Common Business Law Mistake.
A big mistake often made my business owners and entrepreneurs is signing agreements (or any document) without first reading them carefully and/or understanding what they read. In this day and age, it seems hard to believe that any savvy business owner would enter into a relationship without a signed agreement. But it happenes ALL THE TIME. With just one click of a mouse, you can sign away your valuable intellectual property rights and never even know you did it.
In a recent Charleston County, South Carolina intellectual property suit, plaintiff Jim Jones claims that the person he hired to turn his ideas into a series of smart phone applications violated his copyright. Jim Jones argued that since he paid for the work, he owned the work. Jones’ application was intended to allow people to access cab drivers directly through their phone, effectively bypassing the middleman.
There was no written agreement between the two parties.
“He didn’t deliver,” Jones said. “I paid him all that money and he didn’t deliver. PLUS when I complained, he hid the source code and made it so I couldn’t access my own Apps. When I told him I wanted access to my workproduct, he said, “You don’t own the rights, I do.” The contractor said, “We don’t have a contract in place, which means that as the creator of the content, I own the rights, not you.”
Lawsuits such as this one are tedious and costly and can damage a small business beyond repair. This is why it is worth the time and the initial financial outlay to secure a valid and enforceable contract that can withstand a challenge. A contract prepared and thoroughly researched by a competent intellectual property lawyer . Such an IP business lawyer can help you navigate through contracts to ensure they are skillfully drafted and executed.
For information on how my law practice can help you with your contract needs, complete this form, or call our office at 415-389-0975.
Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours.
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