Intellectual property and employees

Your employees need to have an understanding of how to manage IP rights in your business. When an employee creates something new, they may not be aware that the IP still belongs to their employer.

Your employee may create a new process or design a new product, a piece of software, or a new logo. So, unless a contract says otherwise, the employer owns the IP created by employees.

There are some exceptions, but make sure these are spelt out before the employee begins. An employer may wish to offer special rights or incentives to encourage their employees to be innovative so they are recognised for creating new IP.

If you employ an independent contractor, you must outline ownership of IP rights in the contract. If you do not have a written agreement, the independent contractor will own any IP they create and will legally be able to re-use the IP.


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