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Who owns intellectual property in a partnership?

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2022 | Business Formation

If you have a brilliant idea for a product or service, you may be itching to get it to customers. Still, you simply may not have the capital to turn your dreams into reality. You also may not have what it takes to do business on your own. Either way, you may be thinking about working with a partner or two.

Even though setting up a partnership may be in your legal and financial interests, you do not want to hand over the legal rights to your intellectual property to your partners. Fortunately, it is probably possible to protect your intellectual property, provided you do some advance planning.

Bringing intellectual property into the partnership

As the creator of intellectual property, you may want to apply for certain legal protections. According to the International Trade Administration, these protections may include copyrights, patents or trademarks. If you apply for and receive any of these, you can negotiate how your partners must compensate you for the partnership’s use of any intellectual property you bring into it.

Creating intellectual property during the partnership

You can reduce friction between you and your partners by clearly addressing any intellectual property you create during the partnership in your partnership documents. To protect yourself, it also may be worthwhile to keep comprehensive records of each partner’s efforts in creating the intellectual property.

Your intellectual property has the potential to be quite valuable, so you want to be certain your receive the full benefit of everything you create. Ultimately, because disputes between partners are not exactly rare, addressing intellectual property in your partnership agreement and other foundational documents ensures everyone knows what to expect.