Week 3 LAW 421 & MemoConsultants
In today’s world of business, many organization hire consultants to meet needs and improve upon existing ideas and concepts. In the article, “Consultant’s IP rights not automatically transferred,” by Marc Brown (2001) examines the consultant-employer relationship as it relates to developing software, technology and trade secrets. Consultants aid in developing technology that contains intellectual property ownership. However, these rights are not shifted to employers because of the employer-consultant relationship and agreement. The consultants contribute and expand on the organization’s existing concept and are instructed to expand, improve, or redesign. The consultant put forth valuable ideas. When an organization applies for patents on based on these improved ideas, most of the time the names of the consultant is left out. Consultants have rights to allow third parties to use the license from patents. The consultant can do so without consent nor compensate the organization. However, if the organization deliberately failed to state the consultant as co-inventor, the patent could be invalidated. The best approach for the organization is to name the consultant as co-inventor and include an assignment of their patent within the consultant’s agreement (Brown, 2001).
Another area of concern with using consultants covers copyrights with software or intellectual property. The organization should consider these areas and have the foresight to include them in the employment agreement. If the organization does not assign the copyright to the consultants in writing, the organization cannot stake any claim for copyright infringement against individuals or groups who copies the software (Brown, 2001).
The last area of concerns is trade secrets. Although there is not an expressed assignment between the organization and the consultant with regards to trade secrets. However, if someone else acquires the trade secret it would leave…