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Don't forget to get your Copyright Assignments signed by the Assignor

10 Apr 2015

If you are going to assign copyright, then you need to sign the Assignment. It is a simple point but it is a point which nonetheless needed to be underlined by the High Court in the recent case of Fresh Trading Ltd v Deepend Fresh Recovery Ltd and another [2015] EWHC 52 (Ch), 26 January 2015.).

The obligation for the assignor to sign is sometimes forgotten.

If there is no signature the assignment can only be effective to transfer the equitable rights to the rights assigned.

In the case above, the judge found that the assignor had not signed the assignment. The judge also held that the parties had intended the assignment to have effect. This second finding was in spite of the fact that in email exchanges, the parties had marked their emails “subject to contract”.

The Copyright Designs and Patents Act sections 90 and 91 are clear: no signature of the assignment = no legal assignment.

It seems such a minor detail and it is a detail that sometimes gets lost (even in larger transactions with sophisticated parties).

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