The assignment of intellectual property rights can be made as a separate transaction of intangible assets, or it may occur as part of much larger acquisitions of assets such as sales of business assets, mergers or stock purchases. However, ownership of intangible assets is not affected by the mere acquisition of shares in a company.

To be valid and effective, an assignment of intellectual property rights should comply with specified requirements. These requirements will vary depending on the jurisdiction, national laws and regulations and will relate to the form of the assignment agreement (written agreement or not), the identification of the parties, the subject of the contract and sometimes with the obligation to declare and record the assignment within a specific register.