Disputes over development projects are extremely common in even the best of economies, but are particularly common in today’s world, where most companies are on a tight budget and developers are always on the lookout for better paying opportunities.
In fact, development disputes are becoming so widespread that I receive calls now almost daily about yet another web or software develpment dispute. Surprisingly, in almost every case, the purchaser of the development work has overlooked a critical aspect of the project: the purchaser has neglected to request an assignment of the copyright for the work developed.
My recent post on the Silicon Valley IP Licensing Law Blog explored why you should require a copyright assignment agreement before you start a development project. Requiring a copyright assignment when you start the development project ensures that you will obtain the rights to the work you are paying for when the project is completed. Otherwise, the chances are high that the developer will terminate your license to use the work as soon as a dispute arises, and you will lose not only the cash you invested in the project but also your rights to use the work.