I am starting my first full-time job. It is a software job in the UK, I am a citizen of a different EU country.

The contract I am about to sign seems very demanding about the rights to intellectual property. I would like to contribute to open source projects and write a blog (unrelated to the company's business) or take photos of nature on trips in my free time but at first look at the contract (below), it seems that everything I do will belong to the Company.

Do I understand it correctly? Is this standard and I should just sign it, or should I ask to have the sentence "relevant to the Company's business" included in the first two paragraphs? (This sentence is from the third paragraph which, however, seems to be concerned only with "inventions".)

The laws mentioned in the contract are

Copyright, Inventions and Patents

All records, documents, papers (including copies and summaries thereof) and other copyright protected works made or acquired by you in the course of your employment shall, together with all the worldwide copyright and design rights in all such works, be and at all times remain the absolute property of the Company.

You hereby irrevocably and unconditionally waive all rights granted by Chapter 1V or Part 1 of the Copyrights, Designs and Patents Act 1988 that vest in you (whether before, on or after the date thereof) in connection with your authorship of any copyright works in the course of your employment with the Company, wherever in the world enforceable, including without limitation the right to be identified as the author of any such works and the right not to have any such works subjected to derogatory treatment.

You and the Company acknowledge the provisions of Sections 39 to 42 of the Patents Act 1977 ("the Act") relating to the ownership of employees' inventions and the compensations of employees for certain inventions respectively. If, during the course of your Employment, you make any inventions relevant to the Company's business that do not belong to the Company under the Act, you agree that, if required, you will forthwith license or assign (as determined by the Company) to the Company all documents and other materials relating to them. The Company will pay you to such compensation for the license or assignment as the Company will determine in its absolute discretion, subject to Section 40 of the Act.

2 Answers 2


Basically, "in the course of your employment" means "while you are working, or should be working, for the employer". If you're not using company resources or time to create or acquire the works in question, and the works are unrelated to company business, they're quite unlikely to become the company's property. (Particularly since the company almost certainly doesn't have an interest in controlling the distribution of your vacation photos.)

When you let your personal side projects and the company's stuff get intertwined, that's where the troubles begin. Works made on company time, or using company resources, or to do company-related things, may be claimed by the company, and this agreement basically says you'll cede ownership of the works to them, patents and all, for whatever amount of money they decide it's worth paying you.


There's already a sentence as such: "works made or acquired by you in the course of your employment". If you're not making it on the clock, it's not in the course of your employment. Ergo, you retain the rights, as far as I understand it.

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