Will my patent be protected if I file for bankruptcy? 11 Answers as of January 18, 2011

I am considering filing personal bankruptcy. I am co-owner of a patent (awarded in US, Canada, and 9 euro countries). If i get bankruptcy awarded will they take my patent since I have not officially assigned it to a company?

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Law Office of Harry L Styron
Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
It depends on what Chapter you file under and whether the patent is worth anything. If your net income after taxes and certain expenses exceeds $50,000, or if you choose, you will file under Chapter 13, and in that event you will retain the patent so long as you perform under the repayment plan which is approved by the bankruptcy court. If you qualify to file under Chapter 7 and choose to do so, the bankruptcy trustee will become the owner of the patent. If it has any value, he or she will attempt to sell it for the benefit of your creditors. If it does not have value, then the trustee will likely abandon it, in which case it will be yours again.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/18/2011
Uriarte & Wood, Attorneys at Law
Uriarte & Wood, Attorneys at Law | Robert G. Uriarte
Your patent will become property of your bankruptcy estate. depending on the its value your election of exemptions, you may be able to exempt and protect it. Make sure to discuss this with whatever attorney you retain for your bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/18/2011
Law Office of Aaron Nielson
Law Office of Aaron Nielson | Aaron Nielson
It will depend on what the patent is worth? They are only usually interested in property that has value.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 1/17/2011
The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
The patent is an asset just like anything else. If you have sufficient exemptions under applicable law, then you can protect it in a Chapter 7 case. Otherwise, you'd need to file a Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 in which case it would be protected.

Exemption laws are based on the state where you resided for the 2 years prior to filing your bankruptcy case or, if you lived in more than 1 state during that period, in the state where you resided for the greater part of the 180 days prior to that 2 year period.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/17/2011
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
Your co-ownership of a patent is an asset that needs to be listed in your bankruptcy proceeding. Whether or not the asset is sold for the benefit of your creditors will depend on the value of your ownership interest in the patent and the exemptions that are available to you. I urge you to consult a certified specialist in bankruptcy like me to protect your interests. For a free consultation, call me.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/17/2011
    Gus Johnson Attorney at Law
    Gus Johnson Attorney at Law | Gus Johnson
    Short answer is I don't know, but for the most part, pay property, tangible or intangible, is included in the bankruptcy estate
    Answer Applies to: South Dakota
    Replied: 1/17/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case you can keep only the property that you can exempt. If the value of your share of he patent is more than you can exempt then your share will belong to the bankruptcy estate upon filing and the trustee can sell it to pay the creditors even if your co-owner does not want to sell. Your partner will receive his share of the value of the patent from the forced sale. Your co-owner might be able to buy your share from the trustee. You need to value the patent and determine what exemptions are available to you to protect your share. That might not be easy but it is important that you have an appraisal of the patent made and be ready to prove its value. If your share is worth a lot of money and you cannot exempt it then maybe filing a Chapter 7 is not a good idea. In Chapter 13 you may pay the unexempt value of your share of the patent to the trustee in a Chapter 13 Plan over a period of up to five years. That might be an option if your debts are more than the unexempt value of your share of the patent. However, if the value of the patent increases after you file a Chapter 13 case, you might have to pay more in the Plan or lose your share of the patent and convert to Chapter 7. You need to meet with an experienced bankruptcy attorney after you obtain an appraisal of the patent and have a list of all your debts, property and income. It does not matter that you have not officially assigned it to a company although the value of the patent might be more easily determined if you had a buyer or a company interested in it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/17/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    It depends on the value of the patent. If it has significant value you should consult with a lawyer. Go to NACBA.ORG to find one near you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/17/2011
    DiManna Law Office, LLC.
    DiManna Law Office, LLC. | Dawn DiManna
    It depends on more facts than you have provided here - you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney to be sure.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 1/17/2011
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed | Robert Weed
    Depends on your state law, but in most places the answer would be yes. (Assuming you are talking about a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.) At least if the trustee could sell it and get more than a few thousand dollars. You definitely need to talk to a lawyer, but you might be forced into a Chapter 13 payment plan. You would have to pay the court all you can afford or the unprotected value of the patent, whichever is more.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 1/17/2011
    Law Offices of Steven A. Wolvek
    Law Offices of Steven A. Wolvek | Steven A. Wolvek
    Depends if you file 7 or 13 and what the value of the patent is
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/16/2011
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