to another entity, the assignor typically gives the entity the means to manufacture the product to a standard similar to that produced by the assignor. The assignee must continue to manufacture the product in that manner to maintain the goodwill already established for the product in the eyes of the public by the assignor.

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