Legal Question in Intellectual Property in Illinois

Does my company own my initial idea for a web application, along with the softw

The CIO/CTO said that what I had created was good enough, and only wants to use it internally. He does not want to fund further development. I believe that there is a signficant commercial opportunity. I Would like the freedom to take my idea and see if I can build a better version of the same web application. I would leave all documentation and software code at the company. They have not protected the idea with a copyright. Even if it was protected, the new data base structure would be different. Should I ask the corp. attorney's for a letter stating that I can develop this idea further? Or should I hire external legal counsel ? Have decided to quit the company on June 30 so that I can develop the idea further. So your quick response would be appreciated.

Asked on 4/19/00, 12:20 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Theresa Peeler Law Office of T. M. Peeler

Re: Does my company own my initial idea for a web application, along with the s

Although an idea is not copyrightable, the computer code and your notes are. If you produced this information as an employee of the company, the company owns the information. If they are willing to allow you to further exploit the information on your own, you would definitely want to obtain their permission before you expended any finances toward development. It is your call as to whether to seek outside counsel. If you perceive the company as "friendly" to your objectives, you may want to work out a deal with the company's attorney. This may entail bringing in an attorney to review whatever contract is generated as a result. Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

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Answered on 4/28/00, 2:37 pm

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