Securing intellectual property rights from employees and contractors
Produced in partnership with Nichola Jenkins of Shoosmiths
Securing intellectual property rights from employees and contractors

The following IP guidance note Produced in partnership with Nichola Jenkins of Shoosmiths provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Securing intellectual property rights from employees and contractors
  • Employees, including directors
  • Common IP provisions in employment contracts and directors’ service contracts
  • Contractors
  • Key points for an assignment from a contractor

As of exit day (31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this Practice Note. For further guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—IP rights.

Valuable IP rights will be created on a day-to-day basis for businesses by their employees, consultants and contractors as part of their assigned roles. For example:

  1. employees and consultants engaged in research and development may create inventions, which can then be patented

  2. employees and consultants may also create new formulae, recipes or algorithms, or design novel methods or processes to make operations more efficient. Provided these are kept confidential, important rights can exist in the form of know-how or trade secrets

  3. employees or consultants in creative roles will often design artistic or literary materials, or make recordings, which are automatically protected by copyright

  4. software developers will create software code and related documentation and materials, which are also protected by copyright. To the extent any software incorporates a technological advancement, this can also be patented in certain countries

  5. those in marketing roles may create unique branding materials which will be used as the trade marks and trade dress of the business. Copyright may exist in any