in reply to Intellectual Property

The second sounds reasonable, but it's not. And, to be honest, your potential employer probably doesn't realize it. What will happen though, is if this get's contested, some fancy pants lawyer will have your hide.

What your really want is the second, with a thorough and explicitly limited deliniation of what consitutes $company's technology and products.

I exist under a similar contract, and it has allowed me to do more than a few things that under a more general contract would be owned by my employer.

Good luck!

Update: Fixed silly typo


Light a man a fire, he's warm for a day. Catch a man on fire, and he's warm for the rest of his life. - Terry Pratchet

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Re: Re: Intellectual Property
by jens (Pilgrim) on Oct 31, 2002 at 04:40 UTC
    What sort of things have you been able to do because of the more specific contract?

    In any event, I can't help but think version 2 is a vast improvement on version 1, and I'm pretty junior, so...
    Also, this is a startup (in Tasmania, of all places) and there's going to be a good bit of R & D going on, so it would be very difficult to actually specify any and all products that they could possibly be making over the course of the next several years. How would you deal with that sort of situation?
    Microsoft delendum est.

      I do tech support. There are a lot of websites out there, some free, some not, which provide services for tech support agents: screen shots, solutions, forums, modem documentation. However, none of them provide wuite what I want, and I'd like to give back to the tech support community(*) what I've learned. So, my goal was to develop a similar website, but more inclusive, and which didn't repeat already existing resources.

      Version 2 is a vast improvement. But it wouldn't let me make my tech support site, because a lawyer could grab any money I might have made from ad sales and the like. But I don't work for the company I do tech support for. I'm a contractor for a call center. At any point I could be transfered to handling credit card phone calls, or telemarketing (blech). If the company puts the work of their clients under the umbrella, I could get severly limited. But my contract specifies that the technology that my employer owns is that technology related to the efficient operation of a call center, limited to phone systems, ticket tracking, and some specific kinds of network software. That's it. So my support site is legit.

      Since you're going into R and D your in a somewhat more precarious boat. But I think a few well placed generalities will protect most home projects you might go into, while at the same time keeping you a good canidate for you employer.

      Also: dws is right on target. The company is being malicious (yet anyway :-). Get all your prior work grandfathered, and be sure that your company is assured that you can't use proprietory information. That should cover things nicely.

      * Yes, there really is such a thing.


      Light a man a fire, he's warm for a day. Catch a man on fire, and he's warm for the rest of his life. - Terry Pratchet

      In that case, join SAGE-AU and ask for advice. SAGE-AU is the Australian branch of SAGE, the System Administrators Guild. But they're not picky - they take programmers too :).

      Someone at SAGE should be able to guide you in the right direction. If you don't want to go down that route, slap down $100 for an initial consultation with a lawyer. We don't run under the same rules as the states - Australia is a more socialist country, with more protections for workers.

      If you are a contractor, you can contact the ACCC or other professional organisations (since you will be in a business transaction). If you are becoming an employee, then you can probably start at the industrial relations department in your state. If that's the wrong department, then they can tell you who to call.

      Check to see if there are any 'awards' or enterprise agreements covering the company you are working for. ____________________
      I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.