Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!
  • Students Click Here

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here


Intellectual Property / taking your designs with you

Intellectual Property / taking your designs with you

Intellectual Property / taking your designs with you

I have been recently laid of from a very small company where I was the sole engineer and designer of the product for the last 3 years. The director of the company has stated that said company will no longer manufacture.
4 months ago I had offered to buy the company, the owner was initially interested although never followed through. I pursued the purchase but was stone walled with empty answers.
I am interested in continuing to manufacture the items which I designed and sell them to new and existing customers. There have been no patents filed on the items. I have read the criteria on patent applications for my region and believe there is a strong case for a patent.

Would be interested in hearing thoughts on where the IP line is drawn and what I am able to freely take with me. Duplicating the original may be difficult to the .001mm but the concept will be more than manageable to duplicate.

RE: Intellectual Property / taking your designs with you

If they were selling this item, it's in the public domain already... going to be difficult to get a patent on something everyone has seen...

That said, you're walking a somewhat murky line when it comes to taking a design you were paid to create and start manufacturing it yourself.

Dan - Owner

RE: Intellectual Property / taking your designs with you

I guess the real question is it worth suing you over? If it's such a murky line then just don't make it more profitable to bring a lawsuit against you.

Also, why ask us and not an attorney?

Maine Professional and Structural Engineer. www.fepc.us

RE: Intellectual Property / taking your designs with you

Quote (Also, why ask us and not an attorney? )

Won't cost you much to be certain.
Although, from my own limited experience...
  • If no Patent Disclosure has been filed then the path to the "It was my idea first" finish line is nearly obstacle-free.
  • If you did not sign any Non-Compete or Non-Disclosure Agreements, then the Intellectual Property is not protected. Shame on them for being so negligent.

Blue Technik LLC
Virtuoso Robotics Engineering

RE: Intellectual Property / taking your designs with you


thanks you for the feed-back. I am not asking a lawyer at this stage because I would like to hear other peoples experiences first. I prefer to arm myself with as much information as possible before going and seeking paid help.

As seen above there are polar differences.
side one: I was paid for it so the payer owns the product/idea
side two: My idea = my property because there has been no filling of any kind for IP protection. I have not signed any non-disclosure or non-compete agreements.

Is it financially worth it to sue me? No, suing my newly formed company will yield a whole lot of nothing. The product was not a great seller, but in IMHO it was due to a lack of marketing.

Will let you know how it unfolds. Any additional input is always welcome.


RE: Intellectual Property / taking your designs with you

There's no question, your prior employer DEFINITELY owns the product... but if he has not filed for a patent on the idea within a year of releasing it to the public, it's now public domain.

Where things get murky is if you decide to make something similar based upon ideas you came up with while working for them. You were being paid wages to design this product, including any failures... you were doing R&D... and if you walk out and recreate the exact thing, the legal issues abound. You do not need to sign an NDA or NCA for simple rules to hold. If you were some average Joe on the street who saw it on the shelves and decided to copy it, that's one thing... but having helped design it, you now have intimate knowledge of the product, and courts don't look too kindly on that.

Dan - Owner

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members!


White Paper: Industrial Control Basics: Contactors
A contactor is an electrical device used for switching an electrical circuit on or off. Considered to be a special type of relay, contactors are used in applications with higher current carrying capacity, while relays are used for lower current applications. Download Now
Research Report: State of IoT Adoption in Product Development 2019
This research report, based on a survey of 234 product development professionals, examines the current state of Internet of Things (IoT) adoption by product design teams, its perceived importance, and what features and capabilities teams consider important when making decision about adding IoT functionality to their products. Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close