Legal Law

2 Important IP Tools Every Small Business Owner Should Know

Small business owners have many intangible assets: photographs, website copy, sales brochures, etc. All of these are considered “intellectual property”: you own the copyright to anything your company creates for itself.

But what happens when you hire someone from outside the company to create something for you, like sales copy or web design? Who owns that? What if you discover that your intellectual property has been stolen?

There are two forms that every business owner should be aware of: the Work for Hire Agreement and the Cease and Desist Letter.

contract work agreement

Anything that employees of your company create for the company within the scope of their employment is company intellectual property. But when your business hires someone from outside the business, like a freelancer or independent contractor, the rules change.

Independent contractors (working on their own time, with their own materials) are the legal owners of the work they create, whether or not someone hired them to do it, unless a Work-for-Hire Agreement has been signed naming to the enterprise. as the copyright owner.

A work-for-hire contract is not a complex document; you just need to include the necessary information about each party, the project commissioned, and details about the agreement. Both parties will sign the document.

letter of infraction

Now that you’ve established ownership of your website, images, or literature, what happens if someone else uses it without your permission? How can you stop them?

It’s easy, as long as you copyright your material; copyright law says you need an official registration before you file a lawsuit. But there is a much cheaper and quite effective option that you could consider before a lawsuit occurs to you: send a cease and desist letter.

This letter is also simple: You send it, the copyright owner, to the party using your intellectual property without permission (or that party’s attorney, if you have one and know who he is), and demand that they. .. well, let them cease and desist from what they are doing.

The cease and desist letter must include the names of both parties, the title or description of the material being used inappropriately, and where you found it (the URL). It is helpful if you can include copyright registration information (date and number), emphasizing how seriously you take this matter.

With the Work for Hire Agreement and Cease and Desist Letter by your side, you will be able to manage your company’s intellectual property.

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