Business

Protecting intellectual property rights of your clinic

Protecting intellectual property rights of your clinic

It’s much coming into the trend to see consultants and to acquire outside services to have a brand identity developed for their practices. However most practitioners remain unaware that without a proper agreement with the branding vendor, the vendor can conveniently pass on practitioners ideas to other clients to perform their marketing activities. Much less it is realized that having so done by the vendor is copy infringement.

The copy right law in Pakistan, like everywhere in the world, protects the creation of any object, tangible or intangible. The standard rule of thumb remains, the creator of the work remains the owner of the copyrights, unless the work done was designated as “contracted outsourced”job only

To simply understand, if the dental practice hires a web site designing company to design their website, and it was agreed to be done as “contracted outsourced”, the client automatically becomes the owner of the work authored by the vendor. This without any ambiguity means, the client, in this case the owner(s) of the dental practice are the owner of the work authored by the website designer. Unless the agreement is not “contracted outsource”, the vendor remains at liberty to reuse the design and sell to someone else. While the vendor can profit out of this legal loophole, the dental practice’s branding loosing its ingenuity.

In essence, if the contract is made to the website designer, interior architect, logo designer as “contracted outsourced”, automatically the client becomes the copyright owner of the content authored by the vendor.

These requirements call for the parties to have a written agreement with specific work-for-hire provisions. Since it is not always clear whether the work product falls into one of the nine specified categories authorized by statute, a well-drafted independent contractor agreement should include language that assigns all of the intellectual property rights associated with the work created to the dental practice contracting for the work.

Since more dental practices are hiring independent contractors and consultants rather than full-time or part-time employees, the question of ownership regarding intellectual property rights has created a substantial amount of litigation. The consequences of failing to take the necessary steps in order to protect your dental practice’s intellectual property rights can be very problematic, particularly if there is a dispute over payment or the quality of work with the independent contractor or consultant.

In today’s digital and knowledge-based business world, dental practices are not always careful to protect their “work made for hire.” Intellectual property rights associated with work created by employees and independent contractors can be the source of expensive litigation if a dental practice becomes successful. Intellectual property is also an important subject of review during any due diligence period that may be conducted for the purposes of financing and selling a business. As a matter of general practice, and especially when the intellectual property is crucial to the long-term growth of the practice, well-drafted employment and/or independent contractor agreements must be in place.

August 7, 2014

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Dental is part of the Medical News Group of publications which in 1968 became the pioneer of medical journalism in Pakistan. Medical News is the only periodical in Pakistan which has 3 simultaneous editions from Karachi, Islamabad and online.

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