Chapter 23 Intellectual property rights in design

In a design and construct contract, contracting parties will be provided with two alternatives as to which party has ownership of the intellectual property rights in design. Determining which alternative is appropriate will depend on the contractual rights and obligations of each party in the individual circumstances.

In the first alternative, copyright and ownership of the design documents is held by the contractor, who grants an irrevocable licence to the principal to use the design documents for the work under the contract.

In the second, copyright and property in the design documents will vest in the principal upon execution of the contract. The principal will grant to the contractor an irrevocable licence to use the design documents for work under the contract. In this circumstance, the contractor must take every step necessary to perfect the vesting.