Let's suppose I write a book, (invent a gizmo) a miracle happens, and I get a movie deal (or a manufacturing deal). Can I walk into a real estate title search agency to check on liens and claims against my intellectual property? In other words, if I get sued behind my back how do I locate the court papers?
Partial Answer: Yes but its a bit tricky - A good transactional lawyer can help you. In the US, ownership of patent rights are typically recorded with the US Patent & Trademark Office in what they call the Assignment Database. However, liens and other security interests might be recorded with the USPTO but they might instead (or also) be recorded locally (in the debtor's location) as would be done with personal property and other intangibles.
Your patents are seen as property interests that can be attached to pay your debts. So, if you owe someone money and you refuse to pay, the court could order a transfer of title of your patent rights.