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Intellectual property clause on contracts?

Discussion in 'General Business Forum:' started by klaus, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. klaus

    klaus New Member


    I have run into this funny clause in a contract for packaging design, which says I have to guarantee that the work is original (ok) and does not infringe on any intellectual property from a third party. Is this common?

    This sounds like professional suicide for me... how could I ever prove that some obscure brand in some god forsaken country has'nt already done something similar?. In order to do things properly I would have to do a copyright search/investigation worldwide? for every project I do for this company? it sounds economically not viable and I very much doubt that this is normal.
    I could just sign the contract and expect my professional indemnity to deal with a hypothetical lawsuit, but that just sounds plain wrong, doesn't it?
    Thanks for any thougts
  2. Wardy

    Wardy Active Member

    I'm pretty sure it just means that you're saying all your work is original and not copied from anything/anyone else.
  3. klaus

    klaus New Member

    Thanks for the answer Wardy, do you mean you have signed such clause in a contract? that's what I really would like to know.

    I do know what the clause means, but here the crucial detail is whether you are asked to "guarantee" that the work hasn't been done before (which means you would be legally liable if someone turns up to sue the client for it).

    I have found similar clauses in the past but they were always worded as "the designer guarantees that he didn't knowingly infringe..." (the crucial detail here being "knowingly"), this kind of wording I'm ok with , but I just want to get some opinions on whether this type of clause is common in contracts provided by clients.
  4. Wardy

    Wardy Active Member

    I've not had to sign many of these, but yes, it sounds a bit strange.

    No-one can 'guarantee' that their work doesn't look similar to something else. In my line of work, all I can do is provide initial sketches, dated if possible,
    that they are my original ideas.
  5. Paul Murray

    Paul Murray Moderator Staff Member

    Ask them what they believe it means before you sign it.
  6. klaus

    klaus New Member

    Thanks Paul,
    I actually insisted until they removed it. I'm naturally cautious, and they might say it means "X" now, but in say 5 years time, in court, whatever is on paper is what will count, and I prefer not to have that sword over my head.

    I take it you didn't come across this type of clause in the past either?

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