It is a common misconception at law that an individual or company will automatically own any intellectual property that is created by an independent contractor who is engaged for the purpose of developing that intellectual property.
At law, the general position is that an independent contractor will own any intellectual property that they create (even if you have paid them to create it for you).
It is implied that you will be granted a licence to use this intellectual property that they have been engaged to create for you, but the independent contractor will ultimately still retain ownership of it.
If you would like to transfer the ownership of this intellectual property from your independent contractor to your business, you need to explicitly set out this intention in the contract that you use to engage the contractor.
If you have already engaged the contractor and the contract is silent in relation to intellectual property ownership (and therefore the contractor will retain ownership), then you will need to prepare a deed of assignment or other document where the transfer of ownership is legally recorded.
On the other hand, for an employee the position generally at law is that any intellectual property developed or created in the course of their employment will be owned by their employer.
Similarly, if you (or your employee) would like to grant the employee ownership of any intellectual property that they develop in the course of their employment, then you will need to specify this in their employment contract.
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