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Ross Miller
Ross Miller,
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2087
Experience:  Director (Litigation and Mediation) at Hilltop Solutions
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I would like some advice on Intellectual Property, I don't

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Hello, I would like some advice on Intellectual Property
JA: What written documentation do you have?
Customer: I don't have any written documentation - basically, I left a company in April and I want to set up my own company based on an initiative I created, designed and implemented at the old company. There will be some major differences and name will change etc but I want to know if the old company can claim IP
JA: Have you talked to a local attorney? Has anything been filed in court?
Customer: No - myself and my partner are at the ideas stage so the old company do not know of our plan even though the initiative would be very different. The old company are based in Houston and this would be an initiative run from the UK but also the old company didn't trademark the name for the initiative although I wouldn't be using the same name
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Perhaps that I reached a settlement agreement with the old company with a lawyer and received a pay off but this initiative was not mentioned in the NDA nor was there any clauses saying I couldn't work in the same sector

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will be the expert assisting you with this matter today

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Thank you

Do you have a copy of your old employment contract?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
HI Ross

Hello, thank you for your question. Do you have a copy of you employment contract with your old employer?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I have a copy of the final settlement and NDA
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I have a copy of my final settlement and the NDA
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
I can get my employment contract but I'm not currently at home in the UK so can't access that until Monday

No problem I don't need to see the NDA or the contract I can simply tell you what to look for if you feel that would help?

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
that would be very helpful

No problem... I will just write up my response now, I would be obliged if you could rate my response once I have written it up for you.

Customer: replied 4 days ago.
of course, I think this is an excellent site and have used and recommended it to many people

Thank you. So the first thing you will want to look at is to see if there is a clause in the contract that states that the company owns the anything you have created whilst at the company. It is highly likely that this is the case. However, even if it is not expressly stated in your contract, the general rule of law is the if you create something within the role of your employment then that IP belongs to the hiring company and not the individual. So as you said, this is something that you created at the old company then the IP will belong to them I am afraid to say. However, as with everything in law there are always caveats, and it will really depend on what the product is and how it is executed ( a simple change of name is ***** ***** enough to avoid any IP issues). If the company realise that you are using this and they can show that there is IP attached which belongs to them then they could take legal action. However, what I would highly recommend you do is if you feel there is a big enough difference, you should look at getting an appointment with a local solicitor who deals with IP law ( I will provide you a useful link). By looking at the two products they will be able to determine if there is either IP attached to the original product or if you would be able to use the same thing. For example, if you were a chef and you moved from one restaurant to another you can use recipes from other restaurants. However, if you were to develop a machine that gives (for example) a new texture of food, then this is something specific you could attached IP to. So I cannot say definitively, however if there is IP attached then it would likely belong to the company you previously worked for.

I hope this information has helped. You can find a local solicitor who deals with this on the law society webpage which is;

I would be obliged if you could Click the 5 stars at the top of the webpage (this will not cost any extra). This will tell the website that I have responded to your question, you can, of course, continue to ask any follow up questions free of charge. I won’t be paid for my time from the website if there is no rating left for me.

Many Thanks

Ross Miller and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 days ago.
Thank you so much, Ross. That is extremely helpful. I will look at my contract but also seek local IP solicitor advice. Best wishes Jane

You are very welcome. I hope you manage to get a resolution. All the best.