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My IP, my IR35 status?

IR35 Question

I’ve been working as a contractor since 1992, providing programming services to startups and blue-chip clients, alike. As such I fix existing, or write new, software for my clients. My “tools” therefore are knowledge based, and my CPD is to keep my skills up to date. I have undertaken training courses, and academic courses (e.g. my PhD), and I produce my own software available on Github/YouTube, links to which are in my CV. I have always regarded myself as being genuinely independent, although all contract reviews say I operate in a grey area because the boxes I buy and sell are conceptual.

My question is: as I understand it, many contracts of employment include clauses which claim ownership of all work performed while under the employment contract. Presumably, this is so that an employee who is developing, say, a radar system 9am-5pm is not developing a better one, evenings and weekends. It may seem overly cautious on my part, with my track record, but might such extra-contractual work, for some, get caught as integral to an employment contract – with either a client or umbrella company – if a genuinely independent person is treated unfairly?
Might not such attitude towards professional development, and the ability to demonstrate the services for hire, help in determining one’s IR35 status?


The right for an end client to ‘own’ whatever work that a contractor undertakes is not a pointer to employment, as any contract whether one for employment or self-employment will include a clause whereby the end client owns any IP created by an employee or a contractor on its behalf whilst they are engaged under a contract and such a right would exist after any period of employment or engagement ended.

For more information around IR35 please use our IR35 Guide.

This answer was provided by IR35 experts Qdos Contractor.


By Contractor Doctor


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1 thought on “My IP, my IR35 status?”

  1. human_0123456789

    Whatif independent contractor contracts had different clauses from permanent contracts:

    IP ownership for the work done by the service provider vests in an SPV JV company. Client and service provider own the SPV 50/50).
    The SPV grants the client a licence to use the IP for a fee.
    The service provider has no licence to use the IP.

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