So what’s the difference between the Employee Propriety Information and Inventions Agreement? Trick question. They are one and the same thing. These kind of agreements help in protecting companies’ confidential information, intellectual property, and ownership. The agreements go by several names:
• Proprietary Information Agreement
• Employees Intellectual Property Assignment Agreement
• Employee Confidential and Inventions Assignment Agreement
• Protection of Company Interests Agreement
So what do Employee Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreements do?
All startup companies need to ensure that all their employees and contractors have signed the proprietary information agreement that at will make sure that;
• It provides all the intellectual property that has been created during the employees “Work for hire.”
• It places the worker under a covenant so that the employer’s proprietary information remains confidential and its use is only in the furtherance of the company’s interests
• It will also assign the company all the inventions that were created during the employment relationship.
Protecting your Intellectual Property stickler
To ensure that you get the best out of this, you will need the counsel of an attorney. Always ensure that you are a stickler for contracts. The Employees and the contractors must agree that anything they create or have enhanced during the working relationship in your business or on your behalf is the property of the company.
Most of the time, the biggest challenge that arises to employers is trying to find an equitable resolution to a dispute with a former employee. Some of these disputes might occur in case the employee was not subject to signing an Employee Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreement and believes that they are entitled to patent rights as well.
The turnout to this kind of situation can be ugly, especially if business is skyrocketing, and you as the employer or business owner are mired in a legal dispute. There is nothing worse than having to slow down the progress of your business to handle legal tussles. This is a prime example why you would desperately need a lawyer to help you draft a well detailed Employee Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreement.
Far too often you will see deals that have not been adequately covered by the contracts and intellectual property that has not been adequately protected. Make sure that you cover your assets properly, or you risk losing them.
So what should I do to avoid losing my assets?
Lawyer up! Get an experienced and qualified lawyer to draft an adequate agreement. Every employee or contractor needs to sign a proprietary information and inventions agreement. This will make sure that all the intellectual property they create during the relationship of employment is totally owned by the company. In case, you have third parties that that will be let into your company’s inner sanctum, make sure that they sign this agreement too.
Sometimes it is advisable to sign the Employee Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreement over a non-disclosure agreement since the former is quite comprehensive while the latter is lightweight and might avail loopholes, since they are subject to interpretation and scope.
Why is Employee Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreement important?
Remember that the brand you have built is equal to accumulative experience, beliefs, and the ideas that your clients or customers have gathered about you. They have specific expectations of you and what you are expected to deliver.
Therefore, your expectation and experience must at all times be consistent. Your Trademark, Logo, and other intellectual property is how your brand is conveyed to the public. Without the protection of your intellectual property, your brand is at risk, any attorney will tell you for free.
What are the problems with Employee Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreement?
Most of the times, these agreements have a provision that will require the worker to list the personal interventions that should not come within the scope of the assignment interventions. However, some of these agreements overreach, and will place an unfair burden on employees to lists all their inventions, even if they were before the employment relationship or unrelated to the current employer business.
This forms an inevitable tension because many workers pick up ideas from the work they are doing. Ensure that you have gone through the Employee Proprietary Information and Inventions Agreement with your lawyer, and make any possible adjustments to the document to adequately protect your company’s interest and assets. This, though costly, will prove much cheaper than dealing with the legal wrangles that will come up if you fail to draft a comprehensive agreement.
Mollaei Law is a law firm specializing in business law serving businesses and entrepreneurs. We provide legal expertise in all stages of business development by drafting and reviewing contracts and agreements, assisting transactions and negotiating, forming LLC's and Corporations, registering trademarks and copyrights, business planning, and answering any legal questions you may have about your business.
Sam Mollaei, Esq., business lawyer, can be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone (818) 925-0002.