Benjamin Franklin is credited with coining the axiom that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Allegedly, Franklin actually made the statement in connection with fire safety, which was an avocation for him. Today, the axiom applies perfectly to corporate efforts to manage intellectual property (IP) issues. Many companies rely on old proprietary rights forms or use generic forms collected by the human resource department (HR) with little thought given to downstream consequences.
This article advocates for having in-house or retained counsel make periodic reviews of corporate employment agreements and for having counsel involved in any new hire where there is strong likelihood that the position will lead to the creation of IP. Furthermore, interviewing a potential new hire with prior IP experience for a position that is expected to generate IP should receive special attention in order to avoid conflicts with a prior employer and any prior agreement concerning IP.
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