Skip to content

Assignment Documentation

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) now makes copies of patent assignments available for immediate download. This is a deviation from prior practice, under which interested parties were forced to order assignments from the USPTO, pay a fee of $25 per request and then wait for US mail delivery. Although a seemingly small gesture, the new USPTO service is valuable to patent practitioners and IP professionals who often need expedited access to assignment records for diligence purposes or otherwise to diagnose inventorship or ownership issues.

Any due diligence of a company’s IP rights identifies and confirms the assignment status of patent assets. This is because the proper assignment of patent rights pre-emptively circumvents numerous IP pitfalls. As just one example, executed patent or patent application assignments prevent employee inventors from later claiming ownership of an invention or from practising or developing covered technology individually or through a competing entity. During a critical diligence process, it is now quicker and cheaper to obtain assignment documentation directly from the USPTO.

Assignment documents are available through the USPTO patent assignment search page. However, the location of the document is not immediately apparent. An interested party may use the search page itself to search for assignment documents by patent number, patent application number, patent application publication number, assignor name or assignee name. The search page then provides a history of conveyances (along with corresponding reel and frame numbers) for the particular patent or patent application. A PDF icon appears next to the name of each conveyance (eg, security agreement or assignment of assignor’s interest), which then provides click-through access to a PDF copy of the conveyance document. Otherwise, a searching party may simply click the reel and frame number of a particular conveyance to view summary data regarding that particular document. A PDF copy of the document is then similarly available from the individual summary page.

Assignment documents are not accessible through the assignments tab of the Patent Application Information Retrieval system (known as 'Public Pair'). Further, the USPTO patent assignment search page provides access to patent assignment documents for issued patents and published patent applications.

The public availability of assignment documents is in line with patent file history information available through Public Pair. The new service is welcome news to patent practitioners and IP professionals. Under prior practice, last minute diligence projects faced potential delay while awaiting mail delivery of ordered assignment documents; now, the information is available with the click of a button.

David Franklin Sawrie

This article first appeared in IAM. For further information please visit

Main page ► Managing a Moodle course ► Activities ► Assignment activity

About the assignment activity

The assignment activity provides a space into which students can submit work for teachers to grade and give feedback on. This saves on paper and is more efficient than email. It can also be used to remind students of 'real-world' assignments they need to complete offline, such as art work, and thus not require any digital content.

Student submissions are together on one screen of your course. You can require them to submit one or several files and/or to type text essays. It is possible to have them submit work as a group and you can also choose as a teacher to grade their work 'blind' in other words not to see the identities of those who have submitted assignments. Assignments can have deadlines and cut off dates - which you can also extend if necessary.

To add an assignment you should turn on the editing and select it from the Activity chooser.

Assignment (Submission) types

Students can type directly into Moodle, upload files or add media. The options are in the Submission types section and if you don't see a particular option, get the admin to check the Site administration settings in Assignment settings documentation.

Online text: Text typed into the Atto editor is automatically saved and the teacher can set a Word limit which will display a warning if students exceed it.

File submissions: Students can upload files of any type the teacher can open. The teacher can select a maximum number of files to upload and a maximum size for each file. This will depend on the site settings. If a student uploads a PDF file, the teacher can annotate it within the browser and once saved, these annotations are available for the student. (If you don't have this, get the admin to check Ghostscript is enabled.)

Students may be able to add a note (comment) to their teacher when the submit their work if this has been enabled sitewide by the administrator.

Feedback types

Teachers may give feedback in various ways. The options available are in the Feedback types section and if you don't see a particular option, get the admin to check the Site administration settings in the Assignment settings documentation.

Comment inline: With online text submissions, this allows the teacher to give feedback directly on the students's work, in a similar way to grading on paper.

Feedback comments: allows graders to leave comments about the students' submissions as well as grades.

Offline grading worksheet gives the teacher a link to download the grading list as a spreadsheet. They will then be able to enter grades and feedback comments offline and then re-upload the sheet. See Using Assignment for more information.

Feedback files allows graders to upload files with feedback when marking. These files may be the marked up student assignments, documents with comments, a completed marking guide, or spoken audio feedback.

Grading assignments

Assignments may be graded with simple Grade points or customisable Scales. If you change the Grading method to Advanced grading, you can then use a Marking guide or Rubric

Need more information?

Student view of an assignment