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Buachaill, Barrister
Category: Republic of Ireland Law
Satisfied Customers: 11225
Experience:  Barrister 17 years experience
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I have a question about copyright and employment law, I

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Hi, I have a question about copyright and employment law, I worked for an Irish based souvenir company for 7 years, at the time of my joining the company was in a sort of start up stage in that it was transitioning from distribution to development, as a result I put a lot of work in sourcing, developing and designing unique products for this company so much so that they saturated and over took many competitors in the market, this was 9 years ago and they are still selling exactly the
same products that I developed, in fact numerous other companies are copying them and they are making money from the legal proceedings. I had no proper contract at the time and am just wondering am I entitled to any royalties I also developed large collections for them in Dubai and Russia, I have put off seeking legal advise but I feel at this stage they should dispand the ranges as it pains me to see them making so much money from the work I put in, it’s turned into a multi million dollar company and a big part of that is due to my designs and the creative direction I gave the company, they have also bad mouthed me around Dubai stating I did not create the designs while still profiting massively from them
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
apologises an error in the timing it was 6 and a half yrs ago

Hello, and thank you for your question. I am your Expert and I will provide the answer you require.

1. The first thing you need to realise is that any items to which copyright attaches when an employee is working for an employer, belong to the employer and not the employee. This principle of law was decided in the famous case of the 'Post-it' notes or stickies which an employee of the multinational 3M developed. However, when the employee sued for copyright the court held for the company. So, in your situation, you need to realise that your employer holds all the copyright in any items you developed for them whilst you have been employed for them. So, although, you might have developed these items, you have no rights in them. They belong to your employer.

2. You would have to show you developed these items when you were not working for the company if you were to have any copyright in them. Secondly, if they are bad-mouthing you and your work, then you can sue them for defamation for any false material they are saying about you. This is a free-standing cause of action. However, you should really seek alternative employment before you take this step.

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