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  1. #1
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    Apr 2012
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    Question Post-Employment Inventions Time Limit

    My question is more general in nature and deals with time limits. I am speaking of those contracts you sign before or during the course of employment that deal with invention rights after you quit, get laid off, or get fired from your employer. Most all of them have language stating that during and after your employment with CompanyNameHere you give up all rights to any inventions, ideas, mask works, etc. made or conceived in connection with the performances duties at CompanyNameHere. Some of them include copyrights in addition to inventions as well. My question is in general about the time after your employement.

    One I had actually said it was for ever, some of them I have seen have absolutely NO TIME LIMITS in the contract, some have 1, 2, or 3 years, and I have heard of a couple companies that actually ask you to agree a decade time limit. Here is my question and I would like as many legal experts across the entire USA to weigh in on your state...

    What is the longest time limit in years or months AFTER EMPLOYMENT that you have ever heard a judge or jury granting the CompanyNameHere rights to Post Employment Inventions???

    Thanks in advance,

    EliteHacker

  2. #2
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    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Post-Employment Inventions Time Limit

    As you were told when you posted, laws vary by state. If you want to know the case law of every state on this issue, hire somebody to embark upon that significant research project.

  3. #3
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    Apr 2012
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    Cool Re: Post-Employment Inventions Time Limit

    I am still asking anybody and everybody who has had experience anywhere in the USA with a specific amount of time post employment that a judge or jury has honored those invention contracts in favor of the company against the employee.


    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    As you were told when you posted, laws vary by state. If you want to know the case law of every state on this issue, hire somebody to embark upon that significant research project.
    Hey Mr. Knowitall. Was there any peticular reason for that remark??? If you do not want to weigh in that is fine. I certainly do NOT appreciate your remark. I really do not require you telling me how to follow up on research. I am simply asking asking anybody in the USA who has experience with this matter to post their figures and location. G.

    Thanks to all who post any times and location with their experiences.

    EliteHacker

  4. #4
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    Apr 2012
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    Default Re: Post-Employment Inventions Time Limit

    I am not a lawyer but from my brief research, most time limits are in the one to two year range and it varies from state to state. In general, anything longer may be thrown out by a court. Companies often times "go for broke" including as much time and "legalese" as their lawyers can muster. But it can back-fire on them. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.

  5. #5
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    Apr 2012
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    Cool Re: Post-Employment Inventions Time Limit

    Quote Quoting landar
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    I am not a lawyer but from my brief research, most time limits are in the one to two year range and it varies from state to state. In general, anything longer may be thrown out by a court. Companies often times "go for broke" including as much time and "legalese" as their lawyers can muster. But it can back-fire on them. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.
    Thanks for the info lander,

    Yea, it does seem to range differently from location to location just in the 4 corner states I live around. I have worked for 3 gigantic well known hightech corps and many smaller ones across the western USA. Most of those ended in 2001 with a very small potaotos unknown one about 5 years ago that had a PO box for a corporate address in a well known delivery company's office in a strip mall.

    I want to start my own software company is the main reason I asked for people to weigh in.

    THANKS TO ALL WHO POST!

    EliteHacker

  6. #6
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    Apr 2012
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    5

    Default Re: Post-Employment Inventions Time Limit

    After 9 years of employment, I and others, have been handed an "agreement" which we are to sign IF we want to keep our jobs. I am an electrical engineer and 55 years old so it may not be easy finding another job in the area. The agreement is supposed to be an NDA (Non Disclosure) to protect our customers. Ok I can understand that. But "cloaked" within this agreement is a strong non-compete clause which states that everything discovered, invented, designed, planned, etc is owned by the company for up to one year after termination. Another company would probably be very hesitant to hire me with that agreement in place. Like I said, I am no lawyer but I can read and analyze. Whoever concocted this agreement decided to throw the kitchen sink in there for good measure.

    I feel that I need to hire a lawyer to look it over and advise because I cant sign it as-is. I may be out the door before that can happen. If I must sign to keep my family fed, it will most definitely be under duress. Oh the joys of the legal system.

  7. #7
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    Sep 2010
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    Oklahoma
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    695

    Default Re: Post-Employment Inventions Time Limit

    Before you get too freaked out about signing the non-compete forms you need to understand what the company can and is demanding. Whatever ideas, patents, procedures etc that you are involved with while at company A the company maintains a right to that for one year after you end your employment. That does not mean that you can't go to another company and start working on a different set of ideas, etc. For Company A to successfully lay claim they would need to show that you were working on the new ideas prior to leaving. This can be done in many forms, co-workers testifying that you had a brain storming session, emails, work logs, etc.

    Company A cannot lay claim to all the ideas that you have, only those that you developed while employed there.

