• Non-Disclosure Aggrements

    From Ricky@21:1/5 to All on Wed Jun 8 07:49:00 2022
    What elements do people put into non-disclosure agreements to protect their own IP?

    I'm assuming that first, it has to be stated that potentially all material provided may contain proprietary information, whether marked as such or not. I'd hate to have to mark all emails as proprietary. Even my schematics, while marked with copyright,
    are not marked proprietary.

    Second, it needs to be stated that the recipient acknowledges the above and will treat the material as such.

    Third... well, I can't think of anything else, other than perhaps that any disclosures to others is permitted only with specific written permission? Which would seem obvious given the nature of proprietary information.

    Any essential elements I'm missing? Should there be specific penalties? I would hate to have to prove a monetary loss from an infraction. What is customary in regards to that?

    One other thought. I'm a bit unclear about copyright. My schematics are marked with dates of the two times they were created and updated. Since then comments have been added, which were not through the schematic software, so those dates were not
    updated. Is it important to add the year various notes were added in a PDF editor?

    --

    Rick C.

    - Get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging
    - Tesla referral code - https://ts.la/richard11209

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Martin Brown@21:1/5 to Ricky on Wed Jun 8 16:32:43 2022
    On 08/06/2022 15:49, Ricky wrote:
    What elements do people put into non-disclosure agreements to protect their own IP?

    You get a lawyer who understands relevant IP to draft an agreement for
    you. That way there is a fair chance that it will be enforceable if
    needs be. Rules vary with national boundaries so where you are matters.

    You can also watermark code, documents or drawings in such a way that
    copies can be demonstrated to have been plagiarised from your work.

    Trade secrets are the other way of protecting some key IP.

    I'm assuming that first, it has to be stated that potentially all material provided may contain proprietary information, whether marked as such or not. I'd hate to have to mark all emails as proprietary. Even my schematics, while marked with
    copyright, are not marked proprietary.

    Places that care have a boilerplate that goes after their signature to
    the effect that the content is proprietary and confidential and to
    delete it if you are not the intended recipient (I'm not convinced that
    last clause does much good). If its juicy enough gossip it will escape!

    Please find attached plans for my free energy machine...

    Second, it needs to be stated that the recipient acknowledges the above and will treat the material as such.

    Signed agreement from someone senior enough in their organisation.

    Third... well, I can't think of anything else, other than perhaps that any disclosures to others is permitted only with specific written permission? Which would seem obvious given the nature of proprietary information.

    Any essential elements I'm missing? Should there be specific penalties? I would hate to have to prove a monetary loss from an infraction. What is customary in regards to that?

    One other thought. I'm a bit unclear about copyright. My schematics are marked with dates of the two times they were created and updated. Since then comments have been added, which were not through the schematic software, so those dates were not
    updated. Is it important to add the year various notes were added in a PDF editor?

    We tended to tack additional years on separated by commas. I have no
    idea if that is correct or not. Never ever had to try and enforce ours -
    but it looked intimidating enough that nobody ever tried it on.

    --
    Regards,
    Martin Brown

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From a a@21:1/5 to Ricky on Wed Jun 8 08:20:52 2022
    On Wednesday, 8 June 2022 at 16:49:04 UTC+2, Ricky wrote:
    What elements do people put into non-disclosure agreements to protect their own IP?

    I'm assuming that first, it has to be stated that potentially all material provided may contain proprietary information, whether marked as such or not. I'd hate to have to mark all emails as proprietary. Even my schematics, while marked with copyright,
    are not marked proprietary.

    Second, it needs to be stated that the recipient acknowledges the above and will treat the material as such.

    Third... well, I can't think of anything else, other than perhaps that any disclosures to others is permitted only with specific written permission? Which would seem obvious given the nature of proprietary information.

    Any essential elements I'm missing? Should there be specific penalties? I would hate to have to prove a monetary loss from an infraction. What is customary in regards to that?

    One other thought. I'm a bit unclear about copyright. My schematics are marked with dates of the two times they were created and updated. Since then comments have been added, which were not through the schematic software, so those dates were not
    updated. Is it important to add the year various notes were added in a PDF editor?

    --

    Rick C.

