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I recently clicked on an advertisement on StackOverflow about a job as a professional front end designer because I was interested.

I passed through the first stage of the application which was an online quiz to test my knowledge about front end programming plus some questions for personality test.

The day after, I got an email from the company saying that I have been invited to a solve a problem on Hackerrank as part of the application process so that they can assess my coding design.

The challenge was about creating a well-coded interview manager. (almost like a complete application). It was a 8 hours challenge. I did it.

After that, I haven't heard anything from the company anymore. Did they just steal my code? Made me work for 8 hours for free and ran away? Can I sue them for stealing my intellectual property?

  • "Stealing intellectual property" isn't really a legal concept. Usually, when people talk about this, they are referring to something like copyright infringement. Do you have evidence that the company copied the code (in a way that violates the jurisdiction's "fair use" laws, if any)? Did you suffer financial loss because of the copying (e.g. loss of sales)? Did you register your copyright? – Nate Eldredge Jul 24 '17 at 22:47
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Nobody knows what the company's intentions were, and the question about what they did is off-topic here. Perhaps Workplace.SE could say whether it is more likely that some competitor did a better job or that the company decided to take advantage of you.

But assuming it was a deliberate decision to stiff you: the company did nothing illegal. They suggested that you solve a problem, in exchange for which you would be considered for the next stage of the interview. You accepted, and made no stipulation about payment or intellectual property. The company decided that you were not good enough to go further, and may or may not make use of your work. Such things happen every day.

Of course, if you can prove that there was no job or that you were never seriously considered, it might be possible that the company committed fraud. I am not sure how such proof would be possible even theoretically; in practice you would be wasting further time and throwing good money after bad.

  • "and made no stipulation about payment or intellectual property" by default in most situations, IP is assumed. The question is whether OP retains their IP. – PyRulez Jul 24 '17 at 12:58
  • @PyRulez: if you are suggesting that a worker who submits a solution to an employer but says nothing about intellectual property can legally prevent the employer using that solution, I find it hard to believe you are serious. – Tim Lymington Jul 24 '17 at 18:32
  • when you create a creative work, you automatically own the IP. The employer can not use that work unless job applications somehow transfer the IP or grant them a license. – PyRulez Jul 24 '17 at 18:34
  • You are still ignoring my point; the company hired OP to find a solution for them, and he accepted the terms. He cannot now claim the solution back without their consent. – Tim Lymington Jul 24 '17 at 22:42
  • uhm, I don't think they did, according to the post. That's why the OP isn't happy. – PyRulez Jul 25 '17 at 2:23

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