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No, what you do on your own time (not company time) with your own resources can't be owned by the company, because otherwise everything you do would be owned by the company, which is absurd; suppose I went to a friend or relative and helped him/her out by writing a simple script, does that belong to the company now? How about posts you make on HN outside of work (if you do it at work, that's... questionable)?

The possibility of companies disagreeing is why I keep my work and private life completely separate, and the online portion of the latter does not even use my name nor anything that could be associated with my "offline" identity.




> [S]uppose I went to a friend or relative and helped him/her out by writing a simple script, does that belong to the company now?

That's a good question, and only answerable by checking what you've signed and what the laws in your jurisdiction are.

Some of the agreements, even in the US, are pretty aggressive about grabbing as much IP from an employee as possible.


Please see the link I added. You should check your employment contract to see the exact terms of the copyright assignment clause you signed, but it's definitely very common to have to assign any inventions you make that are "related to your employers area of work", regardless of what hardware you use or if you do it in the office or at home.


Well who signs contracts like these? I mean really? And why? I really cannot understand anybody giving away that much of their live for an employer/the next paycheck.

Yeah - if I am really, really in a tight spot financially - for as long as it takes to crawl out of such a mess - ok. But regularly? Long term?

Help me to understand.

And I also do not understand how a company could find this morally acceptable to have this idea.

I mean is this really the norm in the US?


> Well who signs contracts like these? I mean really? And why? I really cannot understand anybody giving away that much of their live for an employer/the next paycheck.

The outrage is a bit funny, because that's actually the law in Germany. It doesn't even need to be in the contract. (1) And if you think about it, it makes sense: Otherwise every employee who finds something patentable during working hours just clocks out, goes home and invents it "on his own time." And that would be a problem for an employer, too. So the deal is "employer pays you, and gets first dibs on whatever you invent in the general area that the employer pays you to work in."

(1) https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/arbnerfg/index.html


As already answered on another comment. This law does not enable an employer to claim every employees (patentable) invention. Please read the text - especially on the so called free inventions.


This is essentially in line what the article linked and the post to which you responded claims: inventions related to your assigned field of work are claimable.


99% of people sign them. Almost everyone will barely read it. The rest assume that it won't affect them.


A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

I'd rather get paid more today than take a lower salary with the potential to possibly, if I'm really lucky, strike gold with my own invention.


Unfortunately it is the norm. (With tech companies)


AFAIK, despite your work contract, CA protects personal projects even done on a company laptop. It just can’t be done on work hours or with a novel tool provided by work.

I’m paraphrasing an attorney’s explanations so I can’t cite the code.




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