Legal Question in Intellectual Property in California

I am in a situation that can be more easily explained by using the following example.

Consider a person how works at a company that produces sunglasses. Based on the knowledge that he has acquired over the time, he comes up with an idea to produce UV protection sunglasses more efficiently. Then he leaves the company and start his own based on his idea. Can the original company sue him, assuming that he hasn't used any resources from the original company and he has worked on his idea on his own free time?

Asked on 10/28/13, 11:12 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Frank Natoli Natoli-Lapin, LLC

There is no way to answer this conclusively without all the facts. Of course the short answer is yes, but will they have a good claim?

For example, are you bound to any written non-compete agreements (in CA they are generally unenforceable as between employers and employees anyway)? Are you exploiting any trade secret information you obtained under your employment? Without any decent cause of action, it is highly unlikely they would invest in this kind of litigation as it is very expensive to pursue.

I suggest that you discuss it over with a lawyer in private so all the facts and circumstances can be explored.

If you would like to discuss further over a free phone consult, feel free to contact me anytime that is convenient.

Kind regards,



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DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed on the basis of this posting.

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Answered on 10/29/13, 7:06 am

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Suits of this sort are threatened more often than actually brought. When actually brought, such lawsuits are more frequently defended successfully (won or settled favorably for the defendant). The defense is, however, often quite expensive.

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Answered on 10/29/13, 9:00 am

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