Developing a website: demanding the divestment of all intellectual and industrial rights
intellectual and industrial rights are a matter of finding out ownership and then creating provisions for or amendments to that ownership. Ownership can be reassigned and rights can be handed over – as long as there is consent. Learn about what’s what when it comes to IP issues for websites.
What are Intellectual and Industrial Rights?
Intellectual property applies to works dealing with ideas and knowledge: inventions, literature, visual or film work, logos, images, and names related to businesses. Industrial property involves the actual filing of patents, trademarks registered, and industrial designs. It also applies to geographical indication, which is when a protection is applied to agricultural goods produced or created in a particular area that, because of being produced in said area, have very specific qualities. Intellectual and industrial rights, then, tangibly protect intangible products – essentially, concepts – that may promise some sort of advantage, profit, or identity/distinction by the “owner” of this.
What’s Mine Is Yours
Consider this scenario: in a project where a company outsources the design and development of their website and branding to an outside agency, who owns the rights to the material produced? As business grows, stakeholders are brought into the fray, and a brand starts to form, the company will need to own the original site design. Not owning their own IP material can cause severe complications later on and open the company up to claims. The company can contractually require the designer/developer to divest ownership of any intellectual and industrial rights and their ability to enforce these rights of ownership. This is usually in the form of written consent from the designer/developer, stating that they will be divesting all intellectual and industrial rights to any work product created during their period of “hire” or “employment”. Not doing so could later cause an issue of standing.
The fact is that IP issues are never obvious and that is why they seem complex. However, IP rights are not one of those “case by case” areas and, generally speaking, the original creator of the work is the owner. This owner can definitely sign away their rights by granting express permission. But it’s automatically theirs upon conception.