Companies engaged in projects involving the joint development of technology often agree to own the intellectual property rights in that technology jointly without appreciating the legal consequences of that decision. In fact, the statutory and common law applicable to such joint owners of intellectual property is replete with traps for the unwary and may generate results that the parties never intended and would prefer to avoid. This article will identify several of those potential pitfalls, discuss alternatives to joint ownership, and suggest contractual provisions to achieve the parties’ objectives if a joint ownership arrangement is chosen.

The following are some potential pitfalls of joint ownership of intellectual property in the absence of an agreement between the parties to the contrary.

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