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  1. #1

    Default Can an Employer Claim Ownership of Computer Software Authored by an Employee

    I'm 20 yo, living in mn as a software developer. I have been working on several different apps for over a year and would like to eventually make an LLC these apps under this new company. I recently accepted a job offer that is government contract and i signed an nda. My question is can I form an LLC while working at another company? Are they entitled to my Prior Inventions? They never asked me to list them. The software I wrote is version controlled on gitlab, so there's proof i made it before. I also wrote them in completely different programming languages, and the two products are completely unrelated. One is aviation, and my stuff is learning software, nutrition software, and a listing site.

  2. #2
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Nda Lawsstarting a Business on the Side, While Working Full-Time

    I'm 20 yo, living in mn as a software developer. I have been working on several different apps for over a year and would like to eventually make an LLC these apps under this new company. I recently accepted a job offer that is government contract and i signed an nda. My question is can I form an LLC while working at another company?
    Yes.

    Are they entitled to my Prior Inventions?
    No. But I suggest you register them with the copyright or patent office whichever is appropriate. Don't be penny wise and dollar foolish. Spend what it takes to get you the best protection.

    They never asked me to list them.
    OK.

    The software I wrote is version controlled on gitlab, so there's proof i made it before. I also wrote them in completely different programming languages, and the two products are completely unrelated. One is aviation, and my stuff is learning software, nutrition software, and a listing site.
    Just understand one thing.

    I don't know what your contract says or whether it's a bona fide contract that specifies under what conditions your employment can be terminated but if you are employed at will, your employer doesn't need cause to fire you. He can simply not like what you do in your spare time and show you the door.

    Do you understand that?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Nda Lawsstarting a Business on the Side, While Working Full-Time

    I think you are mistaking an nda with a non-compete agreement.

    An nda simply prohibits you from disclosing your activities and other information the company deems private. A non-compete is what would prohibit you from operating a business in a manner that would compete with your employers business.


    Bottom line neither sounds to be an issue here.

    What you may may be thinking of is an employers rights to patents and ideas created during your period of employment. Aka work product or work inspired product.

    An employer does not need to have you sign anything relinquishing rights to work inspired products although many do. An employer has a right to work inspired product simply because it is work inspired product.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Nda Lawsstarting a Business on the Side, While Working Full-Time

    Excuse me, You are right. I meant to say non-compete agreement. And Thank you for the answers. It seems like i'm in the green for the most part. But i will need to look at the agreement again, and i will post more specific info. I don't know if i'm employed at will. I think because it's a gov job it might have termination requirements

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Nda Lawsstarting a Business on the Side, While Working Full-Time

    Quote Quoting porkBellyPig
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    Excuse me, You are right. I meant to say non-compete agreement. And Thank you for the answers. It seems like i'm in the green for the most part. But i will need to look at the agreement again, and i will post more specific info. I don't know if i'm employed at will. I think because it's a gov job it might have termination requirements
    The termination requirements are for government employees, you're a contractor and receive no protection under the agreement. If you want to keep what you already have, don't work on it when you are on company time.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.......

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Nda Lawsstarting a Business on the Side, While Working Full-Time

    One other issue you can run into is that a contract may specify that the employer owns all of the software that you develop while in their employ. Clauses that include this can cause you a lot of heartache even if you're developing on the side. This is due to the fact that employers feel that you may not be giving their assignments full priority to the assigned tasks and/or may be using company time or other resources for personal projects.

    You need to read very critically when you review the contract. While terms like this can be contested it will be challenging as you did sign the contract or, in this case, a non-compete agreement.

    I do know people who have run afoul of this and lost even though said creation was entirely on their own time due to clauses like this.
    "Where do those stairs go?"
    "They go up!"

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