Legal Question in Technology Law in New York

Legal use of ideas created while employed

I have developed a program, outside of work hours and then sold it through my company. I then spent about 8 hours customizing and fixing bugs for the client to use this product, during work hours. Since this implementation I have created a tool to auto-generate this program, outside of work hours.

Do I have legal ownership of this ''auto-generation tool'' and may I legally resell it independently?

Asked on 6/01/04, 9:45 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Harold Burstyn Harold L. Burstyn Attorney-at-Law

Re: Legal use of ideas created while employed

There's no simple answer to your question. The original program and the auto-generation tool are probably yours. It depends on your contract of employment. The customization and bug fixes are clearly your employer's (I assume that by "my company" you mean the employer). Because the auto-generation tool works with the program, to which your employer has rights, you should make an agreement with your employer if you want to be an independent reseller.

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Answered on 6/01/04, 12:01 pm
Anthony Lee Gallo & Iacovangelo, LLP

Re: Legal use of ideas created while employed

The answer to your question is not a simple yes or no. If you are working under a written employment contract, the terms of that contract may cover this activity and your ability to sell the product on your own. In addition, if there is no written agreement, your company policy handbook may cover this situation. I would be happy to discuss the matter in more detail with you if you wish to give me a call.

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Answered on 6/01/04, 9:53 am

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