Work for hire is any work done by someone for a person or business. Working for hire can be used with intellectual property, work that has no tangible value. A work for hire agreement should be written and in place before the work begins to avoid legal issues.
Work For Hire Examples:
Patents: A government authority or license conferring a right or title for a set period, especially the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention.
Copyrights: The exclusive legal right given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material and authorize others to do the same. Books website content, songs, and social media are examples of work that can be copyrighted.
Trademarks: A symbol, word, or words legally registered or established by representing a company or product created by a designer for a customer.
Why a Work for Hire Agreement is Essential
Anything of value created can cause potential legal issues regarding who owns the creation and who can earn money. A patent can make its owner a significant amount of money throughout its lifetime.
A work for hire agreement will clarify the terms of ownership.
What Should a Work for Hire Agreement Include?
Work for hire agreements can be extensive. Since every situation is unique and some starters require specific language for exceptions to the ownership, there is no standard template.
The business and worker’s names and addresses must be identified, along with the worker’s status. Language should expressly state ownership and whether the work belongs to the business or the worker hired.
A work for hire relationship must include a payment relationship, identifying the payer and payee, details of the work itself, including formats, requirements, due dates, and whether the worker is a contractor and requires insurance.
It is wise to add a confidentiality clause to the contract prohibiting the worker from discussing the details of the invention, copyright, or trademark with others and the penalties if either party fails to fulfill the responsibilities outlined in the contract in any way. You may wish to include a section where both parties agree to settle any disputes by arbitration..
Do I Need an Attorney to Draft My Work for Hire Agreement?
As stated above, each work for hire relationship is unique, so there is no standard template. It is wise to steer clear of online agreement sites and forms. You will need an experienced intellectual property attorney who can write an agreement with the specific language requirements that fit your needs.
It’s always best to have an attorney work on this agreement that you can use in various situations. It’s a good idea to have a separate form for employees and contract workers.
Paul J. Burkhart
Paul J. Burkhart is an intellectual property attorney. If you have any questions or someone you know needs an attorney to draft a work for hire agreement, please contact the Law Office of Paul J. Burkhart at 561-880-0155 or email him
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