Do you own ‘your’ IP? Six simple questions to ask yourself21 Feb 2018
Protecting intellectual property is crucial to the success of your business. But do you actually own it?
One of the questions that often arises in intellectual property matters is who actually owns the IP rights? Your business will not necessarily own the IP that has been developed just because it has paid for it, or you have instructed the work to be created. In unregistered designs, for example, the starting point is that the designer is the owner of the rights.
Many business activities may create valuable intellectual property and goodwill, so it is important that you ensure such assets are owned by the correct entity to avoid issues further down the line and to enable you to use the IP free of encumbrances.
The following points, for example, may affect ownership of IP:
1. Who created the intellectual property? Was it in the course of employment? Did you formally commission the work?
2. Do your employment contracts establish who owns intellectual property created by employees?
3. Do you have written agreements with third parties such as consultants, website developers, graphic designers or contractors? Do they identify you as the owner of any IP rights created?
4. Who is the registered owner of your domain names?
5. If you wish to purchase IP rights e.g. a trade mark, does the assignment identify all the rights and meet the legal requirements for transfer of ownership? Do these need to be recorded with IP registries?
6. If more than one person has helped create a work, is there joint authorship?
The importance of having all the intellectual property necessary to run your business in the right place should not be underestimated. If you would like further information on this, please contact Yasmin Kalantari on 0161 838 7816 or contact us.