Agency/Client Relations, Pitching, Position Papers
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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.
to read more of Lorraine Rojek’s thoughts on Solutions to IP Pitfalls.