    - Get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging
    - Tesla referral code - https://ts.la/richard11209
    free samples, templates

    Nda Non Disclosure Agreement
    http://www.business-in-a-box.com/NDA

    ReklamaGet Instant Access to All Templates You Need to Start, Run & Grow Your Business!
    1,800+ Document Templates
    Attorney-Drafted Document
    Fill the Blanks & Print
    Download Free Demo

    Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) Template – Sample https://nondisclosureagreement.com

    Non-disclosure agreementsare legal contracts that prohibit someone from sharing information deemed confidential. The confidential information is defined in the agreement which includes, but not limited to, proprietary information, trade …

    Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA)
    NDA Violation
    Landlord-Tenant NDA
    What is a Trade Secret
    Business Plan NDA
    Job Interview NDA

    Odkrywaj dalej
    Basic Non-Disclosure Agreement nondisclosureagreement.com
    Free Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) | Confidentiality - PD… eforms.com Simple NDA template for Microsoft Word - FPPT free-power-point-templates.c… Employee Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) nondisclosureagreement.com
    SAMPLE Confidentiality Agreements councilofnonprofits.org

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Ricky@21:1/5 to All on Wed Jun 8 13:47:21 2022
    Turns out I misunderstood the inquiry. They are asking who owns the design. I was paid for the design effort, but with only a rather loose spec, nothing documented in the traditional sense. I had to research much of the design requirements on my own.
    Since then, there have been minor changes that were researched and funded my me. Much of my efforts since the original design effort have been for fabrication and testing.

    I've always expected they felt they owned the design, but they (being a large corporation) have lost any design info I provided at the time, as well as any contractual info. Sounds like the design is mine. I'm pretty sure no one in the company is going
    to contest me if I claim ownership.

    Am I wrong?

    --

    Rick C.

    + Get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging
    + Tesla referral code - https://ts.la/richard11209

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From legg@21:1/5 to gnuarm.deletethisbit@gmail.com on Thu Jun 9 11:08:05 2022
    On Wed, 8 Jun 2022 13:47:21 -0700 (PDT), Ricky
    <gnuarm.deletethisbit@gmail.com> wrote:

    Turns out I misunderstood the inquiry. They are asking who owns the design. I was paid for the design effort, but with only a rather loose spec, nothing documented in the traditional sense. I had to research much of the design requirements on my own.
    Since then, there have been minor changes that were researched and funded my me. Much of my efforts since the original design effort have been for fabrication and testing.

    I've always expected they felt they owned the design, but they (being a large corporation) have lost any design info I provided at the time, as well as any contractual info. Sounds like the design is mine. I'm pretty sure no one in the company is
    going to contest me if I claim ownership.

    Am I wrong?

    Depends on how much it proves to be worth.

    If cash accumulates, they'll try to grab it.

    RL

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Martin Brown@21:1/5 to Ricky on Thu Jun 9 20:17:54 2022
    On 08/06/2022 21:47, Ricky wrote:
    Turns out I misunderstood the inquiry. They are asking who owns the design. I was paid for the design effort, but with only a rather loose spec, nothing documented in the traditional sense. I had to research much of the design requirements on my own.
    Since then, there have been minor changes that were researched and funded my me. Much of my efforts since the original design effort have been for fabrication and testing.

    I've always expected they felt they owned the design, but they (being a large corporation) have lost any design info I provided at the time, as well as any contractual info. Sounds like the design is mine. I'm pretty sure no one in the company is
    going to contest me if I claim ownership.

    Am I wrong?

    That depends. If the thing makes enough money then their legal
    department will eventually take an interest in it and sue.

    If it stays under their radar then it may not be cost effective for them
    to pursue it. They will probably leave it until you have made a fairly
    handsome profit and then move in with an IP claim against you with
    punitive damages. Then it gets expensive, time consuming and they have
    nearly bottomless pockets and in house lawyers.

    ISTR that is how it works in the USA - I found it distasteful.

    Some organisations have bull in a china shop mentality to IP.

    Microsoft (US software giant) vs UK M&S (retail chain) Microsoft tights.
    (can't immediately find an online link - too far back)

    Google search blinded by the Cuthbert the caterpillar trademark dispute.

