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Strategic Use of Legal Agreements for Intellectual Property Protection

For business owners, understanding and implementing the right legal agreements is important for protecting your intellectual property (IP) from the early stages of creation through to commercialization. This guide outlines essential agreements that help secure your products, brand and innovations, ensuring that your assets are safeguarded and your business can thrive in a competitive market.


Here are some types of agreements you should consider before and after officially filing for IP protection.

Pre-IP Filing Agreements

Before filing for IP protection, it's important to establish agreements that preserve the confidentiality and integrity of your innovations:

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs)
NDAs are vital when you need to share your ideas with potential partners, investors, or employees under conditions of confidentiality. These agreements should clearly define confidential information, outline the responsibilities of all parties, and specify the duration the information must remain confidential. NDAs are an important step in protecting your ideas and other confidential information before you apply for patents.

Confidentiality Clauses in Business Agreements
Similar to NDAs, integrating confidentiality clauses in early business agreements, such as discussions with potential partners or suppliers, helps to ensure that your unfiled IP is protected from unauthorized disclosure or use.

Employment Agreements
It's crucial to have clear provisions in employment contracts concerning IP created by employees. These agreements should outline who owns IP created during employment and under what conditions, including how confidential information must be handled both during and after employment. Such agreements may also secure eventual cooperation from employees which may be required when filing for IP such as patents.

Joint Development Agreements
When collaborating on new projects, joint development agreements help manage the contributions of each party and set clear expectations for the resulting IP's ownership and commercial use rights.


Post-IP Filing Agreements

After your IP rights are filed and established, these agreements help in managing and monetizing your IP:


Assignment Agreements
If transferring IP ownership, whether selling a patent or transferring rights as part of a business sale, assignment agreements clearly detail the rights being transferred and the conditions of such transfers. In many cases, such assignments need to be filed with the relevant intellectual property office in order to properly update the public records.

Licensing Agreements
Licensing allows you to grant usage rights to another party while retaining ownership. These agreements should detail the scope of the license, financial terms, duration, and specific rights and obligations of each party. For trademark licenses, it is also important to have the agreement properly establish the owner's control over the quality of goods and services associated with the trademark.

Franchise Agreements
For businesses looking to expand through franchising, such as restaurants or retail stores, franchise agreements can be crucial. Similar to licensing agreements, these agreements outline how the franchisor’s trademarks, service marks, and proprietary information can be used by the franchisee. They also detail the obligations of each party, the terms of payment, and guidelines for maintaining brand consistency across multiple locations.


Whether you're at the idea stage or have been operating a successful business for years, these agreements provide a framework that protects your intellectual property and supports your business's continued growth. Feel free to contact us for assistance relating to any of these types of agreements.

Disclaimer: The resources published on this website are available for informational purposes only and should not considered legal advice on any subject matter. By viewing these resources, the reader understands there is no solicitor client relationship between the reader and JZC Intellectual Property Law. This website should not be used as a substitute for legal advice, and readers are urged to consult legal counsel on any specific legal questions concerning a specific situation.

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