Joint Ownership: Shortcut to Trouble?

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Life science companies are constantly entering into collaborations or other agreements with third parties in which new intellectual property may be created, whether it is a full-fledged partnership with a large pharmaceutical company, a sponsored research agreement with a university, a services agreement with a CRO or a clinical trial agreement with a trial site. Sometimes, particularly when the potential for creating new IP seems low, parties may want to avoid negotiating IP rights and default to joint ownership of such IP. This can be a mistake with potentially significant consequences. Securing an assignment or license from the other joint owner of its rights in a joint invention will help avoid these consequences. However, if parties choose to hold ownership jointly they will still need to address many of the same issues faced in a licensing context.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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