Intellectual property by inheritance

Dear readers!

On June 26, 2019 a very meaningful seminar was held in Almaty (managed by Dmitriy A. Bratus). The inheritance of intellectual property rights (“IP”) in Kazakhstan was a key point at a seminar. Presently this issue is new and has not been thoroughly studied and researched. It is not always taken in account that inherited property includes not only things and other tangible property, but also property rights and obligations of a testator, including results of intellectual activity. The testator who has the exclusive right to results of intellectual activity transfers his exclusive right by inheritance to successors by law or under will.

Indeed and unfortunately, assistance in the inheritance of rights to objects of intellectual property is becoming more and more top requested. The procedure of transfer of rights is not fully reflected in the literature, articles and seminars. The lack of information also relates to the requirements for title documents evidencing rights to IP objects, namely wills, the inheritance procedure, the registration of a change of right-holder with the National Institute of Intellectual Property, transfer of encumbered rights to IP objects and the procedures related to heirless property.

First of all of course notaries and lawyers specializing in the field of IP are addressed however I am sure that lawyers who specialize in other fields also encounter similar requests.

If we also take into account certain obligations of a successor to fulfill a testator’s will in respect of personal non-property rights, which a successor should dispose of on behalf of a testator, the IP inheritance issue becomes even more complicated.

Issues of transfer of rights to IP objects arise even at the stage of preparation of wills, where it is specified what is transferred and how this transferred property should be used. Unlike the copyright agreement, according to which everything that is not specified as transferred property is considered to be non-transferred, the principle of universal succession is applied in the will and all rights are transferred, except those clearly excluded. It is not always easy to prove ownership of IP rights after the author’s or inventor’s death, especially with regard to unpublished works or unregistered but patentable developments and their proper documentation should be carried out in advance.

Many of the issues discussed at the seminar and, again, unfortunately, mainly related to copyright objects, are very complicated and at all stages of the transfer of rights, ranging from the expression of a testator’s  will to the execution of this will by a successor of rights require involvement of lawyers, specializing in this field.

Dmitriy Alexsandrovich, thank you for your presentation!

We invite interested persons to free consultation related to IP objects in the structure of inheritance.