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    Discussion in 'Protecting your designs or inventions' started by 2dand3d, Aug 22, 2010.

    1. 2dand3d

      2dand3d Member

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      I manage a small sub-contract sheet metal shop (65 shopfloor) and we do a lot of manufacturing for a company that supplies Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda etc. I get heavilly involved with new concepts. I will be given a brief outline of what they want to acvhieve and I have to turn this into reality. I design using Solidworks and I am able to show the customer a visual finished component before the first piece of steel is cut. I put a lot of expertise, knowledge and experience into designing what is required and then if accepted they get put into mass production, after the end customer has bought the detailed drawings from my employer (who inturn pays me for doing the drawings with our customers logo on them).
      Where do I stand as far as I.P. rights go and is there any way of protecting the design even though it was someone elses concept to start with
       
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    3. stewlenox

      stewlenox Active Member

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      Hi,2dand3d,
      If you are in the US, you have no rights to any of it once you are paid. from what you have said, the idea, and general design belongs to someone else. Your employer would be the holder of the rights if he and the client have an agreement. Have you signed non-disclosure agreements with anyone? Has your employer? My guess is that unless everyone here is clueless about IP, that the client has some sort of NDA signed with your employer.
      If this is not the case, you might be able to get some rights in a court battle.....but my guess is that it would cost you your job, and maybe ruin your reputation as a "go to guy".
      I'm not a lawyer, but I think this is pretty much the gist of it.
       
    4. dsgn2mfg

      dsgn2mfg Member

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      I think Stew is exactly right on all counts. In my contract I acknowledge that specific IP (i.e. the resultant design I create to meet the customer's criteria) belongs to them. However my contract also covers concepts and ideas that I create for a customer as being mine for reuse should that reuse hamper my future business. This allows me to reuse and idea on a different application but not for the same use unless that use is core to my design business and basically proprietary to my business. Also, I usually have prior art or documentation of this. If that is IP or research I choose to deploy for a client, even if it results in giving that client a competitive advantage and product that they may choose to patent, I retain the right to reuse that IP. When this occurs or I foresee it as a possibility, I provide notification to the client either in the contract ahead of time or in a certified letter at the time I am planning to use said IP. This gives the client the opportunity to ask me to go a different direction or to acknowledge my rights to the IP.
       
    5. 2dand3d

      2dand3d Member

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      Stew and Micheal are spot on with there advice.
      There is no non-disclosure agreement been signed or even thought of, however the point that was made about the employability was a good one and so I shall leave the matter as it is for the moment, after all loyalty starts at home!
       

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