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Jeremy Aldermartin
Jeremy Aldermartin, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 2907
Experience:  Dual qualified Solicitor and Attorney
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I have a question regarding my rights to intellectual

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I have a question regarding my rights to intellectual property. This being software code which I have written whilst working as a freelance/contracted software developer.I initially started working for the company/client around November. All interactions have been verbal and or over WhatsApp messenger chats. These chats purely focused on the tasks and never discussed anything regarding the code written, or that they would have any ownership of anything I write.Usually, from my previous full-time roles, my employment contract would always have a clause in it which states that everything I write whilst under the company's employment, belongs to them.With this being said, as a written contract/agreement has never been formally made whilst I've been freelancing for this client (all I was ever told was that they were getting their "lawyers" to write one up), do I have intellectual property rights/ownership to the code I have written for them? Although I was paid for previous tasks, I will always take this as payment for my time, and not an automatic right to my code.I did however always insist on this getting sorted out as soon as possible, but out of my own good will and the fact they seemed decent upon initial interactions I completed tasks and was paid for my time.As I entered this role with the intentions for it to be a contractor role, as it was initially advertised, I wanted the contract sooner rather than later to offer myself some employment protection with regards ***** ***** and the guarantee of work.Subsequently however, I now find myself parting ways from this client due to their behaviour and unprofessional-ism.Therefore, to repeat my question, do I have intellectual property rights/ownership of the code I have written for them? Although I was paid for previous tasks, I always take this as payment for my time, and not an agreement for rights/ownership to my code. As they have never presented a written agreement for me to sign, where the ownership of code would usually be mentioned, do I have legal grounds to ask for it all back?I appreciate your time in answering my question, and I look forward to any responses!All the best,
Matt

Hi Matt, thank you for your message, given you have no contract with the client about the intellectual property there is no agreement for them to have exclusive use of the code, therefore, I consider you would need to allow them to use the code as they have paid you for your time and it is clear that the purpose was for you to create the code for them to use they would need to be able to use it. You could however, keep the code for yourself to resell or reuse. I hope this helps, if you can please accept my answer and rate me 5 stars (in the top right of your screen) then Just Answer will credit me for helping you today.

Customer: replied 7 days ago.
Okay brilliant thank you. Just one quick thing if you wouldn’t mind. Not that I would given they have paid me for my time, but as no contract has been signed regarding the rights to the code, am I within my right to refuse them rights to use it?

Hi thank you for your message, I would say no you cannot refuse them. My reasoning is this that though there is no written contract there is nevertheless a contract has been formed in that you offered to do the work and they agreed to pay you for the work, you did in fact do the work and in consideration for that they paid you for the work. It was clear from the agreement between you that the work was for the code and the code would be used by the client. Hence in my view you cannot stop them using the code but what we cannot infer in this agreement made by the parties words and actions is a right for the client to have exclusive use of the code or retain the intellectual property hence, my earlier answer. I hope this helps, if you can please accept my answer and rate me 5 stars (in the top right of your screen) then Just Answer will credit me for helping you today.

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