Patents are property so, like any property, ownership can be transferred from one person or company to another. A patent attorney can help prepare an assignment for the inventor.
A “patent assignment” is the legal document that makes this transfer happen.
A common type of assignment is the transfer of ownership of the patent or patent application from the inventor to the inventor’s LLC.
In the United States, patents are filed in the name of the inventor. If the inventor has patented the invention, the inventor can keep ownership of the patent in his or her name, or they can make it an asset of an LLC. If the patent or patent application is to be owned by the LLC, an assignment is executed by the inventor and the transfer becomes effective.
If there are multiple inventors on a patent application, then both inventors may assign the patent to the LLC. The LLC document (or operating agreement) can spell out how the profits from the venture are to be allocated.
Inventors often sell their patent as a way to profit from it. An assignment will also be executed if the patent is sold to a third party.
Inventors who invent for their employer may have an employment contract that requires them to assign the patent to the employer. An assignment will be executed in this case. Again, a patent lawyer will help prepare the needed documentation.