By Debby Winters
In the last blog post we looked at how the current employer of the founders might try to lay claim to the IP rights of the startup. In this post, we will look at the founders or stakeholders of the startup.
In many instances, multiple stakeholders contribute IP to the startup. As a general rule, IP rights belong to the individual who conceived of an invention or created the work first, absent any agreement to the contrary. Well-crafted written agreements between stakeholders and the startup can ensure all rights are assigned to the startup. For IP created before pre-incorporation, IP transfer via a written agreement, in exchange of company shares or for money, is recommended. If co-founders are involved in the formation of the startup, a founder agreement may be important in ensuring that the startup owns the IP. Such an agreement can prevent issues with respect to a departing co-founder later claiming IP ownership.
In our next blog post we will look at how independent contractors could try to claim IP rights.