Hello. I work in the IT department of an engineering firm. I recently came up with an idea, designed it, and then built a working prototype. This was done after hours, using the company's 3D printer to fabricate the peices.
A few days later the president of the company noticed me playing with the product and asked to have a look at it. A few days after that he asked if I would be interested in presenting the idea to the board of directors. I have not yet secured a patent for this product, and I am concerned that it could easily be taken from me. This is supposed to take place within the next week, and I am looking for any advice I can get as to how to handle the situation. I thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Your concern is justified because you developed the idea using the company's equipment and on company's premises. Therefore, there is the possibility that the company owns a portion of the intellectual property or maybe even the entirety. It's difficult to assess the situation without learning more about your position, any employment agreements you may have signed, the extent of your use of the company's equipment, whether the subject matter of your idea is related to your employment etc.
Therefore it's impossible to give any specific advice other than that you ought to document every step of your development so that if claims are made you will have a reliable set of facts to counter such claims.
I would recommend that you consider retaining an intellectual property / business attorney for a consultation in the matter. Certainly if you believe that this idea is valuable you should consider investing, even a little, to secure it.
I'm a startup attorney and my consultations are not expensive, so feel free to contact me directly.
Roman R. Fichman, Esq.
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