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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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I have been paying an employee to build a CRM system

Resolved Question:

I have been paying an employee to build a CRM system for my company full time for several months. Can I stop him from marketing it himself ? Do I need to register it somehow to protect my investment.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

Has he been building this during his normal duties for you whilst in employment?

Customer:

Yes and some in his own time, without me asking him too, he just seems to keep working on it at home

Ben Jones :

This is an issue of copyright and will be governed by common law and the Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997, which gives an employer automatic ownership of copyright in works created by its employees in certain circumstances.

There are two questions relevant in these situations - Is the author in fact an employee (rather than a contractor)? If so, was the work created in the course of employment?

If the person is an employee and not a self employed contractor, in order to benefit from the statutory ownership provisions the employer must show that the work was created "in the course of their employment". Inevitably, the wording of an employment contract, and, in particular, any job description will be relevant to define the scope of the employment.

Let’s use an example – if a cashier was drawing in times of low workload, or composing musing, they will own the copyright as this was not done in the course of their employment. However, something in your situation where they are clearly doing the work as part of their employment will likely give you rights over it.

To be certain you may wish to include a clause in their contract to confirm that any works created in the course of their employment will remain with you.

Customer: The person is an apprentice employed by me as an office administrator. He has spent 95% of his time working on thie system for about 6 months. He was employed to do this and social media. But it's not in his contract, which is about to run out
Ben Jones :

as an apprentice he would still be an employee. However there is no specific need for this to be detailed in his contract - it would help if it was, but if he is required to do that as part of his duties and has done so for some time it would most likely be implied in the contract anyway

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