  8. #8
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    Apr 2012
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    Default Re: Post-Employment Inventions Time Limit

    Thanks for the reply antrc170. While your assessment is a bit comforting, I do not see that interpretation from reading the agreement. Now, as I mentioned before, I am an engineer trained to be very logical in my thinking and I do not understand how a document can say one thing yet mean another. Maybe that is the nature of legal documents. A "just kidding, don't take it so literally" writing style by lawyers. This one clause is not the only one to which I take exception. The real kicker is the last clause which states that I have carefully read the entire document and am fully aware of and understand its contents. That I knowingly and voluntarily enter into this agreement. I certainly cannot state that I fully understand the agreement. Hell, I doubt if the people who wrote it know. I do not sign it voluntarily either. They have a figurative gun to my head.

  9. #9
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    Apr 2012
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    10

    Cool Re: Post-Employment Inventions Time Limit

    Quote Quoting landar
    View Post
    After 9 years of employment, I and others, have been handed an "agreement" which we are to sign IF we want to keep our jobs. I am an electrical engineer and 55 years old so it may not be easy finding another job in the area. The agreement is supposed to be an NDA (Non Disclosure) to protect our customers. Ok I can understand that. But "cloaked" within this agreement is a strong non-compete clause which states that everything discovered, invented, designed, planned, etc is owned by the company for up to one year after termination. Another company would probably be very hesitant to hire me with that agreement in place. Like I said, I am no lawyer but I can read and analyze. Whoever concocted this agreement decided to throw the kitchen sink in there for good measure.

    I feel that I need to hire a lawyer to look it over and advise because I cant sign it as-is. I may be out the door before that can happen. If I must sign to keep my family fed, it will most definitely be under duress. Oh the joys of the legal system.
    I can feel your pain. When I first started working in the high tech field those contracts never existed for me. In the last decade they seem to have become more and more demanding. Every time I see one of those lousy contracts it sticks in my gut for months. Especially when they give it to you the morning of your first day saying we need that signed before you can start work today. Fortunately for me I left the tech field in 2001 going back to school to learn how to develop software in a dozen languages. Tutoring college kids in computers and math with only summer labor jobs was it. That put over 4 years between me and the corporations. After that I working in a warehouse all labor no tech at all for another year. I did get involved with a work at home project from a tiny little software corporation during the warehouse job. It was one of those minimal type corporation filings, all family, work out of the house with a PO Box for a corporate address. I quit this guy a couple of months later because he wanted me to bid on coding work rather than earn an hourly amount for my time. Later I found out this guy was sued for stealing the software he claimed was his. The law suit claimed he changed the code just a little bit, then put his company name on, and then he put it on the market. It was originally written for a city government public utilities by somebody else at a different company. I heard he settled out of court in favor of the original company that produced the software for the city. I read the entire case file which cost me about 30 bucks in online download fees. I found the evidence against him overwhelming in my opinion. That was 5 years ago and my last tech job. Everything else since then has been tutoring college students on the side or non tech labor jobs.

    I am now looking forward with optimism that I can now go on to start a software company with no worries from these contract grubbing corporations. While I understand their reasons for protecting their tech in my opinion they do reach to far. Next they will want you to wet wire your brain somewhat like the movie Johnny Pneumonic which will allow them access to your thoughts for 2 or 3 years after you quit. That is a bit over the edge but in a decade or two who knows. My brother sounds like you as he is an EE. He told me these companies sue each other all the time when one employee leaves to work elsewhere depending on what they design for the new company. It may not look good on a resume if you left your last job because of a high tech lawsuit. You could always tell them that you want it explained by your own attorney before you sign. I think that would fair since you have been with them so long. That way you would know for sure what you are agreeing.

    This thread could get very interesting since everybody may have different experiences with those contracts.

  10. #10
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    Apr 2012
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    5

    Default Re: Post-Employment Inventions Time Limit

    I am getting the opinions of several lawyers on this matter. Many employees are concerned about this agreement and do not like it. However, very, very few are willing to fall on the sword over it, but I am. I am also willing to sign the agreement provided there are some language changes. If not, I am prepared to face the consequences. I will not voluntarily quit, they will have to fire me. There are now several other 'key' employees willing to do the same so that is a huge help. Borrowing a quote from Ben Franklin, I told the group "We must hang together, gentlemen...else, we shall most assuredly hang separately."

    Even though I describe ourselves as 'key', we have no delusion that we are so valuable to the company that they cannot survive without us. They certainly can survive w/o us but it will not be a good on the moral of those left behind or on their workload(this is a small company). We all feel that if the company is not willing to budge a little bit then we do not need to be working there. We're rebels. Maybe soon to be out-of-work rebels. Stay tuned.

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