What is keeping software company CEOs awake? Part 2

We at InnovaCounsel recently asked several software company execs this question: “What are the big issues that are costing you sleep these nights?”

 

Last week, we addressed the issue: “Use of [independent] contractors and having various taxing agencies dictate that they are employees instead.”

 

If you didn’t get a chance to read our response, you can access it here: http://innovacounsel.com/what-is-keeping-software-company-ceos-awake/

 

Below are the second CEO issue that was raised, and our suggestions for dealing with it.  Please note that our suggestions are not intended as legal advice!

 

Issue:How to protect the company from software ownership claims when employees or contractors reuse code from a prior job or customer engagement when you have agreed that the software your company provides is work-made-for-hire.”

 

Suggestions: Here is an opportunity to manage a big risk and to build your company culture at the same time.

 

If you haven’t already done so, now would be a good time to develop a New-Hire Orientation program that is designed to immerse new employees in your company’s culture.  Benchmark several companies that have earned the title of “great place to work” and decide which of those attributes are most likely to make your company the next winner of such an award.

 

Include in the program a section on “Intellectual Property 101,” including what IP misappropriation is and is not.  Have your company’s in-house General Counsel conduct this training.  Your GC truly understands how the law intersects with your business, and can answer employee questions in the right context.

 

Also provide periodic IP refresher training for employees.  It will help you to surface problems before they become huge exposures.

 

If your company doesn’t have an in-house General Counsel, then have the training conducted by someone with substantial experience in that role.

 

Stuart Blake

Mobile – (949) 842-9379

sblake@innovacounsel.com

 

Michael Oswald

Mobile – 208.914.3086

moswald@innovacounsel.com

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