It is March, and while love celebrated on Valentine’s Day may be in the air for many, breakups are inevitable. In the case of a breakup between an employer and an employee, the departure of an employee with access or knowledge of the employer’s intellectual property (IP) can put the employer at risk for IP theft or exposure. Call the IP theft investigation if you need help. Disputes over IP ownership can have significant negative impact on a company’s value, growth potential, and reputation, even if the company ultimately comes out the victor. Therefore, it is critical to have a well-defined and consistent exit process for departing employees, regardless of whether the departure is amicable or contentious.
It’s Complicated: Ownership of IP can be complicated, so it is important for both sides to clearly demarcate ownership of IP both during the employment relationship and upon its termination. The remote work environment that many businesses are currently operating in raises additional complications, particularly in situations where the activities involved in creating, designing, inventing, or developing the IP took place using the departing employee’s own personal resources (technology, Wi-Fi, home, materials, etc.) as opposed to the employer’s resources. Most employment agreements in the IP space include clauses that explain what rights a person has to any creative ideas they’ve created while at work, and nearly all agreements in this space include a duty to assign work-related IP rights the employer.
Where applicable, identify the inventions that the exiting employee is listed on …Read More