Your intellectual property can be an incredibly valuable asset; part of that value comes from licensing. Licensing gives parties the rights to use, protect and share your IP, so it is crucial that you have valid contracts in place detailing the rights and responsibilities.
Contracts can be between you and employees, developers, government entities and companies either licensing your IP or granting you licenses for theirs. No matter who is tied together with an IP contract, it is essential for both parties to understand the agreement and comply with it. If this doesn’t happen, parties may seek certain remedies.
What causes contract disputes?
Backing up, we should explain some of the common reasons why disputes arise in the first place. Depending on the type of contract you have in place, it should detail proper use, duration and any other restrictions on the agreement.
A party can violate a contract by:
- Transferring ownership without permission
- Using the licensed work outside the scope of the agreement
- Allowing others to use or duplicate protected material
- Redesigning or altering the content
Should a party violate a contract in these or other ways, remedies can be available.
Remedies for IP contract violations
Remedies for any contractual breach depend on the type of violation. However, there are some common ways parties can resolve these disputes. They may:
- Order fulfillment of the contract on its terms
- Cancel the agreement
- Pay financial damages
These solutions aim to repair any damage created by a breach.
There can also be remedies available if another party infringes on your IP. In other words, you need not have a contract with a specific party to be able to protect your IP. If you can prove that you own specific material that another party misused, you can seek damages and an injunction ordering the infringing party to stop using your IP.
Creating your contracts carefully
Considering how vital IP protection is, business owners must take these contracts seriously. Create them properly, review them carefully and enforce them aggressively. Taking these steps can protect your rights and the IP in question.