A Guide On If You Can Sell Intellectual Property - Drishti Law

In today’s world, intellectual property (IP) is a valuable intangible asset for brands because it enables a brand owner to conduct business and sell and buy them. It is true that intellectual property can also be transacted just like any other physical property.

However, the procedure of this type of sale is unlike that of the physical one, as there are multiple factors involved in determining the true and accurate value of an IP. The value of your trademark, copyright, or patent is ascertained on the basis of its market value as well as its perceived value in the goodwill and reputation attached to it.

It is common knowledge that the market is always fluctuating and so the value of your IP is subject to market conditions. You need to be aware of certain factors when deciding if you want to sell your intellectual property, and this blog will assist you with that. 

Forms of Intellectual Property

It would be fruitful to very briefly discuss the different forms of IP before delving into the discussion of how to sell them. The main types of IP include trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. 


Trademarks are the symbols, logos, names, and letters representing a brand and are meant to distinguish one undertaking (enterprise) from another. 


This type of intellectual property affords protection to original works of art, literature, and music. Copyright grants the creators exclusive legal ownership rights of their work which cannot be sold, distributed, redistributed, or reproduced without prior authorization from the owner. 


Patents are different from copyrights in the sense that the former grants protection to inventions and innovations that cannot be reproduced in the market without the permission of the creator. In other words, only that legal owner can make use of and sell their invention in the market. 

Things to Consider When Selling Your Intellectual Property

As mentioned above, the sale of IP is not similar to the sale of a physical property, hence there are a lot of factors to consider before making a deal

. The main aspects to look out for are the ongoing economic situation and market demand for the goods or services being represented by that intellectual property. You also need to take into account your future plans with regard to your brand.

Selling your IP means you are completely removing yourself from its face and you can no longer control the growth and innovation of your brand. Perhaps then you should consider licensing your IP instead of selling it off completely. 

Licensing your Intellectual Property instead of Selling

As said before, the sale price of an intellectual property does not stay constant due to varying factors. There is a possibility that your intellectual property will give you profitable returns in the near future.

The safe route adopted by business owners is licensing which allows them to reap the benefits of potential future opportunities for getting profits. Licensing is the safety net preferred by business owners over selling as they can sell their brand while retaining its ownership.

For instance, you can license your brand’s trademark to be used in the market for different products and services while retaining its ownership as well as benefitting from the profits. 

However, if you think that going for a one-off sale of your IP is the better decision for you instead of licensing it, then you should definitely opt for it. If you sell your trademark, you will be able to make a return on the expenses you made when registering it and also be prevented from any future renewal or maintenance fees. If your intended market is in boom then selling off your intellectual property at the right time is certainly beneficial and recommended. 

Considering the complexities of this decision, it is best to seek legal advice from an experienced professional who will guide you in every step of this process. 

Other Factors to be Considered When You Sell Your IP

Transferability of your IP Assets

It is important to remember that only certain intellectual rights can be transferred. For example, patent rights are generally assignable however you might face limitations due to the jurisdiction as well as the type of your invention. 

Ownership Verification

This is a very important step in the sale process. You need to confirm that you possess all the legal rights to transfer the IP and that there is no conflict in the sale. This will prevent you from incurring any future legal battles with the buyers or a third party.

Value of the Intellectual Property

Prior to the sale, you have to determine the value of your IP. This will be done on the basis of factors such as market demand, current economic situation, the uniqueness of the IP, as well as the future worth of your IP after you have sold it. 

Legal Agreements 

It is crucial to ensure that the terms of your agreement are phrased clearly and outline all the terms and conditions of the sale. This will be done by your IP attorney who will ensure that the terms of the agreement are balanced in favor of both the buyer and the seller.

Due Diligence regarding the Buyers

Other than these factors, you also need to have careful sight over your buyers so that your brand does not land in difficulties. You need to ensure that your buyers are resourceful and have complete intention of buying your IP. 


Selling off your IP is a possible but daunting task. You are essentially about to do away with all the hard work you have done in the past years to secure the position of your brand. Therefore, the decision requires deep consideration and you need to keep in view the legal, financial, and strategic aspects while deciding. 

The best way to handle these decisions is by hiring an attorney who will make all the arrangements for the sale of your IP. At Drishti Law, you can book a free consultation today with our experienced principal attorney who can assist you in this regard.