The company I am working for this summer is going to be hosting an hackathon for its summer interns. Out of idle curiosity, I asked about the IP rights for any resulting projects, and got the (not entirely surprising) response that the company would own any resulting projects.

That got me thinking, though- is this legal? It's a company event for employees, yes, but it's taking place outside work hours with no compensation (aside from food and a few prizes), and projects may be totally unrelated to any existing IP owned by the company. Of course, it's entirely possible that there was some clause in the new hire paperwork about this, but outside of that, would this hold up in court?

  • I think this would depend entirely on the jurisdiction and the agreements they had signed. Its most likely legal and sucks.
    – davidgo
    Jun 9 '16 at 2:06
  • You say there is no compensation. Is the event mandatory?
    – mikeazo
    Jun 9 '16 at 12:27
  • What jurisdiction? Will the additional hours mean any total compensation for the internship averages to less than any statutory minimum wage?
    – user662852
    Jun 9 '16 at 12:51

"The company you are working for ..." Stop. We're done. An employer owns the IP created by an employee in the course of their employment: the hackathon is in the course of your employment.

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