This book begins with a discussion of the right of firms to the intellectual property produced by their employees, which is a foundation of the modern intellectual property regime, and of the business strategy of innovative firms throughout the economy. Today's corporate employer typically insists on contracts claiming the copyrights and patents to works produced both during and after a term of employment by employees and independent contractors. In addition, under the law of trade secrets, firms control current and former employees' use of a wide range of unpatented information, and employers can buttress the protection offered by trade secret law through a noncompete or nondisclosure agreement preventing the employee from working in certain occupations or from using or disclosing certain knowledge. Through the contract of hiring, workers are deemed to sell not only their physical labor and its products but also their intellectual labor and its products, and sometimes even the products of intellectual labor done after the term of employment.
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