[opensource] Intellectual property concerns

Adam Porr porr.4 at osu.edu
Sat Mar 18 13:24:11 EST 2006

Hi all

I'm possibly going to have to make a decision soon whether or not to
accept an offer of employment from Battelle, where I've been interning
for the past couple years. To accept the offer means that I'll have to
sign an employment agreement that essentially says that any
intellectual property I produce related to the "current or potential
business interests" of Battelle will become their property. The
problem with this is that the scope of their business is such that
practically everything imaginable is covered. They, so far, have been
resistant to compromise with regard to open source projects...

In your experience have you found that these agreements generally
apply only to IP that is substantially related to the work that you do
for your employer or is it more general? Have you found companies who
are willing to make exceptions for open source?

Perhaps this is better phrased in the form of a short survey:

1. Does your employer require you to sign an intellectual property agreement?

2. Is the scope of the agreement limited to IP related to the type of
work you do for the company?

3. Does your agreement have, or were you able to negotiate, an
exemption for open source projects?

4. Are you able to notify your employer beforehand of projects that
you are interested in pursuing in order to get their permission?

5. If you don't mind sharing, I'd love to know where you work.

I figured that this group would be a good place to ask for advice, and
I would greatly appreciate any that you can give me!


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