Anti-Assignment-in-Gross Rule Law and Legal Definition

Anti assignment in gross rule is a principle of trademarks law whereby assignment of a mark without the goodwill symbolized by the mark is invalid. Even though the trademark rights are not destroyed when a mark is assigned in gross, the failure of the assignor to continue to use the mark, together with an ineffective transfer, may result in abandonment.

The rationale behind the rule is if one obtains a trademark through an assignment in gross, divorced from the good will of the assignor, the assignee obtains the symbol, but not the reality. Any subsequent use of the mark by the assignee may be in connection with a different business, a different good will and a different type of product. The continuity of the thing symbolized by the mark is broken. Use of the mark by the assignee in connection with a different good will and different product may result in a fraud on the purchasing public, who reasonably assume that the mark signifies the same nature and quality of goods or services, whether used by one person or another.[Archer Daniels Midland Co. v. Narula, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9715 (N.D. Ill. July 10, 2001)]