What Are Invention Assignment and Work for Hire Agreements?
If you have a W2 employee who creates intellectual property on the job, for the most part the law presumes they are creating "work for hire," and that the intellectual property rights in what they create belong to the employer.
The "work for hire" piece is therefore somewhat optional in a traditional employment relationship, though may employers want to be sure, especially if their employees are creating a lot of content or new developments. The "invention assignment" piece is something not necessarily covered by the common law, and makes very clear that if they create something during employment that might be considered their intellectual property, it is assigned to the employer.
These agreements become critical if you are using independent contractors in your business, because there is no similar presumption that what they create belongs to the employer.
There are many examples of these agreements on the internet, which all may look the same to you. There are subtle distinctions, however, and it is important to discuss with an employment lawyer exactly what you want to protect and what you want to leave open to your employees to create in their off time without worrying about an intellectual property battle.
Learn more here about invention assignment and work for hire agreements in Massachusetts.
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