Myths about the law abound. They range from age-old lore, like “possession is nine-tenths of the law,” to mistakes about intellectual property rights. When you fall into the trap of letting these fables guide your decisions, you can get your business into trouble. So let’s dispel some of these legal myths.
Myth 1: Hey, I own that intellectual property. Misunderstandings about intellectual property ownership are rampant. Many businesspeople think if they register a new business with their home state, they automatically obtain trademark registration of their business’ name. No such luck. The trademark registration process is a completely independent process, and you don’t get any trademark registration rights just from setting up a new company.
Similarly, when businesses hire independent contractors to work on new ideas and inventions, companies often assume that they own the intellectual property created by the contractor. Wrong again. Unless you have a special agreement in place assigning the IP rights to your business, that contractor remains the owner of any copyright or patent associated with his or her work. (more…)