Q&As

What rights and restrictions does implied joint ownership of IP bestow on the respective parties?

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Produced in partnership with Joshua Marshall of Fieldfisher
Published on LexisPSL on 23/08/2018

The following IP Q&A produced in partnership with Joshua Marshall of Fieldfisher provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What rights and restrictions does implied joint ownership of IP bestow on the respective parties?
  • Copyright
  • Designs
  • Patents
  • Trade Marks

This Q&A will discuss copyright, UK design rights, UK patents and UK trade marks, albeit an in-depth analysis of any one of these IP rights will not be possible in the space available. This Q&A will only discuss the issues regarding co-ownership in the UK. Note that the relevant issues may vary between jurisdictions (eg the US or EU).

Copyright

The author of the relevant work is automatically the first owner of any copyright which subsists in that work (section 11 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA 1988)). The author is the person who creates the work (CDPA 1988, s 9). Where the work is co-authored, the authors will be joint owners of any copyright. For literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works (LDMAs), a work is of joint authorship where it is produced by the collaboration of two or more authors where each author's contribution is not distinct from that of the other (CDPA 1988, s 10(1)). CDPA 1988 also determines joint authorship of films, broadcasts, sound recordings and typographical arrangements.

Absent express agreement to the contrary, joint authorship will often imply the authors hold equal shares unless there is evidence that one author's contribution was more substantial. The copyright will subsist for 70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last surviving author dies (or the ye

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