Legal Talk 10: How Do I Protect Myself Against Losing My IP?
Your company is growing, but you haven't hired a lawyer yet. You’re too busy actually getting the company together, you say.
But my last comment on the design agency owning the copyright in your logo panicked you. You ask if I can expand on this point. Yes, I can.
The point I made last time is that if anyone is working for you, such as a consultant, web developer, freelancer or design agency, then you need to have an IP assignment in place. This is an IP transfer which legally transfers the IP in the work they are doing for you, to you.
“Why is this important?” You say. Well:
1. Company Value: IP is an asset. Generally, the more IP your company has the more it will be valued at. However, if you don't have any IP then of course your company value is typically going to be less.
2. Ownership Rights: If you own the IP then you can take legal action against people infringing your IP. But, if you don't own the IP (because you didn’t get an IP assignment from your design agency), then the infringing party will often say as a defence that you don't own the IP anyway because the design agency does.
3. Investment: Investors investing in your company will want to see a lot of IP in the company and the paperwork to prove what IP the company owns. No paperwork and some questionable IP rights will mean that investors may value your company less, invest less or not invest at all.
To repeat, therefore, the key takeaway whenever you hire other people to do work for you such as consultants, freelancers and web developers, is to make sure you own the IP in the work that they create for you and have some paperwork in place to make sure that this is the case.
“Very interesting”, you say.
“Anything else?” I say. No? Well in that case I'll leave you with this link with further useful information: https://www.gov.uk/intellectual-property-an-overview.
Until next time then.
Your Legal Coach
P.S. Don't forget to subscribe and get even more exclusive content and legal insight. As always, this legal talk and all the legal talks are subject to our disclaimer, which you can find here.
© 2019. Coaching Law Limited. All rights reserved.