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  #21  
Old 10.08.2012, 20:19
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Re: 'Intellectual Property' after business hours

@Cyrus mentioned about Art 322
'Intellectual Property' after business hours
but it seems to apply to "Inventions&Designs".
While program, algorithm can be designed first, later code is created.
AFAIK Code created is subject of Copywright, which is different thing and defined in Copywritght Act (which is unfortunately only in german and french)
http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/c231_1.html
http://www.admin.ch/ch/f/rs/c231_1.html
(I've asked for translation at: Swiss Laws and Legislation - English Translations )

It seems creating code after working hours is different kind of thing than creating toys as cyrus said, that's why I focus on creating code in following topic:
Spare time and intellectual property rights
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  #22  
Old 09.09.2012, 20:29
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Re: 'Intellectual Property' after business hours

....use another name.....
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  #23  
Old 09.09.2012, 20:54
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Re: 'Intellectual Property' after business hours

If in the course of your work on a project, you had a brain wave on your way home or whilst tinkering at home discovered that something was in any way connected to the work you do for that company then be prepared for a battle, even though hours of work are set, brain time isn't.

Your new idea, if you created one, could compete with the bank and therefor as a bank employee they should have rights to it....

Many brain waves happen at the least expected times, if on the other hand it was in no way related to the bank, unless they own the computer you were working on or it was connected to their servers, it could be considered theirs...

Do your own work on your own computers, try not to take work home and never do any thing that could be remotely connected to their property unless of course you agree in advance and agree a reward package if you can improve on existing that goes over your work schedule.

Always check with an independent lawyer though, a casual conversation could be counted as a legal verbal agreement in this country..
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  #24  
Old 11.09.2012, 21:30
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Re: 'Intellectual Property' after business hours

That is just ridiculous. Some employers think that they owe you, your life, thoughts, soul just because they pay you a salary.

Of course there is a common sense where one should not produce a product which directly competes with core products of employer but besides that?

I have seen employers which try to stick people into cages and those which embrace ideas, freedom of thoughts and even support people working on their own, mainly open source projects. Not surprisingly the later tend to attract really clever brains and creative tinkers, people also stay longer. Eventually many split off but often continue to cooperate / cross-sell products together with their former employers.

Besides, if you work in a large organization like bank or insurance and come up with some cool idea - good luck trying to find anyone who will listen, let alone get interested in it. Oh, and you will also likely step on someone's foot while trying to propose something. So, please fill in a form 12.1129-82a, send it to to “please don’t bother us” department, note the time used for this in your TPS report and then go back to your cubicle and continue programming those data input screens... You fool.

Non compete agreements are something else which makes more sense then "All of you belongs to us". But I know of at least one case where employer had to keep a person on payroll because their non-compete agreement locked him out of his profession on job market altogether.
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  #25  
Old 12.09.2012, 02:04
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Re: 'Intellectual Property' after business hours

Makes you wonder what these corporate policies do for software devs who contribute in their spare time to open source projects. Good luck claiming against those!
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  #26  
Old 12.09.2012, 06:32
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Re: 'Intellectual Property' after business hours

It general, it's only enforceable if the work you do is based on what you are doing for your current employer and/or developed using their resources. If you are a software developer and you develop a better way of making toast, they can't make a claim for either.
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  #27  
Old 12.09.2012, 09:50
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Re: Intelectual Property after business hours

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Let me guess: Your employer has an anglo-american background.

You may want to make your employer aware of the fact that Art.332 OR (Obligationenrecht, key part of the Swiss Civil Code) deals with exactly this scenario http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/220/a332.html .
It states that
a. Inventions and Designs (I&D) done in fulfilling contractual duties and during work belong to the employer (Art.332 Sec.1)
b. Employer and Employee can agree in writing that I&D done during work but NOT in fulfilling contractual duties should belong to the employer (Art.332 Sec.2).
c. The employer has to decide whether they want to use I&D subject to (b), if they do want to use such I&D the employee is entitled to special remuneration.

For example: In case you are a SW developer and invent a brand-new children's toy (not running any SW) there is simply no reason why your employer should be entitled to this invention (unless you work for Mattell or Toys'R'Us).
Furthermore, trying to 'own' blog entries is today's equivalent to slavery. You may want to ask your employer whether they have ever heard of free speech. There are many corporate policies on the use of social media and most of them are not in line with local laws in Europe.
Thus IMHO you have very good arguments why you could refuse to sign such document.

EDIT: You obviously have to observe confidentiality re your employer's information when writing blogs. But this has nothing to do with the document you are supposed to sign and applies to all employees anyway.
This is true, however Art.332 OR does not exclude a clause in the contract such as the one the OP is asked to sign.

Unfair? Maybe

Illegal? NO
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  #28  
Old 12.09.2012, 09:57
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Re: 'Intellectual Property' after business hours

BTW: Even if this seems unfair to you, one must take a look from the employer's point of view:

Let's say you come up with some great piece of software which you can prove you wrote in the evenings and weekends only. However, what if during working hours all you did was think about and researched for your "private" invention.

The issue of developing the invention with company or private means is not so relevant in software as for example microbiology. Anyone can afford to have a private PC as opposed to a full lab equipment. Thus if someone comes up with a software invention, it is difficult to impossible to prove it was in their working hours as opposed to an invention which obviously required a lab equipment.

And I've seen an even nastier case:
The inventor was employee of a company just until he founded a spin-off and filed for a patent. The company let him pay the fees, prosecute the application, etc. up to grant. Once the patent was granted and validated (in other words all costs paid), the company just obtained all the rights to the patent as the inventor was an employee at the time of the invention was conceived. Nasty but legal.
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  #29  
Old 12.09.2012, 10:39
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Re: 'Intellectual Property' after business hours

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BTW: Even if this seems unfair to you, one must take a look from the employer's point of view:

Let's say you come up with some great piece of software which you can prove you wrote in the evenings and weekends only. However, what if during working hours all you did was think about and researched for your "private" invention.

The issue of developing the invention with company or private means is not so relevant in software as for example microbiology. Anyone can afford to have a private PC as opposed to a full lab equipment. Thus if someone comes up with a software invention, it is difficult to impossible to prove it was in their working hours as opposed to an invention which obviously required a lab equipment.

And I've seen an even nastier case:
The inventor was employee of a company just until he founded a spin-off and filed for a patent. The company let him pay the fees, prosecute the application, etc. up to grant. Once the patent was granted and validated (in other words all costs paid), the company just obtained all the rights to the patent as the inventor was an employee at the time of the invention was conceived. Nasty but legal.
But presumably the employer is happy with the employees work, or there would be issues. So given that the employer is already satisfied with the work produced, what claim do they have? That they didn't realise the employee could have worked harder for the agreed wage?
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  #30  
Old 12.09.2012, 13:41
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Re: 'Intellectual Property' after business hours

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BTW: Even if this seems unfair to you, one must take a look from the employer's point of view:

Let's say you come up with some great piece of software which you can prove you wrote in the evenings and weekends only. However, what if during working hours all you did was think about and researched for your "private" invention.
If employee is doing what is expected of him and his performance is not severely degraded then I see no problem in what he or she thinks. After all it is better if they do something creative and make their brains work then sit on facebook, forums or some web sites like most other "normal and compliant" employees do.

This brings me to a discussion I overheard while having a lunch in the city a while ago, one guy was complaining to another that two of his subordinates fell in love and how he was unhappy about it, not that he saw any issues yet but he had a bad feeling. Another said that "ooooooo, boy, I know that" and they agreed this must be stopped immediately, one of the two has to go (must be fired).
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