Business Law Topics: Copyright

Work for Hire Rule in the Start Up Context

The case of JustMed, Inc. v. Byce involves a common fact pattern.

A start-up company, which conducted its affairs somewhat casually, developed valuable software for a new product (in this case a digital audio larynx device that helps laryngectomees – individuals whose larynxes have been surgically removed – produce clearer speech). The company faced a legal battle with a person (Byce) who contended that he had developed the software as an independent contractor, and not as an employee of the company.