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   Employer's IP - My Freedom
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   Author  Topic: Employer's IP - My Freedom  (Read 2730 times)
Pake
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Posts: 3
Re: Employer's IP - My Freedom
« Reply #5 on: Nov 7th, 2004, 7:30pm »
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" It was not clear from you comment whether or not you wrote the
software involved."
 
Yes we did write the software and understand that to be their IP.
 
Another point I forgot to explain is this company doesn't actually sell these ATEs. We use it internally for the services the company provides. A competitor would be one who provides the same services.
 
I'm curious what anyone thinks about the fact that this system was built before my coworker signed an IP agreement. Would the agreement apply retroactively?
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Isaac
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Posts: 3472
Re: Employer's IP - My Freedom
« Reply #6 on: Nov 7th, 2004, 8:01pm »
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Your coworker's agreement does present an interesting issue.
There is no problem with agreeing to assign past inventions for
consideration.  The question is whether getting to keep a job
constitutes consideration for an invention created before the agreement.
The company's position with respect to your coworker is weaker
than their position with respect to you.  But perhaps not fatally weak.
 
The problem involved with writing software revolves around
work for hire.  Even without a written agreement, the employer owns
the copyright in software written by employees within the scope
of employment.  Employees who leave their companies sometimes
encounter accusations of copyright infringement when they attempt
to write similar programs for themselves or for new employers.
It's more difficult than it might appear to avoid infringement
in such a situation, and what's worse, it's sometimes difficult
to get losing claims dismissed in such a situation.
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Isaac
JSonnabend
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Posts: 2251
Re: Employer's IP - My Freedom
« Reply #7 on: Nov 8th, 2004, 8:40am »
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I think Isaac is pretty dead-on in his assessment of the copyright issues.  The solution is often to create a "clean room" version of the software; that is, hire software designers/programmers who have not had access to the original code, explain to them what the software needs to do (not how to do it), and let them write the code for you from scratch.  Even if the code is identical to the original code, it is not infringing.
 
- Jeff
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SonnabendLaw
Intellectual Property and Technology Law
Brooklyn, USA
718-832-8810
JSonnabend@SonnabendLaw.com
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