What is IP and IP Assignment?
Intellectual property, or “IP”, refers to the various rights available under the law for intangible property – this can be things like brand names, logos, original content and software code. In almost every kind of business, intellectual property is one of the most valuable aspects of the business and should be properly protected!
Assigning IP means transferring ownership of the IP from one person or company to another. It is really important for a company to ensure that they own all of the IP that is adding value to their business.
When Do I Need It?
Anytime you have IP that is adding value to your business, it is a good idea to make sure your business owns it. You can do this after the IP has been created, or by making an agreement in advance.
How Do I Do It?
There are 2 main ways to make sure your business owns the IP it uses.
- IP Assignment Deed – In a situation where another company or person has developed some IP for your business, you may need an IP Assignment Deed to transfer full rights in the IP to your business.
- IP Clause in Contracts – If you engage someone as an employee, contractor or service provider and they are going to create IP for your business – e.g. a graphic designer for your logo, or a software developer for your app – you can include a clause in their contract where they agree to transfer the IP they create as part of the work to your business.
IP Assignment Example
Fraser has created an app that allows users to create personal to-do lists. He came up with the idea and designed it himself, but Fraser doesn’t know how to write the software code to make it happen. So he engages Katherine, a software developer, and Fraser gets a lawyer to draft a Development Agreement.
As well as setting out terms of payment and scope of work, the Development Agreement has a clause where Katherine assigns her copyright in the software code to Fraser’s business and waives his moral rights in the code. Now Fraser is free to use the software code for his app in the confidence that he is the full copyright owner, without having to worry about any claims from Katherine down the track.
What IP Should I Own In My Business?
Look into the key IP adding value to your business – who created it? Does it actually belong to the business?
Some things to look out for are:
- Logo Design
- Brand Assets
- Software Code
- Marketing Content
- Business Process Documentation
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Managing IP Assignment can be complex and daunting, as it’s hard to know what to include and how to word it. It’s a good idea to invest in a lawyer to assist you with this process, as it’s a one-off cost that can save you from disputes and liability in the long run – and protect the value of your business.
At Sprintlaw, we have a team of experienced lawyers can assist you with drafting or reviewing your IP Assignment. Get in contact with one of our consultants for a no-obligation chat on how we can help you work out your IP Assignment and help with any other legal issues your business may have.
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