    Microsoft vs Google ended in trench warfare and a pseudo draw:

    https://www.ft.com/content/c4fcea11-fc92-45c8-994c-be08cb0e1055

    Most recently Vogue glossy airhead magazine vs UK Cornwall pub:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/may/19/cornish-pub-receives-framed-apology-from-vogue-publisher-after-name-row

    --
    Regards,
    Martin Brown

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Dave Platt@21:1/5 to '''newspam'''@nonad.co.uk on Thu Jun 9 13:36:31 2022
    In article <t7th12$1e0t$1@gioia.aioe.org>,
    Martin Brown <'''newspam'''@nonad.co.uk> wrote:
    On 08/06/2022 21:47, Ricky wrote:
    Turns out I misunderstood the inquiry. They are asking who owns the design. I was paid for the design
    effort, but with only a rather loose spec, nothing documented in the traditional sense. I had to research
    much of the design requirements on my own. Since then, there have been minor changes that were researched and
    funded my me. Much of my efforts since the original design effort have been for fabrication and testing.

    I've always expected they felt they owned the design, but they (being a large corporation) have lost any
    design info I provided at the time, as well as any contractual info. Sounds like the design is mine. I'm
    pretty sure no one in the company is going to contest me if I claim ownership. >>
    Am I wrong?

    That depends. If the thing makes enough money then their legal
    department will eventually take an interest in it and sue.

    It also depends (a lot!) on what sort of contract or agreement you
    signed when you agreed to develop it. IANAL so here's my
    layman's understanding of the usual situation.

    On the one hand: if you signed a "work for hire" contract then they
    own the rights to all novel work that you did on the job. You were
    their employer, your pay was the compensation for your work, and
    you don't retain any residual rights to the novel work in the design.

    Even under a "work for hire" contact, the employer doesn't gain the
    rights to any pre-existing technology that you used in the work.
    If it's "out there" in public, if it's technology that a skilled
    worker in your trade has access to, then you're free to use it
    for further _new_ designs.

    It sounds as if the situation in your case is more complicated, since
    you did the original work "on their dime". They'd own the results to
    the initial version you turned over to them (even if you had to do a
    whole bunch of the design-requirement research... in effect that's
    part of what they were paying you for). The subsequent versions that
    they didn't pay you for... you'd own the rights to further, novel
    improvements (the company wouldn't have the right to use those without
    your permission) but they'd retain the ownership of the original
    version.

    So, from my location out here in the cheap seats, the answer to
    the question "Do they own it, or do I own it?" is "Yes". Neither
    party seems to have clear, exclusive ownership of the current
    version.

    If you decide to make further use of it in the commercial market,
    you run the risk that they might come around later and sue you.
    If you were to try to sell your rights to the current version
    to a manufacturer, they might very well ask you to attest that you
    own the rights free-and-clear - and if you said "yes" you could
    eventually end up being sued by both companies :-(

    Things could be even worse if the original company should ever
    be acquired by an "IP troll" company - they make their money
    chasing down possible violators and hanging them over slow fires
    until all the money falls out of their pockets.

    At this point your best bet is probably to talk to a lawyer
    with intellectual-property experience. Ask him/her about
    the specifics of your situation. Ask whether the doctrine of
    Laches might provide you with some level of defense. It could
    be in your best interest to write them a formal letter stating
    that you believe that you own the current design "in the clear",
    and see what their response is. Maybe even ask straight-up
    for a copy of any contract or agreement about this IP they have
    in their possession?

    Or, gamble that they (and their successor companies) will never
    notice and hit you with a "submarine lawsuit".

    You might want to try to broker a deal - a mutual release.
    You grant them the right to use your improved design, in
    perpetuity, for no additional royalty, and they grant you
    the same right. Companies having conflicting or ambiguous
    IP claims will often do this sort of cross-licensing as a
    way of letting engineers get their jobs done without undue
    lawyer-squabbling.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Ricky@21:1/5 to legg on Thu Jun 9 20:19:09 2022
    On Thursday, June 9, 2022 at 11:07:18 AM UTC-4, legg wrote:
    On Wed, 8 Jun 2022 13:47:21 -0700 (PDT), Ricky
    <gnuarm.del...@gmail.com> wrote:

    Turns out I misunderstood the inquiry. They are asking who owns the design. I was paid for the design effort, but with only a rather loose spec, nothing documented in the traditional sense. I had to research much of the design requirements on my own.
    Since then, there have been minor changes that were researched and funded my me. Much of my efforts since the original design effort have been for fabrication and testing.

