Owning the intangible stuff you have created (technically called “intellectual property rights”) such as source code, website content, images, videos and your brand is incredibly important. However, when you contract a third party to create sourcecode or a logo for you, you won’t automatically own the intellectual property rights in their creation. This is because intellectual property rights automatically belong to their creator unless they are transferred to someone else. Paying someone to design your logo does not mean that you own it!
Content created by employees generally belongs to their employer, though an IP transfer provision should always be included in employment contracts. Contractors on the other hand will need to sign an IP transfer agreement. This is a standard form document which states the following:
- all intellectual property rights created by the contractor for the business (both already created and to be created) belong to the business from the point of creation;
- in the event that the intellectual property rights don’t transfer to the business (which can occasionally happen), the contractor undertakes to sign any document to transfer them;
- in case the contractor is unable to transfer the intellectual property rights (because he is ill or being uncooperative), the contractor grants the business a power of attorney to sign in his name any document required to transfer the intellectual property rights to the business.
In addition, IP transfer agreements generally include a provision which waives “moral rights”. These are rights that automatically vest in the creator of copyright content and give him/her rights to prevent the copyright content being amended. It is always sensible to have these rights waived so that the business can amend the copyright content in its own discretion.
For more information, contact Buckworth Solicitors on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7952 1721.