Do you own the intellectual property to your company’s creative assets? 

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25 Jun 15.

#Business

Confusing copyright laws and lack of well laid out contracts might leave some clients out in the cold when it comes to intellectual property and as shocking as it sounds, you might not be the rightful owner of your company’s creative assets.

If an employee has created content, creative assets or designs within your organisation then it’s quite clear that your organisation owns the rights to the work. But what happens when you’ve hired a creative agency or freelancer? You might be scratching your head and thinking that if you’ve commissioned an agency to produce creative work and you’ve paid your invoices, then of course you own it.

The harsh reality is that many agencies retain the IP of designs, code and content and you are licensed the use of that creative work. We are more commonly seeing agencies creating complex IP clauses and even performance based licenses. We hope this blog will help you identify what is open to IP and how to get to the nitty-gritty of it in your contracts.

Intellectual property of creative work

Before we carry on, I have to point out that I am not a trained solicitor in the field of copyright. This field of law is very confusing and in depth so if you have any current or particular IP queries, it’s best to seek the advice of a solicitor.

Any work done by a freelancer or agency, you can safely assume that they own the work unless they have explicitly signed over or transferred the IP to you upon payment. In our standard contracts, we do handover the IP of the final logo designs, html front-end design, creative content, packaging design and websites to a client upon final payment of the project. And rightly so, you’ve paid for a final product and that should be yours.

Do you own the intellectual property to your company's creative assets?

The things that we don’t handover as standard are as follows, this illustration might save you some arguments and costs down the line with your freelancer or creative agency.

One of your biggest risks in business is not owning the rights to your brand logo, your designs and creative content. Ensure that your agreement with your freelancer or design agency is in place and it’s clear covering what will and what won’t be transferred to you.

If in doubt, please seek the legal advice of a solicitor!

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