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A new job & Intellectual Property protection

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How do you protect your Intellectual Property (i.e. inventions, copyrights, future patents and software) before signing an employment contract ?

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Eliad,

Just make a list of what you own, and go over it with your employer. Attach the list to your contract so it's documented that those are your personal IP and not your employer's.

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What should I do if I have a patentable invention (in a different area) that I can not go over with the employer ?

 

What are the chances that the company will agree to perform a permutation in the agreement that every project and all of it's components, in regards to this particular subject, would owned by me? 

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1. What should I do if I have a patentable invention (in a different area) that I can not go over with the employer ?
2. What are the chances that the company will agree to perform a permutation in the agreement that every project and all of it's components, in regards to this particular subject, would owned by me?

 

1. Ask them. And ask a lawyer.  You ought to be able to describe this invention in vague terms that does not reveal the secret formula.

2. Forty-seven.  jk - what are the chances? I don't know, ask them. It doesn't hurt to ask.

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Hmm; in my experience I've seen two types of employment contract;

1) One which says "all software written during the period of employment" belongs to the employer (i.e. irrespective of whether I wrote it in company time).

2) One which says "all software written under the instruction of the employer" belongs to the employer. (i.e. stuff they ask me to write explicitly).

 

I've also been in the position of doing pre-acquisition due-diligence and looking at source code that has multiple copyright claims written into the source code, by former or current employees. Its a real problem then - the employer has to be really diligent that they dont end up with a complex mess of competing claims, so you can see it from their point of view.

 

In my understanding of UK law, if one simply strikes out the offending clause, counter signs the correction, then signs the document, thats the contract that is valid, irrespective if they hold an unblemished, unsigned copy. It takes two parties to agree a contract - they can simply not agree to counter sign your amended contract and there is no contract in force. Although verbal contracts can have considerable weight, I personally would always go for a written one.

 

As all previous posters have said ; talk to a lawyer - this restriction of your contract needn't be a contentious issue with your future employer, they might value you more highly if they consider you "inventive" :0) I imagine this happens a lot where sales people "bring their client list" with them to another employer, they would negotiate some level of recompense for the value of the contacts - in that case they are gifting their new employer with the substance (the contact list) but getting paid for releasing it to them.

 

Good luck with your new job.

 

Phillip

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