When two or more companies collaborate on a project, it is essential to have an intercompany services agreement in place to outline the terms of the partnership. One crucial aspect of these agreements is the handling of intellectual property.
Intellectual property refers to any unique creation of the mind, including inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols. When companies work together, they often share ideas, concepts, and data. Consequently, it is important to specify who owns each piece of intellectual property and how it can be used.
The first step in defining intellectual property ownership is to identify what types of intellectual property are involved in the collaboration. Patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets are four main categories of intellectual property. Once the specific types of intellectual property are identified, the intercompany services agreement should outline who holds the ownership and how the companies intend to use the intellectual property.
Another critical component of intellectual property management in intercompany services agreements is the protection and confidentiality of the shared information. Confidentiality and non-disclosure clauses should be included in the agreement to protect the intellectual property of both companies.
An example of a confidentiality clause in an intercompany services agreement can read, “The parties shall maintain in strict confidence and not disclose, use for any purpose other than for the purpose of this agreement, or reproduce any proprietary technical, commercial, financial or other information or data generated or exchanged in the course of performance under this agreement, except as required by law.”
It is also important to consider the exit strategy within the intercompany services agreement regarding intellectual property. Companies should consider what happens to the intellectual property that was developed while working together if one party decides to end the partnership. The agreement should specify the ownership of the intellectual property, the use rights, and the limitations on usage upon termination of the agreement.
In conclusion, intellectual property is a critical component of intercompany services agreements, and it is vital to have proper procedures in place to manage it. A carefully crafted agreement can provide clarity and prevent misunderstandings that could result in costly litigation. Companies should work together to create an agreement that balances their respective needs and ensures that all intellectual property is adequately protected.