If I invent something at work, can I claim ownership?

You need specialist advice, as this is a complex area of law. There is some information on the website of the Intellectual Property Office.

An invention made during the course of an employee's normal duties, or in the course of duties specifically assigned, is likely to belong to the employer.

However, even where the invention is patented by the employer, if it turns out to be outstandingly saleable for the employer, taking into account the costs and time involved in making the invention, the employee may be able to claim a proportion of the benefits as compensation. The Intellectual Property Office website has more details about how to bring such a claim.

There are separate laws relating to copyright covering drama, music and literature. Sometimes there is an express term in the contract specifying to whom the copyright belongs. In the absence of any such term, the presumption is that it belongs to the employer.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.