    I've always expected they felt they owned the design, but they (being a large corporation) have lost any design info I provided at the time, as well as any contractual info. Sounds like the design is mine. I'm pretty sure no one in the company is
    going to contest me if I claim ownership.

    Am I wrong?
    Depends on how much it proves to be worth.

    If cash accumulates, they'll try to grab it.

    If "cash" accumulates? Where would this cash be accumulating?

    One problem is they have never been willing to commit to any level of sales. So I've always had to build to order. This means around 8 or 10 weeks before product can ship even when parts are readily available. So I don't know how they can internally
    justify spending the money to design a replacement unit and then to ramp up the production and testing capability. Heck, they have to spend bucks on EMI/EMC testing alone. I could probably respin the board with a different CODEC and a different FPGA
    and get by without EMC testing... maybe.

    I nosed around my records and have not found any evidence of any communications regarding ownership of the design. I'm thinking it would be hard to a company to claim ownership 14 years later after I've been building the design all this time, with no
    documentation to say the design is not mine. Most importantly, they have not made an indications the design belonged to them. I maintain it. I update it. I take full responsibility for it working.

    There is a law in real estate (in most jurisdictions), that if someone uses a piece of property, absent any agreement, for some specific number of years, uncontested by anyone, including the property owner of record, that property can be claimed by the
    person using it. I think, in the end, that is what we have here. The ownership is perhaps a bit murky, but absent any documentation, and with my company being responsible for all the maintenance, etc., the design belongs to me.

    Heck, the company actually lost all the documentation I've provided. If this design were a child, that would be endangerment! LOL

    --

    Rick C.

    -- Get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging
    -- Tesla referral code - https://ts.la/richard11209

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Ricky@21:1/5 to Martin Brown on Thu Jun 9 20:22:34 2022
    On Thursday, June 9, 2022 at 3:18:02 PM UTC-4, Martin Brown wrote:
    On 08/06/2022 21:47, Ricky wrote:
    Turns out I misunderstood the inquiry. They are asking who owns the design. I was paid for the design effort, but with only a rather loose spec, nothing documented in the traditional sense. I had to research much of the design requirements on my own.
    Since then, there have been minor changes that were researched and funded my me. Much of my efforts since the original design effort have been for fabrication and testing.

    I've always expected they felt they owned the design, but they (being a large corporation) have lost any design info I provided at the time, as well as any contractual info. Sounds like the design is mine. I'm pretty sure no one in the company is
    going to contest me if I claim ownership.

    Am I wrong?
    That depends. If the thing makes enough money then their legal
    department will eventually take an interest in it and sue.

    Sue for what exactly??? You are failing to understand large companies. No one in the legal department even knows of the existence of the product, much less the vagueness of the ownership. There is no money anyone is counting to pay attention to!


    If it stays under their radar then it may not be cost effective for them
    to pursue it. They will probably leave it until you have made a fairly handsome profit and then move in with an IP claim against you with
    punitive damages. Then it gets expensive, time consuming and they have nearly bottomless pockets and in house lawyers.

    LOL! I'm selling the device to THEM! There can't be any IP claims.

    I snipped the rest of the post as it is entirely irrelevant.

    --

    Rick C.

    --+ Get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging
    --+ Tesla referral code - https://ts.la/richard11209

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Ricky@21:1/5 to Dave Platt on Thu Jun 9 20:45:54 2022
    On Thursday, June 9, 2022 at 4:37:10 PM UTC-4, Dave Platt wrote:
    In article <t7th12$1e0t$1...@gioia.aioe.org>,
    Martin Brown <'''newspam'''@nonad.co.uk> wrote:
    On 08/06/2022 21:47, Ricky wrote:
    Turns out I misunderstood the inquiry. They are asking who owns the design. I was paid for the design
    effort, but with only a rather loose spec, nothing documented in the traditional sense. I had to research
    much of the design requirements on my own. Since then, there have been minor changes that were researched and
    funded my me. Much of my efforts since the original design effort have been for fabrication and testing.

