What are the legal implications of developing a software company in one's spare time? | LawHive - Solicitors & Lawyers Online
What are the legal implications of developing a software company in one's spare time?
My employer states in my contract that I need to disclose in writing any conflict of interest with an organisation, business etc. Then they say that in case of conflict they may require that I end or limit my engagement with that company. Then in the IP section, they say when you create an IP during the course of your employment they own the IP. What happens if in my free time, at my own place, with my own equipment and my own expenses, I develop a software company that I want to launch on the side. Since software is IP, would that fall under “the course of my employment” and therefore they might demand to tale the IP? I am not hired in the company to develop software but to do something unrelated. What’s your suggestion here? If I am to work on my idea, I don’t want to disclose the idea and certainly I don’t want to work on it if it means I will lose the IP. But it sounds cruel to own my time outside working hours. What’s the legal way I could check if I am allowed to work in my spare time on my own business without my employer demanding anything? Is there a law that protects employees?

Henry Coleman

19th October 2021

2 upvotes

Top Answer
We get asked this question about twelve times a week... > What happens if in my free time, at my own place, with my own equipment and my own expenses, I develop a software company that I want to launch on the side. Since software is IP, would that fall under “the course of my employment” and therefore they might demand to tale the IP? I am not hired in the company to develop software but to do something unrelated. Then they won't care. It's not in the course of your employment if you're doing it all on your own at home in a totally unrelated field with no connection to your employer.

Helen Green

11th February 2022

+3

6 upvotes

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