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Intellectual Property

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I recently voluntarily terminated my employment at a large communications company. While employed there I came up with an idea on my own to improve a certain process. I presented this idea several times to my superiors and they brushed it off. By accident I discovered another company uses a variation of my idea although I thought of this idea before they did. Now I want to do some consulting for a design firm and for a direct competitor to my former employer and use my idea. Is my idea considered the intellectual property of my former employer? Is an idea alone considered intellectual property? If another company is using this idea is it considered public domain? Hope you can help. Thanks.


Senior Member
Difficult set of questions. Did you have any formal or informal agreement with the old employer about inventions? Or any agreement about confidentiality? If not, most people assume the idea is yours to use.

This is intended as general information only and NOT LEGAL ADVICE. You are not my client, and I have no obligation of any kind to you. To retain a lawyer, go to http://AttorneyPages.com


I had to sign a standard non-disclosure form as part of my former employer's employee handbook. How do you think I should proceed? I definitely want to air on the side of caution.

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