Most companies understand the importance of advertising and
marketing to maintain momentum in their brand. It may come as a
surprise, but if you engage an ad agency to provide you with
advertising or marketing ideas, you may not own the intellectual
property rights in the ideas that are presented to you - even
though you paid for them.
In most cases, agreements between companies and ad agencies
include a clause that allows the ad agency to retain the
intellectual property rights in the ideas or campaign they come up
with, even though the company paid for the agency's time and
effort in creating the idea or campaign.
However, as a recent example shows, there is a way to obtain
ownership of those ideas or campaign.
Recently, Red Bull approached about a dozen marketing agencies
to test their interest in working for the company by asking them to
develop event ideas and promotional projects. Red Bull agreed to
pay each "ideas provider" $2,500 for their efforts. The
catch was that the moment the idea was presented to Red Bull, the
global intellectual property rights would transfer to Red Bull and
they would not be obliged to use the agency that created the idea
to execute the marketing campaign.
This is neither new nor illegal. Companies are well within their
rights to enter into contracts with ad agencies where the
intellectual property rights attaching to any ideas produced by the
ad agency are automatically assigned to the company.
If this approach seems appealing to you, then you should ensure
that you have a written agreement with the ad agency you engage and
specify ownership details of each element of the work that will be
created. Make sure that the agreement gives you ownership rights
or, alternatively, a license that is broad enough so that you can
use the ideas or campaign how, when and where you want.
For ad agencies, whether you want to maintain ownership over the
ideas and campaigns created by your agency or give some of your
rights away, then you should review your agreements to make sure
that they work for you.
For more information, please contact:
t (02) 9931 4894
t (02) 9931 4955
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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