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Who owns the IP rights

Stephen Foster
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 23, 2009
Posts: 10
Hello Ranchers,

Was thinking about making a website in my spare time using spring 3.0 and google app engine, I'm full time employed software engineer and my contract has a section dedicated to IP rights. Do you think if I were to make a website outside of work hours that my employer could claim IP right to it? Even if it doesn't have anything to do with what the company makes?

I doubt what I'm making will ever earn any cash, just nice to know what I'm coding belongs to me!!! Grrrr

Advice Welcome!


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Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 42285
    
  64
That's precisely the kind of issue one would expect an employment contract's section on IP rights to cover, no?


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fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 11418
    
  16

exactly...read your employment contract/agreement, or any NDA form you signed.

Generally, if you do all the work at home, use NO company resources (laptop, internet connection, books, etc) they don't have a legal claim to it...but that won't stop them from trying if it becomes worthwhile.


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Ulf Dittmer
Marshal

Joined: Mar 22, 2005
Posts: 42285
    
  64
They might even be successful: They Made Me An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse
Stephen Foster
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 23, 2009
Posts: 10
Thanks guys this was helpful, I think from what I've read the best approach is to ask your company upfront and get them to make a decision there and then, rather than finding out that they want to lay claim to your hard written code 6 months down the line!

I'm fairly certain they won't want anything to do with it anyway, will let you know how things go...
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61433
    
  67

As someone who writes books and does outside contract work, this is a very important point for me when signing onto a job. On most occasions, I've had to have the agreement re-written before I'll sign it. It's usually either too encompassing, or too vaguely written.


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It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
 
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