Do you have standard terms or agreements in place to be used when engaging external agencies, consultants or freelancers?
A common misconception when engaging external agencies, consultants or freelancers is that the ownership of IP may transfer to the contractor upon payment. However, this is not the case.
Under UK law any IP created by external agencies, consultants or freelancers remains owned by them unless a signed agreement is in place to the contrary. This includes all work such as designs, logos, text, slogans, and any other IP resulting from a contracted third party. It is therefore essential that you have terms or agreements in place when engaging with external parties which explicitly refer the ownership of any resulting IP. Preferably, you should try to negotiate that all IP will be owned by you as co-ownership is very difficult to successfully manage and can cause problems.
Confirming ownership of IP may be particularly important if you are looking to raise investment as this could be flagged during IP due diligence and unnerve investors.
Mathys & Squire offers IP agreement drafting services for businesses ranging from early-stage startups to multinational organisations – for more information, please get in touch with a member of our team.
Written by: Jessie Harrison and Andrew White