Which jurisdiction to specify in contract to enforce IP law?

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s.lindberg
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Which jurisdiction to specify in contract to enforce IP law?

Post by s.lindberg » Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:30 am

Background:
> The employer is based in the UK.
> The employee is based abroad (outside of EU and USA; say jurisdiction J).

Question:
> When drafting employment agreement for contract work, in the Contract, "Law and Jurisdiction" section, should UK, J or both jurisdictions be specified. What is more beneficial for employer in terms of enforcing copyright?

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Wed Dec 21, 2016 3:29 pm

Hi s,

It would be usual for the employer to draft the contract and thus they would usually choose their local jurisdiction as being the most convenient.

However you mention 'contract work' which makes me suspect that, possibly, you are to be employed as a freelance contractor not a full employee, in which case this may mean that section 11(2) won't apply. It also sounds (reading between the lines of your posting) that maybe you are planning to work from home outside Europe for a company which is based in the UK. If this is right then you should certainly draft the contract as the supplier of services and it would therefore be convenient to specify your own country as the applicable jurisdiction. I would dismiss any thought of joint jurisdiction as this could never work satisfactorily. Unfortunately, without knowing the country in which you are based, I can't say which has the more beneficial employment / IP law.

It sounds to me as if you might need to get some professional help in drafting a comprehensive contract of employment or contract for services (which ever is applicable in your case) which safeguards your IP rights to the fullest extent. If you can't afford to consult a lawyer, you could try one of the (UK based) pro bono services which offer advice to the creative industries such as Own-It, or if you are a member of a professional or trade organisation in your own country, see if they can help. Alternatively you could try adapting a contract template such as those provided by PandaDoc or SimplyDocs. But beware: a badly drafted contract may actually be worse than no contract! This sounds counter-intuitive, but a court will be reluctant to void or overturn a written term simply because the writer didn't understand the implications of what he had written, whereas if there is no written agreement a court will tend to default to what would be normal accepted practice in that particular industry.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

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