How Elance Protects Your Intellectual Property

By Darrell Jones

As a startup, your great ideas are what separate you from the pack.

With all things being equal, customers will invariably go for the lowest price or names they’re familiar with. To make your business stand out, you need to add a new wrinkle that gets people’s attention and get customers coming to your door (or web site or mobile app or whatever).

While this differentiator is unique, it’s also vulnerable. If it gets in the wrong hands then your competitive advantage could be in grave danger.

It’s your “secret sauce,” and Elance works 24/7 to ensure your Intellectual Property remains a secret.

Here a few of the many ways Elance is working to ensure you unique ideas remain exactly where they belong: Safely in your possession and out of the hands of others.

1. Elance no-nonsense Terms of Service

From day one, all Elancers agree to our Terms of Service when they initially register. Clearly written into these terms are the rules which lay the foundation for keeping you protected on the platform. Those on Elance are informed that all information gleaned while working on the platform is never to be shared.

Then, after your particular job is accepted, you’re further protected by Elance’s default Independent Contractor Services Agreement. This goes even deeper to stipulate your rights to ownership of intellectual property.

If you have supplementary terms you’d like to add to this agreement, you can upload an additional terms document to your projects Terms & Milestones page. Naturally, your freelancer will be required to agree to this as part of the project’s terms.

2. Non-Disclosure Agreements and other documents.

Also of note, in situations when you need to disclose confidential information before your job can be accepted, you can request that your potential candidate accept a non-disclosure agreement.

Truth-be-told, as part of our service Elance offers you a variety of binding contracts in our Help Center. Simply download a contract and personalize it with your specific information (each is a Word documents, making these sample contract easy to customize). You’ll find many sample contracts – from a variety of Non-Disclosure Agreements and Client/Freelancer Agreements to an Engagement Letter.

3. Due diligence in screening freelancers.

Here at Elance we know that transparency is key to building long-term, trusting relationships. With that in mind we work hard to make sure you know for sure who you’re hiring. We verify each freelancer’s email address, phone number and geographical location before they're allowed to work on jobs. For U.S.-based freelancers we also confirm W-9 and Tax ID information.

4. Commitment to fostering online reputations.

Another way we protect your intellectual property is through Elance’s platform that’s based on reputation. Freelancers know that to earn jobs they’ll need to perform well. By looking at each freelancer’s Profile page you’ll see Ratings and Reviews from previous clients, as well as their job history. You’ll also see each freelancer’s Level. This is a ranking we apply, based on a number of factors (including size of jobs and number of repeat hirings). By reviewing all this material and speaking to the freelancer, you’ll get a good idea of their commitment to partnering with you.

From Fortune 500 companies to red-hot startups, businesses trust Elance.

As you know all too well, in the business world, ideas are everything.

Perhaps the most-impressive testament to how we protect your private information is the list of companies who return to Elance again and again. Businesses of all sizes realize that our freelancers are here to support you with the same passion and commitment of your full-time staffers. Probably more so, because they know that every job is another test to earn more opportunities to work with you.

To learn other ways Elance works to keep you safe, check out a related blog post on Elance Security. Read what we’re doing to safeguard everything from your Workrooms to your money.

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