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Intellectual Property / taking your designs with you

Intellectual Property / taking your designs with you

Intellectual Property / taking your designs with you

(OP)
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
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

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? )

Precisely.
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.

TygerDawg
Blue Technik LLC
Virtuoso Robotics Engineering
www.bluetechnik.com

RE: Intellectual Property / taking your designs with you

(OP)
Hi,

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.


SK

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
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

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