    I've always expected they felt they owned the design, but they (being a large corporation) have lost any
    design info I provided at the time, as well as any contractual info. Sounds like the design is mine. I'm
    pretty sure no one in the company is going to contest me if I claim ownership.

    Am I wrong?

    That depends. If the thing makes enough money then their legal
    department will eventually take an interest in it and sue.
    It also depends (a lot!) on what sort of contract or agreement you
    signed when you agreed to develop it. IANAL so here's my
    layman's understanding of the usual situation.

    On the one hand: if you signed a "work for hire" contract then they
    own the rights to all novel work that you did on the job. You were
    their employer, your pay was the compensation for your work, and
    you don't retain any residual rights to the novel work in the design.

    Even under a "work for hire" contact, the employer doesn't gain the
    rights to any pre-existing technology that you used in the work.
    If it's "out there" in public, if it's technology that a skilled
    worker in your trade has access to, then you're free to use it
    for further _new_ designs.

    There are no "new designs". This unit is designed to be an internal piece for their equipment.


    It sounds as if the situation in your case is more complicated, since
    you did the original work "on their dime". They'd own the results to
    the initial version you turned over to them (even if you had to do a
    whole bunch of the design-requirement research... in effect that's
    part of what they were paying you for). The subsequent versions that
    they didn't pay you for... you'd own the rights to further, novel improvements (the company wouldn't have the right to use those without
    your permission) but they'd retain the ownership of the original
    version.

    So, from my location out here in the cheap seats, the answer to
    the question "Do they own it, or do I own it?" is "Yes". Neither
    party seems to have clear, exclusive ownership of the current
    version.

    If you decide to make further use of it in the commercial market,
    you run the risk that they might come around later and sue you.
    If you were to try to sell your rights to the current version
    to a manufacturer, they might very well ask you to attest that you
    own the rights free-and-clear - and if you said "yes" you could
    eventually end up being sued by both companies :-(

    There is no further use in the market.

    The only issue I recall clearly, is the person who asked me to design this unit, asked that I not sell it to any competitors. But the interfaces are custom to their equipment, so there's no way to sell it to anyone else. That would need to be a new
    design. In reality, while it started out with special features, those features don't really sell well, and this unit is not used for much more than an analog interface that is compatible with their protocols rather than being a general ADC/DAC.


    Things could be even worse if the original company should ever
    be acquired by an "IP troll" company - they make their money
    chasing down possible violators and hanging them over slow fires
    until all the money falls out of their pockets.

    That's not going to happen. It's a rather large company with lots of product lines worth a great deal.


    At this point your best bet is probably to talk to a lawyer
    with intellectual-property experience. Ask him/her about
    the specifics of your situation. Ask whether the doctrine of
    Laches might provide you with some level of defense.

    Checking with Wikipedia, it would seem to not be so relevant, maybe. The delay involved only begins when the plaintiff knows (or should have known) about the issue. I think this would not land favorably for me.


    It could
    be in your best interest to write them a formal letter stating
    that you believe that you own the current design "in the clear",
    and see what their response is. Maybe even ask straight-up
    for a copy of any contract or agreement about this IP they have
    in their possession?

    That is what is going to happen, because I am being asked pointedly this question. They have no contract, because there was none other than a PO with terms and conditions appropriate for buying goods, not so much services, no mention of ownership of IP.


    Or, gamble that they (and their successor companies) will never
    notice and hit you with a "submarine lawsuit".

    There's no law suit potential. Are they going to sue me for making the units which are being sold to them? I think not. In essence, I am either the owner of the design, which I sell to them, OR I am a contract manufacturer building their design. In
    either case, there can be no IP claims since they are the recipient of the units. I believe IP cases are filed against the people USING the IP, not the people making it. I seem to recall that happening some years back involving CAE software. The CAE
    company was not sued, but their customers were! That's why the license agreements from the FPGA companies include indemnification for the customer using their software!

    Oh, I almost forgot! My terms and conditions of sale require them to indemnify me against all IP claims involving THEIR IP. The reason I put that in, was because since my unit is a component in their system, I might be sued by someone claiming
    infringement by IP which happens to use my product in the overall process.


