In the era of high technology employment, intellectual property (IP) fills a massive role. Just about every large corporation, including those in the Detroit area, utilizes intellectual property in some form. Much of this property rightfully belongs to the employer. For example, trademarks, logos and client lists are clearly the employer's property.
What about the IP that employees create in their positions within a large corporation? Can executive employment contracts protect this property? While you can find a large amount of information on how to protect the IP of employers, not much is available on protecting the IP rights of C-Level workers.
We admit that this is a gray area in the employment law field. After all, if you work for a company and part of your job is to create intangible works, then why shouldn't they belong to the company? At the same time, say you develop a high-tech program to create written works or other types of IP for your job. Do you own the program you created or does your employer own it? If the program has nothing to do with the company, you might still own it, but how can you be sure?
As you might expect, we recommend dealing with intellectual property rights in your executive level employment contract. You can be sure that your potential employer is doing the same thing. By bringing up these matters before signing a contract, we believe that both employees and employers will benefit.
An effective way to protect your property rights is to take your employment contracts to an attorney for review. With legal guidance, it may be possible to reach an agreement with your employer that protects the property interests of all involved parties. Continue reviewing our website and our legal blog to learn more about equitable employee contracts for Michigan executives.