Managing the Legal Nexus Between Intellectual Property and Employees

Managing the Legal Nexus Between Intellectual Property and Employees

Domestic and Global Contexts

Elgar Law and Entrepreneurship series

Edited by Lynda J. Oswald and Marisa Anne Pagnattaro

The explosion in intellectual capital coincides with a growing understanding of the importance of human capital to the firm. This book examines the pressing legal issues that arise at the intersections of intellectual property law, employment law, and global trade, such as the use of employment contracts to protect intellectual property, ownership of intellectual property created by the employee, officer liability issues relating to infringement, post-employment confidentiality and non-compete agreements, and inadvertent or deliberate misappropriation or theft of trade secrets.

Chapter 5: The intersection of smartphone technology and fair labor standards

Robert C. Bird

Subjects: business and management, international business, law - academic, intellectual property law, international economic law, trade law, labour, employment law


As the multi-billion dollar smartphone patent wars continue unabated, one fact remains certain: the smartphone will remain an omnipresent technology. Smartphones transform how we receive information, dictate our personal lives, and influence interactions with our world. One of the venues in which the smartphone will predominate is the modern workplace. Smartphones at work enable employees to multitask, communicate more readily, and gather information instantaneously. Employers can enjoy productivity benefits from their workforce as employees react to challenges and opportunities with minimal delay. The introduction of smartphones, however, is not entirely cost free. The presence of this technology means that employers can reach virtually any employee at any time. A smartphone can transform the employee’s location into a virtual office with more than sufficient information available and ready to execute the employer’s wishes. This ability to communicate through voice, text, or data at any moment exerts a new power over employees that has never been fully exerted until the advent of such technology. The use of communicative technology can in essence create a twenty-four-hour workplace, with all its associated demands and responsibilities, whether employees like it or not. As with the introduction of many new technologies, legal questions follow in their wake. Employers are increasingly using smartphone and other technology to reach employees outside of working hours and not compensate them for their working time.

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