Under normal employment law in the UK, work done for a company on company time is considered "work for hire" and the relevant IP belongs to that company.

That being the case why do employment contracts contain a clause repeating this?

For example:

"To the extent permitted by law, all rights in patents, copyright, registered design right, design right, trademarks or know how which may be created by you during the course of your employment ("Intellectual Property") will belong to XXXX absolutely. Any internet domain names registered by you in the course of your employment shall be registered in the name of XXXX. "

Is this strictly necessary? and if so why?

  • In any case, a contractual clause does not have to be "meaningful" in the sense that it makes a significant legal difference without it. A contractual clause repeating the legal default or mandate may simply be there for information purposes so both parties understand the legal situation. In some other cases (e.g. rental or consumer contract), it is often even required by law to repeat legal requirements in order to inform the weaker party their legal rights.
    – xngtng
    Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 20:24

1 Answer 1


Certainty is better than uncertainty

You know the law and I know the law and this company knows the law but there may be people taking this job who do not know the law. By putting it explicitly in the contract they are now aware that they don’t own the IP and this may avoid a dispute later on. A dispute avoided is way better than a dispute resolved.

  • I would despute that I know the law but your thinking is sound. Commented Nov 9, 2022 at 23:57

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