What Types of Legal Agreements can Protect Intellectual Property?



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Legal agreements are often part of protecting intellectual property when though business interactions and when used within a company. There are a few different contracts and agreements that assist with these matters, and it is important to know the difference and when to utilize them.

When using IP within the company, the owner may take advantage of different legal agreements such as a nondisclosure agreement, the non-compete agreement and various other documents. Some of these come with built in legal protections such as the trademark once the applications for registration has been completed and accepted. Once the files have been drafted, it is vital that a lawyer versed n intellectual property is hired to assist with the issue at hand. Then, the protections and safeguards may be put into place and start keeping certain information private and confidential. This could stop employees from misappropriating the IP and from selling secrets to competitors.

Drafting a legal agreement for intellectual property could provide an easy experience, or it may entail complications depending on how many employees, the factors of the IP and if a lawyer has been hired to assist with the situation. The more information, factors, circumstances and persons involved, the greater the legal agreement conditions must cover and encompass. It may be necessary for employees, clients and others to sign additional documents to ensure the secrets and confidential data remain within the company. Legal representation is generally necessary, and he or she may explain these matters to the owner as he or she is drafting the legal agreements initially or when amendments are needed.

The Nondisclosure Agreement Explained

Nondisclosure agreements are used to keep the secrets, processes, methods and information of the company confidential and away from the public and competitors. When employees sign these contracts, it places a legal agreement to keep data and procedures secret unless the other party is privy to the details as well. Without authorization to disclose these confidences, the employee could be taken to court to enforce the contract. This may lead to the company stopping the action or to seek damages from the offenses completed by the worker. Damages may even include economic or financial matters with the processes revealed to a competitor that used them for a profit or for the public so they may bypass the business entirely.

These nondisclosure agreements are one of the most used and widely copied processes around the country. When applied to intellectual property, this may involve a trade secret or other confidential processes such as those within a patent or copyright. The trademark could be included, but this is generally only if the products or services have certain similar aspects to a trade secret where some details and methods are kept private within the company. Patents provide the business with exclusive rights to reproduce the inventions, and copyrights ensure printed works are protected. Employees may sign these documents when the information must remain secret.

Trade Secrets, Trademarks and Contractual Agreements

Even though trade secrets and trademarks are not necessarily legal agreements, they may be used as such when applications and documentation are used to register these IPs. Contracts and registration papers could be used to protect the owner from infringement and permit his or her lawyer to pursue action against violators. Business transactions are protected and foreign powers are prohibited from misappropriating the processes, products or methods and selling them or taking them other countries. Additionally, employees are often tasked with signing non-compete and other contractual agreements to ensure the information remains confidential. This may also lead to litigation against employees if they attempt to steal, procure or sell these IPs to competitors or disclose the information to the public.

Legal agreements are forged through confidential relationships and contractual agreements between parties. This could include non-compete or nondisclosure paperwork, or it could entail a formal contract between two or more companies that create a business relationship. A venture between businesses often results in contracts signed by the owners to share profits and information. This frequently extends to intellectual property and confidential information. With the details ironed out on paper, it is easier to trust the other company with resources, manpower and IP.

Legal Help with Legal Agreements

Because much of the legal agreements used to protect intellectual property require contracts, a lawyer should have been hired to ensure the documentation is valid and enforceable in the courtroom. The legal representative may protect the interests of the company and ensure employees keep information confidential.


Provided by HG.org


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.
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