asks: "Prior to joining my company, that I've been working with for over a year now, I signed an 'Inventions & IP Rights' contract. That contract stated that the work that I had been carrying out off (and was planning to continue with) of my own back, and in my own time and was my own. At the time the work I was carrying out for the new company and my projects at home were completely separate, however I could see that the company was heading in the area I was working on. Wanting to ensure that everything was kept honest, I reminded them of the work that I am doing and wanted to ensure them that I was not stealing anything from them. What was the response? Basically, that the 'Inventions & IP Rights' contract that I signed didn't count for squat, that they owned anything that had vaguely anything to do with the problem space they were concerned with, and that if I were to use my code in a public domain I could face retribution from the company in the future."
When in a situation like this, go to your nearest IP Lawyer for a consultation. Companies that exhibit this behavior are not worth your time or your expertise. With that aside, how many of you have faced this situation? What did you do and how did things turn out?
"I feel sickened, I felt like I had been kicked in the guts, 18 months work for nothing? Not wanting to say the area I'm in, they pretty much said that if they wrote word processors and I made fonts in my spare time that they owned those fonts! I don't think so. So far my options I have considered are:
- Carry on working for the company, keep quiet about anything like this in the future and hope they don't try any funny business, but lose my vested stock options
Leave the company, work for another company in a different problem space and carry on my work in my own time, hoping that my old company doesn't try to do any funny business, and lose my vested stock options.
- Try and get VC to go on this on my own, but in today's climate, that's hardly likely.
What's the killer is that I have a young family and so I have to ensure that I have an income at all times, but my gut tells me that this is the kick that I've needed to go it alone.
What are your opinions? Anyone know of any good IP Rights Lawyers?"