Your Intellectual Property Rights and Freelancers

If you have a business, you may have a substantial investment in your intellectual property rights. Any recipe, writing, art, music, symbol, design, invention, or literally any other unique trait created for your business is protected under intellectual property law. However, there are circumstances under which you will need to hire a freelancer to help you with certain aspects of your business. Are the works that your freelancer creates your property or theirs? Learn more about your intellectual property rights below.

Create a Contract

If you are going to hire a freelancer to do work for you that will be part of your business, you will want to ensure that you retain the rights to that intellectual property. For example, if a freelancer makes your logo, you would not want them to use that logo for any other business in the future. In order to protect your rights to the property that you are paying for them to create, you must have a solid contract in place before any work is done. It is important to note that law typically defaults to the person who created the work, in this case, the freelancer, even if you have paid them to create that work. Therefore, create a contract that clearly articulates your legal rights to any work that he or she will produce for your business.

Important Items to Include

If you are considering hiring a freelancer, there are several items you should consider including in your contract regarding the intellectual property that they are creating for your company:

  • Non-Disclosure Clause. This confidentiality clause requires that a freelancer never disclose anything regarding the work they did for your company or any type of creation that may have intellectual property rights associated with it.

  • Retained Rights. Make sure that the company, not the freelancer, retains all rights to the finished work.

  • Exclusive Agreement. This agreement ensures that only the company retains rights to the work created.

  • Assignment of Copyright. This is a very specific legal clause that transfers all copyright ownership legal rights from the freelancer to the company.

A good practice is to have the freelancer and company initial all important sections of the contract as well as signing the contract at the end.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

If you are considering hiring a freelancer for any creative or another type of work that would be covered under intellectual property law, you should make sure to have a contract signed by all parties before work begins. Contact the experienced attorneys at De Cárdenas Law Group. We understand that as a small business owner you may have questions regarding hiring freelancers and how to retain your intellectual property rights. Give us the opportunity to show you how we can help you and ensure that your legal rights are protected. You can schedule a meeting with our legal team in San Francisco or South Pasadena by calling (626) 577-6800.

#freelancers #independentcontractors #businesslawyer #intellectualproperty

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The De Cardenas Law Group is an advisory group that works with family and privately owned businesses in the food and beverage and consumer packaged goods space.  

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