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Third party commissioned work: Do you know your IP ownership rights?

28 July

2 mins

Are you aware of the default position regarding ownership of IP rights, and in particular, ones that are created by commissioned third parties?

Intellectual property (IP) ownership may seem straightforward; however, many businesses are unaware of the default position regarding ownership of IP rights and third parties.

In the UK, any IP created by an employee as part of, or arising from, their normal working duties is by default owned by the employer.

However, what many don’t realise is that when work is commissioned to be done by a third party, if no agreement is in place to the contrary, any IP produced as a result is owned by the third party. This includes designs, logos, text, slogans, and any other IP resulting from a contracted third party.

It is therefore essential that when commissioning any work from a third party you have a signed agreement in place which recites that all resulting IP will be owned by you, not the third party.

If you believe there may be historical commissioned work to which you do not own the rights, you may wish to negotiate a transfer of rights agreement between you and the third party to rectify this.

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.

The above is not intended to provide legal advice.  If you wish to seek legal advice on any of these issues, please get in touch with a member of our team.

Written by: Andrew White & Jessie Harrison