    You might want to try to broker a deal - a mutual release.
    You grant them the right to use your improved design, in
    perpetuity, for no additional royalty, and they grant you
    the same right. Companies having conflicting or ambiguous
    IP claims will often do this sort of cross-licensing as a
    way of letting engineers get their jobs done without undue lawyer-squabbling.

    I have no reason to do that. I have no exposure from the previous sales. My concern is being designed out rather than redesigning my unit to eliminate the problem parts.

    Thanks for the advice.

    --

    Rick C.

    -+- Get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging
    -+- Tesla referral code - https://ts.la/richard11209

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From legg@21:1/5 to gnuarm.deletethisbit@gmail.com on Fri Jun 10 09:24:04 2022
    On Thu, 9 Jun 2022 20:19:09 -0700 (PDT), Ricky
    <gnuarm.deletethisbit@gmail.com> wrote:

    On Thursday, June 9, 2022 at 11:07:18 AM UTC-4, legg wrote:
    On Wed, 8 Jun 2022 13:47:21 -0700 (PDT), Ricky
    <gnuarm.del...@gmail.com> wrote:

    Turns out I misunderstood the inquiry. They are asking who owns the design. I was paid for the design effort, but with only a rather loose spec, nothing documented in the traditional sense. I had to research much of the design requirements on my own.
    Since then, there have been minor changes that were researched and funded my me. Much of my efforts since the original design effort have been for fabrication and testing.

    I've always expected they felt they owned the design, but they (being a large corporation) have lost any design info I provided at the time, as well as any contractual info. Sounds like the design is mine. I'm pretty sure no one in the company is
    going to contest me if I claim ownership.

    Am I wrong?
    Depends on how much it proves to be worth.

    If cash accumulates, they'll try to grab it.

    If "cash" accumulates? Where would this cash be accumulating?

    One problem is they have never been willing to commit to any level of sales. So I've always had to build to order. This means around 8 or 10 weeks before product can ship even when parts are readily available. So I don't know how they can internally
    justify spending the money to design a replacement unit and then to ramp up the production and testing capability. Heck, they have to spend bucks on EMI/EMC testing alone. I could probably respin the board with a different CODEC and a different FPGA
    and get by without EMC testing... maybe.

    I nosed around my records and have not found any evidence of any communications regarding ownership of the design. I'm thinking it would be hard to a company to claim ownership 14 years later after I've been building the design all this time, with no
    documentation to say the design is not mine. Most importantly, they have not made an indications the design belonged to them. I maintain it. I update it. I take full responsibility for it working.

    There is a law in real estate (in most jurisdictions), that if someone uses a piece of property, absent any agreement, for some specific number of years, uncontested by anyone, including the property owner of record, that property can be claimed by the
    person using it. I think, in the end, that is what we have here. The ownership is perhaps a bit murky, but absent any documentation, and with my company being responsible for all the maintenance, etc., the design belongs to me.

    Heck, the company actually lost all the documentation I've provided. If this design were a child, that would be endangerment! LOL

    If you sell a lot independently, they're bound to
    hear about it. There will likely be a 'discussion'.
    If this client currently supplies a good propotion
    of your gross income, you may be losing the bird in hand.

    If you've bought a new car recently, or crowed about your
    success in a pub recently, you may get a letter in the
    mail that initiates a new relationship with your old
    client.

    RL

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Ricky@21:1/5 to legg on Fri Jun 10 07:15:32 2022
    On Friday, June 10, 2022 at 9:23:18 AM UTC-4, legg wrote:
    On Thu, 9 Jun 2022 20:19:09 -0700 (PDT), Ricky
    <gnuarm.del...@gmail.com> wrote:

    On Thursday, June 9, 2022 at 11:07:18 AM UTC-4, legg wrote:
    On Wed, 8 Jun 2022 13:47:21 -0700 (PDT), Ricky
    <gnuarm.del...@gmail.com> wrote:

    Turns out I misunderstood the inquiry. They are asking who owns the design. I was paid for the design effort, but with only a rather loose spec, nothing documented in the traditional sense. I had to research much of the design requirements on my
    own. Since then, there have been minor changes that were researched and funded my me. Much of my efforts since the original design effort have been for fabrication and testing.

