Intellectual property (IP) is the property created by your mind or the practical application of a novel idea. It can be an invention, a process, a logo (trademark), a word (trademark), a phrase (trademark), a business/product name, a design, know-how, financial data, lyrics, musical composition, screenplay, book, graphics, computer programming, test results, trade secrets, proprietary knowledge – anything written or recorded in which copyright can exist.
It doesn’t really matter what form the IP takes, the important thing is that you realise it is valuable and take steps to protect your creative assets. There are a number of different contracts that you can use to provide you with peace of mind.
These types of agreements are used in many different business situations.
For example, you have a great idea for a business venture and decide to find a JV partner to help you develop the idea. Before you start telling them all your great ideas, you should put a confidentiality agreement in place, because this sets own how they can use the information that you are going to disclose – it essentially states that they can’t take your good ideas and use it themselves.
Employment contracts often include confidentiality clauses but sometimes employers need a more robust document so they will implement a separate Employee Confidentiality agreement.
Business owners selling their business will use a Confidentiality agreement so that they can disclose sensitive data to prospective buyers within a protective framework.
One last point is that confidentiality can either be a One Way or Mutual consideration.
To sum up the Confidentiality Agreements can be
When you license your Intellectual Property, you are essentially allowing another party to use your IP in exchange for payment.
Licence Copyright material – this includes any type of IP for which you own the copyright eg, written word, music, film, software etc
Licence IP – any type of IP eg processes, databases, trade secrets etc
Trademark Licence – pertaining to trademark IP, logos etc
In a Manufacturing and Development Rights Agreement – the Licensor (the owner of certain intellectual property) grants the Licensee (the manufacturer) the right to manufacture, use and sell or otherwise distribute the Product to the market place.
An IP Assignment is essentially the transfer or sale of IP to another party.