Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Intellectual Property- Whose Is It?

Many of us want to contribute to some project or publish work individually apart from office work....but mostly without leaving our jobs! Do you even know your employer can claim intellectual property right over such work of yours? You might argue that you used none of your employer's resources, not even your time at office; then how can the employer claim such rights. It is high time to know your agreement with your company.

Some companies encourage employees to do stuff of their own. They even grant them the so called 'bench time' when asked for. Sounds exciting, huh? Read your offer letter or agreements signed so far. You might find statement to the effect that company will own IPR on such stuff. In some cases they own IPR on anything that you do while you were employed- so may it be your weekend or your time at home! You must be feeling extremely discouraged if you are getting to know for the first time. But rules vary from company to company, country to country and state to state. So no defined solution for this. One easy way out is to get things clarified and understand the agreement even before you join them. This might be a theoretical solution and not a practical one. You might not have even thought of doing any work beyond the office work. Decently talk to your manager. Preferably do not launch anything that might compete with any of your employer's products. Despite requesting your employer if you do not get a no objection for your work, extreme solution would be to quit. Hopefully you won't have to encounter such scenario. If your employer owns everything that you do in non-office hours you can very well explain that they own anything and everything done by you....say a virus by you floating around :)

It is ideal not to use any of your employer's resources- say computer, time or even internet. All set to own intellectual property of your innovation?

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