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Ms. Lorraine Stewart Rojek

Solutions to IP Pitfalls

Here are two actionable business practices to address the IP issue:
 
A better practice: Non-disclosure agreements are generally exchanged early in an agency review process to facilitate a more robust conversation between consultants, clients and agencies. These tend to be boilerplate agreements exchanged by anyone from legal entities or administrative personnel in a rush to get into the review.
 
These legal agreements should be reviewed closely. They can be better written to definitively include not just existing factual information about the parties, but all reports, correspondence, documents, data and recommendations relating to the work produced during the review process. Information that is indeed protected as proprietary and or confidential is not to be shared with third parties without consent. If designed and executed as mutual agreements, both parties are usually agreeable to signing. If the agreement is violated, there is a course of legal action for the injured party.
 
A best practice: Secondly, it's incumbent for search consultants who lead these engagements to include in their letter of agreement with a client a specific provision that stipulates that the client company agrees that the right to the intellectual property created by the participating advertising agencies during the consultant-led agency review remains the property of the advertising agency until that point which it is contracted for hire. Agreement to this principle upfront as condition of the consultancy engagement establishes the terms by which the review is conducted. If a client organization is not willing to agree to this provision, it means it sees a different purpose to the review.
 
Click here to read more of Lorraine Rojek’s thoughts on Solutions to IP Pitfalls.

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The 4A’s supports Lorraine’s best practice recommendation of having written agreements that stipulate that agencies retain ownership of agency search-new business ideas and work product. The association guidance recommends that agencies preserve ownership and that the parties formalize new business agreements. 4A guidance is provided in the position papers below:
 
- Best Practice Guidance: Ownership of Agency Ideas, Plans and Work Developed During the New-Business Process
The AAAA recommends that agencies preserve ownership of new business-search ideas, plans and work product.
 
- Best Practice Guidance: Agency Search Agreements
The American Association of Advertising Agencies recommends that agencies execute new business agreements with client prospects at the outset of every agency search.
Posted by Mr. Thomas Finneran (Wednesday, November 25, 2009 9:39 AM)
 

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