Intellectual property law
Intellectual Property is at the core of everything we do at Starting Block Lawyers.
If your business is underpinned by intellectual property, or you are growing your intellectual property portfolio, then we can help you to create IP, document IP, register IP, protect IP, licence IP (which may include royalties, exclusivity rights, and territorial use), and sell IP. Intellectual property can be a powerful asset for your business but it is important to secure your intellectual property rights and then protect those rights against your competitors, your personnel, contractors, and customers.
It is common that businesses have hidden intellectual property assets, which may include:
- Trade marks
- Patents and patentable rights
- Various forms of know-how and trade-secrets
- Other specific registrable forms of intellectual property
In addition to the above, business names, domain names, and confidential information are referred to as intellectual property and we can assist with these also.
Examples of what we do:
- Contractor’s agreements: At law personnel who are contracted (rather than employed) do not automatically transfer intellectual property to the contracting party, so unless the relevant agreement states that the intellectual property is transferred to the contracting party, then the intellectual property ownership remains with the contractor. A contractor’s agreement with an assignment of intellectual property clause is essential to ensure the contracting party obtains the intellectual property automatically, or at a defined time, such as payment of the contractor’s invoice. We prepare contractor’s agreements for contracting party’s and for contractors to ensure intellectual property rights between the parties is transferred or licensed as intended.
- Intellectual property assignments: It is common that contracts include intellectual property clauses (as noted in the above item) but that transaction parties or regulators require proof of ownership of the intellectual property. We can prepare an assignment of intellectual property agreement for this purpose, or if your contracts require clarification about intellectual property ownership (this is common with employment agreements, contractor agreements, work performed by founders, and many other circumstances).
- Due diligence: Intellectual property is “intangible property” and can be represented in various ways such as a logo (an artistic work for the purposes of copyright), a computer code (a literary work for the purposes of copyright), a plan or definition of a novel idea or technology (which could be developed into a patent application), and many others. If a transaction (such as a business sale, or acquisition) and the price being paid is based on the intellectual property portfolio then it is important to identify all the intellectual property assets, and ensure that the rights of ownership (or use) have been adequately secured, and test whether the relevant asset is suitable for the intended purpose. We provide pre-due diligence reviews for the entity in question, and we also provide due diligence services for purchasers and acquirers.
- Licence Agreements: As the intellectual property owner (or head licensee) you have the right to licence the intellectual property asset to best suit your business purposes. This may include payment of royalties, permitting use in specific areas, exclusive use, non-exclusive use, and many other key protections and revenue earning arrangements. We provide a broad range licence agreements, and have particular expertise licence agreements relating to contract manufacturing, electronic platforms (including SaaS), and content distribution and use, whether on a pay per click basis or subscription.