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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    3

    Default Is My Idea the Property of My Employer

    Hi all!

    I work for a company as a product manager, creating data and operational models for new services. I'm relatively new to the company, and actually joined because I had an idea that I believed I would be able to convince management was good for the firm. It wasn't in my contract to undertake it, just thought I would be able to get them to agree after putting out some quality work. Note that this idea, while related to the industry the firm operates, does not compete with any other service they offer, and no patent application has been filed.

    I recently pitched this idea to management, and they weren't interested. Could I build and sell the idea on my own without worrying about getting sued? Know that my contract says (paraphrased): "the employee will disclose confidentially any designs or original processes that resulted from work done by the employee, whether or not in the course of normal duties, or are related to current or anticipated business activities or services." It also states that any of these designs or original processes will be the sole property of my firm.

    Big thank you to everyone with expertise they can share on this!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,726

    Default Re: Is My Idea the Property of My Employer

    And the state you are in is?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Is My Idea the Property of My Employer

    New York

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,726

    Default Re: Is My Idea the Property of My Employer

    Unless you can prove the creation of the idea prior to your employment there, you are at a serious disadvantage. Ideas and designs can be claimed by an employer especially if they can claim your employment spurred the idea. Since there is a relationship between your employment and your idea, since you made no attempt to exclude the idea prior to your employment and as such proving it’s crestion prior to employment, you’ll have a difficult time proving it isn’t the result of your employment and as such owned by your employer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Is My Idea the Property of My Employer

    Understood. Thank you very much for the reply!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    213

    Default Re: Is My Idea the Property of My Employer

    jk is spot on, the basic legal term is "Work(s) for hire".

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    1,544

    Default Re: Is My Idea the Property of My Employer

    Ideas are not protected by any form of intellectual property law. Under New York law, mere ideas are protected only if there is a contract and the idea is both novel and concrete. I suggest you consult with local legal counsel.

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