As an employee, you likely take great pride in the work you produce. As such, it’s essential to understand whether or not you have intellectual property rights for your creations at work. Unfortunately, this is a tricky situation, so ensuring you speak with copyright infringement lawyers as soon as possible is essential. The following blog explores the circumstances in which an employee has copyright for creations at work and how an attorney can assist with any disputes that arise between you and your employer over intellectual property.
Do Employees Have Intellectual Property Rights?
Unfortunately, the answer as to whether or not employees own the rights to the work they produce while at their job is “it depends.”
If an employee creates work in the scope of their job, it’s almost guaranteed that their employer owns the rights to the property. Similarly, if the employer specifically commissions the work, the employer would be considered the author and owner of the work. In some instances, if the creation is of “outstanding benefit” to the company, such as work generating significant income for the company, the employer may be able to recover compensation.
However, if the employee creates something that does not fall within the scope of their job, there is a chance they would own the copyright to that work, as it does not constitute their job duties.
It’s also important to note that your employment agreement should specify your ownership rights to the work you produce. If you sign a contract specifically stating you will retain the rights to any work you produce during your employment with the company, then you will remain as the copyright owner. However, for most companies, owning the work created by their employees is absolute. You may be able to negotiate the terms to retain some ownership over specific creations that aren’t related to your job duties or for increased compensation for ownership of the copyright.
What Should I Do if I Have Issues With an Employer Regarding Copyright for Creations at Work?
If you have a contract regarding copyright and intellectual property rights with an employer they are trying to circumvent, you may not know how to proceed. The most important thing to do is contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Unfortunately, copyright law can be incredibly complex, so trying to navigate these issues on your own is not recommended.
At CopyCat Legal PLLC, we understand how frustrating it can be to find that someone has used your work without your explicit permission. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping you recover the justice and compensation you deserve. Our team has the experience you need to help guide you through these intricate legal matters. Contact us today to learn how our firm will fight for you.