The new employees who have just joined the company need to have a clear understanding of how intellectual property rights affects their work within or without the office. This is to enable them work effectively and avoid any illegal implications. For this reason, I have come up with a training session to educate and explain to them how intellectual property and the workplace interact.
New employees may not be aware of how intellectual property rights, which include industrial property and copyright, works. They may unknowingly infringe IP rights especially copyright while performing their normal duties. This includes making copies of poems, books or journals and pinning them on their workstation. This is usually done with good intentions maybe to pass a message but it leads to legal issues concerning IP.
This training is intended mainly for the new employees. Many of them may be having an idea of the intellectual property laws such as patents and copyright but don’t know how it affect them at work. The meeting will be official and will be conducted in an official manner since the trainees are all educated and know what is expected of them in such training sessions.
Contents of the training
Brief overview of the Intellectual property
Types of intellectual property
Interaction of the intellectual property and the workplace
How to be cautious at work concerning intellectual property
Pre training preparations
Notification of the new employees about the training
Printing of material needed in training for instance a printed copy of the Intellectual property act
Setting the time, date and venue of the training
Please review the information provided below on the contents of the training session and your permission to carry out this training is hereby requested.
Content of the training session
Intellectual property infringement has become rampant in the workplace and has negative effects to both the company and the people who represent the company and its policies.
What is intellectual property?
This refers to an idea or anything that has been created by a person such as images, artistic work, inventions, design and other works that can be used for commercial purpose. It can simply be defined as anything created by someone using his or her intellectual abilities.
Categories of intellectual property
Industrial property: This incorporates patents, which are rights that are granted to an inventor by the sovereign state, trademarks, which can be a symbol or a name such as CocaCola, which is used in identifying a product, and is restricted to the use by the manufacture and industrial designs.
Intellectual property and the workplace
Intellectual property is a creation from somebody’s mind and thoughts. It may be tangible like a machine or intangible like music or commercial designs. The inventor owns exclusive rights to what they have invented. In special cases where an employee has been paid to come up with ideas for an organization, the employee here is bound by their contract with the organization. Therefore, he or she cannot own exclusive rights to the invention. If it is a copyright, then they have the right to own, produce and distribute their work. If it is a patent then they own the right to the machine or process patented. This means that unless the intellectual property is registered under Method electronics then it belongs to somebody else (a third party). Therefore, it cannot be used without his or her permission. Method electronics deal in electronics such as bus bars, power cables, sensors and switches (Method Electronics Inc 2008). Therefore, the company should seek to copyright their products in order to ensure that their ideas are not ‘stolen’.
Misuse of Intellectual property
Intellectual property is infringed a lot mostly unknowingly. This happens at different levels. For instance at school when students photocopies pages of a book written by somebody else. In addition, when scholars write articles about their works using somebody else’s ideas without acknowledging them equals to intellectual property infringement (plagiarism). Business professions also go against the intellectual property act by using someone else’s ideas to market their products or even create their trademark design (Mossoff 2001).
Consequences of infringing
Industrial property and copyright are protected under the intellectual property act, which encapsulates several intellectual property laws. Such laws are there to protect the inventors from being defraud of their ideas. If someone infringes it, he or she may end up being sued in a court of law, which may lead to a jail term, fine or both jail time and fine. The company will have a tainted image, which will negatively affect the marketing, and selling of their products since customers will lose trust in the company. In addition, the company may face a lawsuit for infringing intellectual property leading to paying fines as compensation the owner of the property (Chapman 2002).
Punishment for the perpetrators
Organizations are very keen on following up on matters pertaining to intellectual property. Any employee found infringing the law is warned sternly. This happens mostly three times and if the employees does not cease then they have to be discontinued from work with immediate effect. Intellectual property has become a major problem at the place of work leading to adverse effects to the firm and the other employees alike and that is why it has become a big problem. Employees are fond of printing and reproducing of other peoples work and pinning them on their workstations. Some download songs and share them with fellow employees (Greenhalgh 2010). This is illegal and qualifies as infringement of intellectual property.
Avoiding infringement of Intellectual property
There are many ways employees can avoid infringement. For instance during presentations whereby one uses data from somebody else’s' published research, he or she should reference or cite it from the original owners’ research. At the work place, employees should be careful when downloading or printing literary or artistic works. Employees should educate one another on the subject of Intellectual property and the consequences of going against it. Industrial property and copyright should not be used shared or reproduced without legal documents from the owner permitting the same (Moore 2011). In addition, employees should ensure that they keep the company’s information a secret in order to ensure that vital information does not fall into the wrong hands such as the company’s competitor. For example, engineers working on a new product launch should ensure that they keep it a secret.
The purpose of writing this memo is to increase the awareness of intellectual property laws at the company. The memo seeks to present a training plan that will increase the awareness of employees at the company. The memo is meant for the supervisor-engineering department and it should be shared with all engineers at the company. The training plan is aimed at all employees at the company in order to ensure that they obey the guidelines set out for intellectual property.
Chapman, Audrey R., ( 2002). The Human Rights Implications of Intellectual Property Protection. Journal of International Economic Law 5 (4): 861–882.
Greenhalgh, C., Rogers M., (2010). The Nature and Role of Intellectual Property. Innovation, Intellectual Property, and Economic Growth. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Methode Electronics inc. (2008). Products: Methode Electronics website. Retrieved 27/09/2012. From www.methode.com
Moore, Adam, "Intellectual Property", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (summer 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2011/entries/intellectual-property/>.
Mossoff, A.( 2001) Rethinking the Development of Patents: An Intellectual History, 1550-1800, Hastings Law Journal, Vol. 52, p. 1255.