As summer ends, now is as good a time as any to be reminded of an indispensable precautionary measure that should be taken by all entrepreneurs!
Unlike in the American system, under French law, your company is not automatically the owner of the creations (such as artwork, design or photo) that you order from and which are developed by external service providers, or those developed in-house by your company’s own employees.
In order to be allowed to use those creations freely, within the framework of your employment contracts or your service contracts concluded with external service providers, your company must make sure to include a transfer of rights clause adapted to your business sector, scrupulously complying with the provisions set forth in the French Code of Intellectual Property. If such a transfer has not been set up – or in the event of a poorly prepared transfer – the property rights regarding the creation will remain in the ownership of the creator who can object to the said creation being used by your company, in any form whatsoever.
That negligence is not without consequences for your company, whose entire business could, in extreme cases, be jeopardised.
The absence of a transfer of invention rights to your company might also delay action by certain investors or buyers, or even cause them to reconsider their planned acquisition or investment.
As a result, it would be especially unfortunate to be confronted with this complication when, in fact, it can be avoided beforehand, by making simple, albeit specific and adapted, arrangements in advance.