November 17, 2020
By: Colin A. Walker
C-Level executives are commonly involved in creating intellectual property for the businesses, such as marketing materials, trademarks, and R&D. If they do so while employed by the company, using the business’ resources, and the works related to the business of the company, the works are owned by the company. Intellectual property law provides some protection to the company under these circumstances, but it is prudent to have an agreement specifically stating that any works created by the executive belong to the company and requiring the executive to work with the company to perfect any intellectual property rights, such as copyrights, trademarks, or patents.
The executive will want to ensure that any pre-existing works originated by him/her are excluded from this provision. This is typically done by attaching an exhibit to the employment agreement which lists inventions or works which are owned by the executive. In addition, the executive should request language making it clear that any inventions or works created outside of working time, not using company resources, and unrelated to the business of the company belong to the executive.