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Can A Partnership Own Intellectual Property?


For many businesses, intellectual property (IP) is an increasingly important part of their overall value. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) notes that intellectual property is a broad term that covers things like “literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.” It could be a copyright, a trademark, or a patent. A business partnership in Florida can own intellectual property. Here, our West Palm Beach partnership dispute lawyers discuss a partnership’s ability to own intellectual property and highlights the key steps you should take if you are involved in an IP dispute with your business partners.

A Partnership Can Hold Intangible Assets 

Intellectual property may be a key part of your overall business portfolio. A business partnership in Florida can own and control the full range of IP, including copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. Of course, partnerships are owned and controlled by the individual business partners. When a partnership owns IP, the individual business partners effectively have collective ownership over the asset. 

Intellectual Property Should Be Considered in a Partnership Agreement 

Florida has laws in place that regulate partnership businesses. That being said, the rights and duties of business partners in relation to their partnership come primarily from their partnership agreement. If intellectual property—copyright, trademark, patent, etc.—is an important part of your business, then it is imperative that the partnership agreement clearly addresses IP rights.

In some cases, the partnership may jointly own the IP. For example, if you have a trademark for a business partnership, it may be owned and controlled by the business itself. That can be dealt with in the IP. However, if you are entering into a business partnership with an existing IP, you may want to consider an alternative arrangement that best protects your interests. A person could potentially license a copyright or a patent to a business partnership.

Three Tips for Dealing With Partnerships Disputes Over IP in Florida 

Partnership disputes are difficult. They can be especially challenging when the core disagreement is over a complex issue such as IP rights. Here are three tips for navigating a partnership dispute over a copyright, trademark, or patent in Florida:

  • Understand Your Rights and Responsibilities: Take a careful look at the partnership agreement and any other relevant documents to clarify your rights.
  • Consider All Options for an Amicable Resolution: There are tangible benefits to resolving a business partnership dispute in a low conflict manner. Mediation and other forms of negotiations should always be considered.
  • Get Professional Help: You do not have to go through a business dispute alone. Consult with an experienced Florida partnership lawyer. 

Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Partnership Dispute Attorney in South Florida

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida commercial litigation attorneys have extensive experience handling complex partnership disputes. If you are involved in a partnership dispute over the ownership of intellectual property (IP), we can help. From our offices in West Palm Beach, Wellington, and Miami, our firm handles partnership disputes throughout South Florida.



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