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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50148
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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We have a Electrical Design Engineer who has worked

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We have a Electrical Design Engineer who has worked for the business 26 years as a consultant. He holds all the designs on his lap top and not on the company server. He is now saying that he is taking time off for a period of 3-9 months - he hold not contract with the business
1. how do we go about obtaining the designs from him.
2. Does it involve Intellectual Property Rights if yes what do we do
Many thanks Nanette
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Did he create the designs?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

He designed the Electrics in the circuit boxes. This company designs for the Oil Industry Capstans etc. The fear is that he would only have to take something away and the design would not work.

He thinks he is holding the company over a barrell -

Thank you for your assistance

Kind regards


Have you asked him to leave the designs?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, he is working as usual - however, he is intimating to the business that he will be helping in his wife's fathers business due to his death and maybe away from the business for 3 - 12 months as they are selling the business.

Briefly when I was brought in for Business and HR it was apparent that there are no SLA or contracts. This business has been taken over by an American Company and is struggling at the moment due to the slump in the oil industry- he is invoicing at the rate of 10K plus a month and works around two to three days per week. clinically my view is that whilst he has a skill base that you could find elsewhere however, its the historic designs he holds that concerns the business. Sorry that want so brief :-)

Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and will get back to you as soon as possible. Please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

This is really why I contacted you - we wanted to know was our legally standing was with the designs - so in reality we will ask him for the designs But what do we do if he says no.


Ok I will get back to you explaining your position
Many thanks for your patience. There would certainly be intellectual property issues her because the designs would likely come under copyright protection. The laws on IP in the workplace can be complex but there are some useful ground rules which apply depending on how the person who created the IP was employed.
If someone works as an employee then any IP they create in the course of their employment would automatically belong to their employer. However, if they were working on a self employment basis, as a freelancer or consultant for example, then they will own the IP rights, even if they had done the work specifically for an employer or done it in the course of their employment for that company. That is unless there was a specific agreement which assigned the IP rights from the consultant to the employer, however you have advised me that in this case there was no contract in place so no such agreement is likely to have been in place.
So as it stands, assuming this person is self employed and doing work for you on a consultancy or freelance basis, he would own the IP rights to the work he has undertaken for you. So if he was to leave he could take the work with him, even if that affects your business in the process. It may therefore be best to try and negotiate with him somehow so that an amicable agreement is reached. Often such issues could be resolved by having a friendly chat rather than going in with a hostile intention from the start. He may be agreeable to leaving the designs if he gets something in return so see what his position is and try to negotiate something which suits both of you.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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