Employment Lawyers Can Answer Your Employment Law Questions
Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
How long have you worked there for?
Just under two years.
OK thank you, please leave it with me. I am in a tribunal today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you this afternoon. There is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you
Hi, sorry I did ask a follow up question but it does not appear to have registered earlier so I will post it again - does your contract state what happens with any intellectual property developed during your employment there, and also I assume you are an employee rather than self employed?
Not as far as I'm aware.
I am an employee.
Thank you. In the absence of anything specific in writing to assign the intellectual property rights that have been created in the course of your employment, it wpuld come down to law to determine their ownership.
The Patents Act 1977, the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, the Registered Designs Act 1949 and the Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997 give an employer automatic ownership of patents, copyright, database rights, unregistered designs and registered designs in works created by its employees in the course of their employment. So if you are an employee and you have created this strategy, which is likely to be protected by copyright, if it was created in the course of your employment then it is the employer that gains automatic rights over it and they will be able to benefit from it and also decide what happens to it. Even if you were instrumental in its creation, you would not be able to have any say insofar as changes to the strategy are concerned and the employer will have the final say. It is certainly possible to try and negotiate with them over this and agree on something that gives you such rights but if they refuse to agree to this, the law would not really help you much in forcing them to cooperate and give you the automatic right to decide how the strategy is dealt with in the future.
Hope this clarifies your position?
So if my current employer has the rights to the strategy, does this mean they could prevent me from using it in my future employment?
Hi sorry I was offline by the time you had replied last night. Yes it does potentially mean that they can prevent you from using it in the future if they do not approve, you would need their permission to use it in the future