IP Tech Knowledgy

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Transferring Your Trademark Out of Your Estate Must Include Goodwill

Consider how your trademark will pass upon your death. It is not as simple as it seems. Whether your trademark is registered, or you have rights merely by your continued use of a brand in the marketplace, you have a trademark that may not be transferrable to your heirs or successors unless you and your personal representative take appropriate steps. It is prudent for a will to mention that the estate includes trademarks. It is essential for the personal representative to specifically assign the trademark, and the goodwill associated with the trademark when distributing the asset out of the estate. Trademarks cannot be assigned without the goodwill being specifically listed as being transferred with the mark. If the mark and related goodwill are not specifically assigned from the estate to beneficiary, the mark will not transfer and will die away. This is another reason why trademarks ought to be owned by the business entity, and not the individual; when owned by the entity, upon death, the mark merely passes as an asset of the business.

Ned T. Himmelrich
410-576-4171 • nhimmelrich@gfrlaw.com