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employment contract = uncompensated work

  • Thread starter Arthur Thompson
  • Start date

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Arthur Thompson

From: Arthur Thompson Email: [email protected]
Subject: Employment Contract = Uncompensated Work?

Several months ago, I voluntarily left a job as a research scientist for a large corporation to start a consulting business. The business is starting to go well - in fact I am quite busy. In my employment contract with my former employer, to enable them to protect their legal rights to my inventions and developments, I agreed to: "execute all appropriate papers or documents and otherwise provide proper assistance . . ." This clause is explicitly stated to survive termination for any reason.

I expected to have to sign documents, etc. connected to my patentable work and so forth. But now, they have sent me a 100-page-plus patent application, written in the turgid prose of patents everywhere, containing the work of no less than six other people. I have never seen this application before, and am not even familiar with all the work it contains.

For me to execute the accompanying documents in good faith, I would have to spend many hours reading and checking the entire application. My former employer has stated that they won't pay me a dime for this effort. I can ill afford to devote time to this right now, but they claim a short "bar date" and allow me less than a month to complete the work.

Am I obligated to do this for free? At what point does "proper assistance" become too much to ask of a former employee without compensation? Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. My practice is on a shoestring at this point, and I would at least like to get an idea of where I stand before paying to consult an attorney.


ex hr guy

From: ex hr guy Email:
Subject: RE: Employment Contract = Uncompensated Work?

Keeping your ex-employer's goodwill is probably worth a few hours of your time, even though it is sort of unreasonable for them to ask.

Three choices.
1 Stop bellyaching and do it graciously.
2. Ask them why you got it as you never did any of the work involved and aren't in a position to sign anything.
3. Get into a snit, say NO and if they *****, get a lawyer involved.

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