I live in the US, and have been developing an add-on suite (at work) for a large CAD software suite we use (developed by, I believe, a US based company). It is, or has elements that, I feel are pretty valuable.

What I really want to do is to re-develop it in my off time (one to make it better, my current version is rather hack-ish, and two, I know I cannot legally remove the actual data files from my company) and sell it in some form or another. Is there any specific legal reason I could not do this?

The CAD suite this addon is for is designed with macros and addons in mind. Would this maybe be specific to the developer?

  • "Is there any specific legal reason I could not do this?" - Your employment contract almost certainly says you cannot do this. – Brandin Apr 24 '18 at 10:06

If you or other engineers developed any of portion of the application while on the job, at your company's location, or on their hardware then it's possible for the entire application to be considered their sole property in a court of law.

Addons to other applications or platforms can be sold by you assuming that you are not using code from the original application and are not in any way hacking the original app. Facebook, iphone, and android are all examples of software suites that you can build addon applications for and have full ownership to those applications.

  • You managed to answer the question I was trying (and apparently failing) to ask, Thank you! I do certainly have larger questions on IP (regarding this concept, and in general) but will likely bring those up in a separate question if I cannot find anything on them. – Nick Apr 24 '18 at 10:44

Any IP you produce as an employee belongs to your employer - you can’t commercialise it because it isn’t yours.

  • I understand that, and while I would like to find a way around that, this particular question pertains to the idea of selling an addin for software sold by a large company. – Nick Apr 23 '18 at 12:52
  • @Nick you are not only not allowed to steal the files from your employer- you can’t take the ideas you got from developing what you did for them. – Dale M Apr 23 '18 at 20:58
  • You should state this "current case law supports the idea that IP produced while under an employer belongs to the employer" -- to state things as FACT in US Law, doesn't make them binding until the case is heard, since the IP could have nothing to do whatsoever with the business of the employer. – Mark Rosenblitt-Janssen Apr 23 '18 at 22:35
  • @MarkRosenblitt-Janssen Did you read the OP? This is clearly used in the employers business on the facts as stated. Yes, this is not tested evidence but this is a Q&A site, not a courtroom- if the OP states it we can accept it as true. – Dale M Apr 23 '18 at 23:27

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