Do Employees Have Intellectual Property Rights?

employee working overtime

If you are the owner of a business, the chances are that you are also the owner of intellectual property. With this, you may be wondering whether your employees have a stake in this property and may take it with them if they ever leave your workplace. In a circumstance such as this, you must have the proper protections in place. Continue reading to learn if your employees possess intellectual property rights and how an experienced New York employee contract lawyer at Bell Law Group can protect you.

What are the different types of intellectual property within a workplace?

First of all, intellectual property is considered an intangible yet original piece of work, such as an idea, project, or design. You may not realize just how many different types of intellectual property you and your business holds. Examples are as follows:

  • Copyright: this is a type of intellectual property that gives you the exclusive right to copy, distribute, adapt, display, and/or perform your original work.
  • Trademark: this is a type of intellectual property that uses a recognizable sign, design, and/or expression to distinguish your product or service from that of competitors.
  • Patent: this is a type of intellectual property that gives you the exclusive right to make, use, and/or sell your original work.
  • Trade secret: this is a type of intellectual property that uses formulas, practices, and/or compilations of information to manufacture your products or services.

Is it possible for my employees to possess intellectual property rights?

It is more than likely that, as an employer, you are entitled to all the types of intellectual property that were created for your business. This is so long as your standing employee contract does not state otherwise. So you must consider including a disclosure or clause within your contract that states something along the lines of, “anything written or create during your time of employment belongs to the business and not the individual.”

For example, say that your employee creates a new product or an improved practice for your business. With this, you must confirm that it is part of this employee’s direct role to work directly on a product or practice that will eventually be patented by your business. And if you can confirm that you have the proper disclosure or clause present in your employee contract, then you are considered the owner of this intellectual property. Further, this means that your employee cannot take this original work elsewhere.

The bottom line is that if your ownership over intellectual property is threatened, you must have a skilled New York employee rights lawyer in your corner. Call or send a message to Bell Law Group today. We look forward to hearing from you.

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