How do I make sure that my company owns my software?


This seems like a silly question, but I want to make sure that my interests are protected. I own a software development company, LLC in Virginia, and I have a product that I developed and have launched. Are there any extra steps to take to prove or legally represent that my company owns my software? It seems to me that this is inherent since I wrote it and I own the company, but shouldn't there be some sort of paperwork verifying that my company legally owns my software?

What if I had to prove in court that I owned my software for whatever reason, how would I legitimately do that?

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asked Apr 7 '12 at 00:47
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3 Answers


See for a copyright assignment.

Note that it's not 100% clear that you actually need to do this, but it certainly wouldn't hurt.

answered Apr 7 '12 at 01:01
Chris Fulmer
2,849 points
  • +1, thanks for the info. – Tim 9 years ago


In addition to the copyright assignment, it would also be useful to put yourself under an invention assignment agreement. This assigns anything you produce for the company, on company resources into the ownership of the company. That way you do not need to worry about the copyright assignment paperwork.

For your situation, it is highly unlikely that this is needed, but if it makes you feel more comfortable, the invention assignment agreement, and the copyright assignment will be sufficient enough.

answered Apr 7 '12 at 01:35
1,162 points
  • +1, thanks for the info. – Tim 9 years ago


"sufficient enough" - for who?
If there were a dispute between the company and the owner, that could be used as evidence in a court. But that's an agreement between those two parties. And if, for example, someone wanted to buy the company, they could simply have Tim sign over his rights in the software to the company - which he would do.

The only reason I can think of that Tim would wind up in court as asked would be because some third party disputed that he wrote the software he was selling. Filing a copyright would establish at least that he claimed it at some point in the past. Even that could be disputed, but the burden would probably shift to the claimant.

answered Apr 7 '12 at 11:23
Patrick Ny
300 points
  • The burden should always been on the claimant in a copyright case from my understanding. for 999 cases out of 1000, all that would be needed was a document noting the transfer of rights. "I the undersigned do transfer my right of ownership to XXXX IP to XXXX company" But there's always that .01% that will get you. – Bwasson 9 years ago

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