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Companies and IP

Lux782Lux782 Registered User regular
edited February 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I have just graduated with my masters degree and while writing up a publication was a lot of work I found I enjoyed the process and I want to continue writing up publications on my free time. I am now looking for a job but I am slightly concerned about one specific thing. If I create a publication on my free time, but as an employee of some company, do they have the ability to claim that work as their own since I am an employee? I have read about some cases were it was argued that while no work was done on company time some thinking regarding a topic was and that gave the company the rights to the IP. For this assume no contract was signed that stated anything I create on or off company time is from then on owned by said company.

How should I go about asking a potential employer about this issue?

Lux782 on

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    tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Read the employee handbook they give you before you agree to a job, and read the contract if you have to sign one. You can also ask the HR person. This is definitely and issue that shouldn't come up right away during and interview process though - more during the negotiation phase.

    tsmvengy on
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    Jimmy KingJimmy King Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Normally this kind of nonsense is in the contract you sign when you accept the job offer. While I've never done it, I've heard of many people just crossing that out of the contract and signing with no argument from the employer.

    Personally, I don't worry too much about that. I've never heard of an employer actually trying to take an employees work done on their own time using that. IANAL, but I suspect they'd have a hard time getting something like that to hold up in court.

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    ZeonZeon Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Jimmy King wrote: »
    Normally this kind of nonsense is in the contract you sign when you accept the job offer. While I've never done it, I've heard of many people just crossing that out of the contract and signing with no argument from the employer.

    Personally, I don't worry too much about that. I've never heard of an employer actually trying to take an employees work done on their own time using that. IANAL, but I suspect they'd have a hard time getting something like that to hold up in court.

    Im pretty sure someone was taken to court recently over that actually. I cant remember the specifics, but im pretty sure it was in the news.

    It really depends on WHAT you create, though. If youre working for, lets say Intel, and in your free time you create a radical new processor design, yeah theyre most likely going to want to take that rather than have to sell it to AMD or spin off on your own. But if youre working for Intel and write your own childrens book, theyre probably not going to care at all.

    Zeon on
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    Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against Russian warships) Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    What companies are touchy about is things done on company time or using company resources. What you do in your time at away from the office is your own business.

    Gabriel_Pitt on
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    taerictaeric Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2009
    The recent news thing was the Bratz dolls.

    What sort of publications are you looking to do? This is very tricky stuff and you do need to be careful. Most people don't care, as most publications are of no consequence to anyone. Same with work. However, if you ever expect to profit in a large way from work you do that could be arguably while on the clock or with the company, you need to specifically address the issue sooner than later.

    taeric on
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