Intellectual property is generally owned by its creator. If created by an employee, the works are generally assigned to the employer either by law or by contractual agreement. If the work is created by independent contractors or other external collaborators, the nonprofit should obtain a written assignment from those individuals or entities if the nonprofit intends to outrightly own the intellectual property. In the absence of a written assignment, independent contractors may in some circumstances still retain intellectual property ownership even though they were properly compensated by the nonprofit to create such works. Like any other corporate assets, a nonprofit should hold its intellectual property in its own name or the name of some other entity it fully controls. Holding intellectual property in the name of an individual puts the company at risk that the individual might abscond with the intellectual property or use it for their own benefit.

Important note: Though not technically intellectual property, your domain name should also be retained by your corporation – in the name of the corporation. Do not allow a webmaster to register or maintain your domain name – it is a corporate asset.

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