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John Elder
John Elder, Estate & Elder Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4631
Experience:  Over 14 years experience in Medicaid, Estates, Trust.
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Please sir or madam, could you indicate the answer to this,

Resolved Question:

Please sir or madam, could you indicate the answer to this, how do you transfer intellectual property, specifically that is NOT patent pending or patented, into a living trust?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  John Elder replied 2 years ago.
Welcome! Thank you for your question.

What exactly is the intellectual property?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

an invention as documented both on computer in hundreds of files and software programs and signed NDAs and patent searches, as well as an expired provisional, and a couple of physical embodiments.

Expert:  John Elder replied 2 years ago.
This would be just in the nature of personal property at the moment. The way to transfer it to a trust is to create a basic document that describes the papers, computer files and physical items and states that you are transferring them to the trust. The document should be signed by the Grantor and the trustee. The trustee would be accepting the property. If the trust has not been created yet then you can refer to the trust including an exhibit and list these items on the exhibit.

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

But this would not be the same as describing a sofa. I would need to put the IP in a format that proves I discovered it, when I discovered it, that another or other individuals witness the discovery, etc., no?


Could you describe for me the way to do this?


Is a "poor man's patent", i.e. having a witness sign it, and mailing the patent documentation along with preliminary patent claims, getting it notarized, and then mailing it to myself and describing that I am transferring this "poor man's patent"?


Or can you give me concise descriptions of what format it should be described in where it becomes possible to treat it as a trade secret by law, so the living trust could license it if needed.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The reason is my investor is insisting I do business with my IP under a living trust, and I don't know if its legally sound, and I also need to co-develop, and must sign NDA's. I assume when people sign the NDA for my IP, it could refer to, and I could sign the bottom as the Trustee for, the "My Name" Living Trust, no? Or is it simply better to put the ownership into a corporation?


The reason I wasn't sure about your answer is that if I simply put personal papers and property in the trust, per your wording, it sounded as if it had no basis as IP, but would only have such basis if it were an officially granted document.


I will check your answer tomorrow as I must run out the door. Thank you for attempting to answer this question. It may be outside the capacity of the service.

Expert:  John Elder replied 2 years ago.


Thank you for the follow up information. You are right that your questions gets very technical and it is difficult to address because it is hard to get enough information in this type of setting.

With that said, the way you are transferring this is so much the way you would transfer a sofa. The additional step that you need to take is to also state in the document that you are assigning all your right, title and interest in the patent or future patent of the product. With this personal transaction you do not need to do any sort of mailing.

Once you have transferred the property and assigned your interest of the patent to the trust you would sign the NDA as Trustee of the Trust.


A trade secret is completely different. You would also transfer the property to the trust and assign your interest in the trade secret to the trust. With a trade secret you have no right to prevent it's future use if someone comes into lawful possession of the secret. This means that the way you keep it secret is to limit it's disclosure to other parties and if you do disclose it to ALWAYS have an NDA with that party to assure that they will not use or share the secret.



John Elder, Estate & Elder Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 4631
Experience: Over 14 years experience in Medicaid, Estates, Trust.
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