Miranda Dobson

Is your intellectual property safe?

A new online service has been launched to protect intellectual property (IP) as it is transferred between businesses and creators.

Companies often put their brand at risk by leaving IP unguarded, and the most significant risk is when businesses do not own the rights to their own logos, images, website, and even their product design.

Own My IP will enable creative agencies, freelancers and clients to safeguard information as it is passed between creators and buyers.

Intellectual property is not currently protected during the transfer process, and contracts often do not exist at all.

The potential dangers of sending creative work between businesses and individuals will be deflected by Own My IP’s new system, which uses an email exchange agreement to assign copyright to either party.

Websites, designs, images and any creative work can be secured through a formalised IP transfer as agencies and brands work together.

Assignment of copyright can be requested by either party through the online service, and the creator of the IP can add to the agreement with specific terms.

Both parties then have access to the agreement, which is stored by Own My IP, and funded by whoever requested the IP protection.

Alastair MacColl, Chief Executive of Business & Enterprise Group, commented: “Many of the businesses we support and work with are SMEs who will use agencies to help them do things like build a website, design a logo, or create packaging.

“SMEs are unlikely to have long detailed contracts to protect them, and so need a simple way to prove that they own the rights to their own IP. If they don’t, they could be putting the business at risk.”

While there is a common perception that standard contracts are enough to safeguard IP, the managing director of Own My IP, Craig Olugbode, highlighted that this is often not the case.

He commented: “The reality is that standard contracts aren’t always enough to ensure IP is protected.”

“In some cases, contracts are not as detailed and, sometimes, non-existent. Clearly, putting in place a formal contract should be a standard procedure in any engagement but we’re finding the reality is often somewhat different.”

Mr Olugbode added that businesses are increasingly looking to freelancers for work, which has heightened the need to clarify where ownership lies.

Own My IP is a recently established firm based in the North East, and it launched the new service this week.

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