Q&As

Can a company own the outputs (intellectual property) from pre-contract discussions?

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Published on LexisPSL on 20/03/2019

The following IP Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can a company own the outputs (intellectual property) from pre-contract discussions?

In the UK, intellectual property (IP) rights arise either:

  1. when registered with a government authority, for example UK trade mark registrations are registered at the UK Intellectual Property Office, or

  2. automatically, for example copyright and database right protection are established when certain formalities are satisfied

Different types of intellectual outputs are protected in different ways, regardless of whether they form part of pre-contract discussions or are otherwise created.

IP outputs that may be applicable to pre-contract discussions include literary creations (which includes software) which might attract copyright protection, technological inventions that may be protected by patents (once registered), and the external appearance of an object (designs).

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