Running a business is a non-stop activity. From strategizing to operations to finance, every day brings about new, exciting challenges. But as any entrepreneur knows, some of the most significant business decisions revolve around the people you hire.
After all, it’s your team that will help you execute your vision so your business can succeed. In essence, the relationship between an employer and employee is a two-way street. Employees trust the company to compensate them fairly, and employers trust employees to do their job with integrity.
Part of an employee’s duty is handling sensitive business information with care. Though employment contracts cover this in passing, it’s easy enough for an employee to leak confidential information without being caught. Things get even more complicated when you add freelancers and contractors to the fray.
So what can you do to ensure that critical business information and intellectual property remains private? You can execute Confidential Information and Inventions Agreements or CIIAAs.
What is the CIAA? What Does It Include?
A Confidential Information and Invention Assignment Agreement or CIIAA, is a document that protects confidential company information and ensures that the company owns all the work produced by the employee during their tenure. The CIIAA is a more extensive version of the simple NDA because it consists of two parts:
1. Confidentiality Agreement
The confidential part of the CIIAA does as stated: protect confidential information. But it’s not that simple, because even if confidentiality obligations are mentioned in company handbooks, offer letters, and contracts, you need a separate CIIAA for three reasons:
- The CIIAA often protects more than what is contained in company handbooks.
- The CIIAA serves as a reminder to employees of their confidentiality obligations.
- The CIIAA is an explicit acknowledgment and agreement by the employee of the obligations set forth therein, which removes any ambiguity as to whether the employee handbooks were ever provided to the employee.
2. Inventions Assignment Agreement
The second part of the CIIAA is the Inventions Assignment Agreement. An Inventions Assignment Agreement guarantees that your company owns the work created by the employee during their tenure.
An Inventions Assignment Agreement also gives investors confidence that all the intellectual property, databases, trademarks, and other related intellectual property are owned by the businesses — not the employees or the founders.
Moreover, the Inventions Assignment Agreement protects the business against terminated employees. The agreement disallows terminated employees from sharing business information for a particular time after they’ve left.
How To Draft a CIAA?
Your best option is to hire a law firm to draft a CIIAA agreement. However, there are several downsides to going the traditional route. First, law firms are notorious for their high fees, with the average cost of hiring one being $300/hour. Second, lawyers typically have full schedules because they work with multiple clients at a time, which means you’re not guaranteed to get a lawyer when you need one. Considering the above, CIIAAs can severely dent your bottom line even before the employee comes aboard!
CIAAs on the Blockchain?
Blockchain technology is touted as the biggest disrupter of industries since the internet. The legal industry is not exempt from the change, and business owners can use the blockchain to create and execute CIIAAs faster and cheaper than you would traditionally.
Through Smart Contract technology; scripts that self-execute when predetermined conditions are met, blockchain can help ease the CIIAA process in that you no longer have to store hard/soft copies of contracts in your office. Instead, the immutable blockchain will store a permanent signature of your employee – making enforceability of a CIIAA easy to track down and execute.
PAID DApp and the CIAA
The CIIAA is just another tool that can help new entrepreneurs and freelancers alike protect themselves and navigate a highly globalized economy. It is going to be one of the many contract templates that PAID Network will be offering as part of the release of PAID DApp v2. These on-chain solutions will ensure our community is protected, allowing you to safely choose from a variety of templates to secure your business interests and #GETPAID.
The launch of PAID DApp v2 will be another step in the creation of the decentralized world. It leverages the power of the blockchain, demonstrating the disruptive impact of this new technology. With our CIIAAs and other templates, PAID is showing that on-chain solutions can play a major part in disrupting and enhancing legacy legal services.
Is a CIIAA not the right type of document for your business? Check out our guide on mutual NDAs.
PAID Network seeks to redefine the current business contract, litigation, and settlement processes by providing a simple, attorney-free, and cost-friendly DApp for users and businesses to ensure they #GetPAID wherever they are in the world.
PAID technology leverages Astar to operate on both Ethereum and Polkadot ecosystems. PAID makes businesses exponentially more efficient by building SMART Agreements through smart contracts in order to execute DeFi transactions and business agreements seamlessly.
PAID streamlines backend legal operations with SMART Agreements, so that projects can focus on making their brand bigger and better.
For any questions for the PAID network, please feel free to reach out to us on:
*This article was updated on August 1st, 2021.