    I've always expected they felt they owned the design, but they (being a large corporation) have lost any design info I provided at the time, as well as any contractual info. Sounds like the design is mine. I'm pretty sure no one in the company is
    going to contest me if I claim ownership.

    Am I wrong?
    Depends on how much it proves to be worth.

    If cash accumulates, they'll try to grab it.

    If "cash" accumulates? Where would this cash be accumulating?

    One problem is they have never been willing to commit to any level of sales. So I've always had to build to order. This means around 8 or 10 weeks before product can ship even when parts are readily available. So I don't know how they can internally
    justify spending the money to design a replacement unit and then to ramp up the production and testing capability. Heck, they have to spend bucks on EMI/EMC testing alone. I could probably respin the board with a different CODEC and a different FPGA and
    get by without EMC testing... maybe.

    I nosed around my records and have not found any evidence of any communications regarding ownership of the design. I'm thinking it would be hard to a company to claim ownership 14 years later after I've been building the design all this time, with no
    documentation to say the design is not mine. Most importantly, they have not made an indications the design belonged to them. I maintain it. I update it. I take full responsibility for it working.

    There is a law in real estate (in most jurisdictions), that if someone uses a piece of property, absent any agreement, for some specific number of years, uncontested by anyone, including the property owner of record, that property can be claimed by
    the person using it. I think, in the end, that is what we have here. The ownership is perhaps a bit murky, but absent any documentation, and with my company being responsible for all the maintenance, etc., the design belongs to me.

    Heck, the company actually lost all the documentation I've provided. If this design were a child, that would be endangerment! LOL
    If you sell a lot independently, they're bound to
    hear about it. There will likely be a 'discussion'.
    If this client currently supplies a good propotion
    of your gross income, you may be losing the bird in hand.

    If you've bought a new car recently, or crowed about your
    success in a pub recently, you may get a letter in the
    mail that initiates a new relationship with your old
    client.

    You are not listening! The product is not sold to anyone but them. It's not useful to anyone but them.

    Additionally, for the most part, they don't know I exist. As to the new car thing, when I bought my Tesla four years ago, I showed it to my contact. He was impressed with the speed. I don't believe anyone else in the company knows. We're keeping it a
    secret. Please don't rat me out! ;)

    Actually, I think your comment about the car and the pub are pretty funny. Sometimes it's good to inject levity into a serious conversation.

    --

    Rick C.

    -++ Get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging
    -++ Tesla referral code - https://ts.la/richard11209

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Dave Platt@21:1/5 to gnuarm.deletethisbit@gmail.com on Fri Jun 10 11:00:58 2022
    In article <7a9cf177-ebb8-44af-9aed-2820753d2ed7n@googlegroups.com>,
    Ricky <gnuarm.deletethisbit@gmail.com> wrote:
    It could
    be in your best interest to write them a formal letter stating
    that you believe that you own the current design "in the clear",
    and see what their response is. Maybe even ask straight-up
    for a copy of any contract or agreement about this IP they have
    in their possession?

    That is what is going to happen, because I am being asked pointedly this question. They have no contract, because there
    was none other than a PO with terms and conditions appropriate for buying goods, not so much services, no mention of
    ownership of IP.

    In that case, it doesn't sound to me as if they have any claim to the
    design work you did, since they were purchasing only a product. They
    own the problem and the requirements, but not the specifics of
    the solution.

    On the other hand... if there was no mention at all of ownership of IP
    in what you sold them (no trade-secret agreements or the like), there
    may be little or nothing to stop them from having somebody else clone
    the design and manufacture knockoffs (thus cutting you out of any
    additional sales to them). I have no idea whether it would be
    financially worthwhile for them to do so.

    So, yeah, a good clear letter summarizing the situation should help.
    Make it clear that they purchased products built-to-specification,
    that you were not a work-for-hire employee or contractor, and that
    you were not asked to convey any IP as part of the sale nor were
    you compensated for doing so.

    Best of luck! You may be running into a bit of the "hell, let's
    claim the world and see who pushes back" mentality there... it's
    common enough.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)