If you are looking to start your own architecture firm or expand your already existing architecture business, you should consider what to include in your employment contracts. An employment contract is to an architecture business what being an architect is to Ted Mosby’s success in his romantic pursuits – they are both critically important. As an architect, you will prepare drawings, designs, plans and or/models of buildings, as well as the actual building itself. This is likely to be an involved and collaborative process, and it is important each employee knows precisely what is required of him or her.
Where do I begin?
When discussing employment contracts, it is best to consider the type of business you operate. What is your business model? What are, or what do you envisage to be, the roles and responsibilities of each employee in your business? We cannot overstate the importance of clearly drafted employment contracts. They are the blueprints for the running of your business. It is important that the roles and responsibilities of each employee are clearly stated in their employment contracts. When each employee knows exactly what is required, he or she can complete all tasks diligently and to the highest possible standard, which may, in turn, strengthen the reputation of your business.
Who owns the Intellectual Property?
Architects create something out of nothing. Barney Stinson goes so far as to liken them to God. To ensure that someone else does not surreptitiously (or inadvertently) copy your designs, you must turn your mind to drafting into your employment contracts clear terms relating to the protection of your intellectual property.
All intellectual property created by your employees while at work becomes the property of the employer. It is important to include a term that clarifies the employer’s ownership of whatever intellectual property the Employee creates in the course of his or her employment, and that this clause is agreed to by the employee.
Restraint on Competition
You may also be conscious of your employees using your ideas, sharing your ideas with competitors if they cease working for you, and then ultimately profiting from your ideas. You may then choose to include a clause in your employment contract preventing the employee from undertaking certain commercial activities for a period after they leave the business. It is important that these are drafted for an agreed period and in an agreed area, otherwise they may be unenforceable. More information regarding protection of your intellectual property rights in your employment contracts can be found here.
You can certainly create your own employment contracts; however, it is advisable to then take these drafts to a legal professional to ensure that there are no gaps and legal pitfalls. Without any prior legal experience, however, the complexity of the landscape of employment law contracts can prove challenging to navigate. It might be worth concentrating your energies on more grandiose pursuits, and leaving the contract drafting to mere mortals.
If you would like assistance in creating employment contracts with the help of a contract lawyer, call Legal Vision for a fixed-fee quote.