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What should be in an employee's proprietary agreement

The essence of creating and nurturing a small business is to make the most out of your ideas and constantly innovating to make your way in the marketplace. Of course, this cannot be done by yourself. In many situations, employees must be hired to handle a number of tasks, whether it be technical maintenance, analysis or even client management.

But with any business, employees constantly come and go throughout the life of the business. Imagine some of your best ideas and innovations following disgruntled employees out of the door. If this doesn’t sound good, you are not alone. However, one way to avoid the scenario is to protect your ideas. This may include having new employees sign agreements that acknowledge who owns the company’s proprietary information.

These agreements, often known as, employee intellectual property agreements, proprietary information acknowledgements, or confidentiality and assignment agreements often do the job. If you are putting together such a document, regardless of the name you give it, it should accomplish the following:

-          The document should acknowledge that while the employee is working for the employer, his or her intellectual property is actually owned by the company.

-          Notify the employee that any and all inventions created during the course of the person’s employment are property of the employer, unless there is a separate agreement.

-          Ensure that the employee understands their obligation to keep proprietary information confidential.

If you have questions about what else should be included in proprietary information agreements, an experienced business law attorney can help. 

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