A business should always consider the intellectual property risks during hiring, management and departure of any employee having knowledge of its IP, writes Yang Xun
The most valuable intellectual properties are probably not those recorded on paper or on other media. They exist in human minds and flow with people movement. This article discusses the intellectual property (IP) risks that are encountered in an employment context, and how a company should control these risks.
When a company recruits, in addition to looking at competence and experience for the work and the costs of hiring, it should assess any related IP risks, that is: i) whether the hiring will be likely to trigger any IP infringement; and/or ii) whether the hiring will give the new employer full IP rights in the work done by the person hired by the company. Based on this assessment, the company may take steps to control the risks.
IP risks in full-time employment
A company may wish to hire an expert who has experience in working for a competitor in the same area because the experience proves the expert’s competence and knowledge in the relevant area, however the person’s prior working experience may also trigger a risk of a challenge alleging IP infringement.
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Yang Xun is of counsel with Simmons & Simmons’ Shanghai representative office