Can You Purchase a Trademark?

Question: Can you purchase a trademark?

Answer: Yes, you can purchase a trademark from another person or entity. Trademarks are a form of intangible property that can be sold and bought, just like real estate.

That said, there are very specific requirements for purchasing a trademark and acquiring a proper chain of title. If you are considering purchasing a trademark, it’s important to keep the following two points in mind.

1. Make sure the person or entity you are buying a registration from has proper ownership of the mark.

Just because an individual or company owns a trademark registration, it does not mean that they have proper ownership of the mark. For example, if they haven’t used the trademark in years or if they only registered it so that they could sell it, you could be at risk of losing the registration if you go forward with the sale. When you go to enforce the trademark, someone else could cancel it on the grounds that it was inappropriately obtained.

In order to avoid issues like this, it’s very important to do your due diligence on who you are buying from and what you are buying specifically.

2. You must complete a specific document, called a trademark assignment, in order to properly purchase a trademark.

Depending on the circumstances, there can be a lot of magic language that needs to go into an agreement in order to properly transfer the rights. It’s recommended that you hire an attorney to complete the trademark assignment, because there can be a lot of magic language that goes into the agreement. If the wrong language is used, the transfer of rights may not be complete, and this error could be used against you in a court proceeding if you ever try to enforce the mark.

As a bottom line, yes you can certainly purchase a trademark form someone else, but you should be very careful that you are purchasing valid rights and that you have them transferred over to you properly.

Josh Gerben, Esq.

Josh Gerben, Esq. is the founder and principal of Gerben IP. In 2008, Mr. Gerben started the firm to provide high-quality trademark services at reasonable prices. Today, he is recognized by the World Trademark Review as a top trademark filer, having registered over 7,500 trademarks. The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and may not be relied on as legal advice.

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