Do You Really Own All Your IP?

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From JDSupraBusinessAdvisor, Shabbi Khan and Christoper McKenna of Foley & Lardner discuss the importance for startup companies of owning their intellectual property,  they discuss situations with inventors and with independent contractors.  They write that a startup makes a mistake by:

“Failing to secure IP rights from an independent contractor or company engaged by the startup

This situation may arise when a startup utilizes an independent contractor or third-party entity. Many times a startup needs to temporarily hire or leverage third parties to help further develop or implement IP. For example, a startup may hire a third-party development firm to develop a mobile app, a user interface or some other portions of the technology. . Inevitably, there is some IP that will result from this development that is needed to be owned by the company. Without a proper agreement in place between the startup and the third-party development company, it is likely that the third-party development company will own at least some of the IP that results from their development. To prevent a situation in which the third-party development company, or for that matter, any independent contractor or company, from owning the rights to IP for work that they perform for your startup, the startup should have the independent contractor or company sign an agreement that assigns the rights to any IP that results from the engagement of the independent contractor or the company to the startup. Moreover, the agreement should be written such that those rights are assigned to the startup at the time the IP is first created. This will prevent the startup from having to chase down inventors (the independent contractor or individuals working at the company) to assign their rights to the startup….”

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