Section 2870 of the California Labor Code protects an employee's ownership in personal inventions so long as these inventions are ... developed entirely on his or her own time without using the employer’s equipment, supplies, facilities, or trade secret information ....

How is this provision affected in a work/live arrangement where the employee spends his after-hours (personal time) and nights at the office and wants to continue working on personal projects during that time? Would this constitute "use of employer's facilities and equipment" (rooms and internet connection) and thus invalidate the provision (i.e. any inventions made during that time will become company property) or is such use an understood subletting agreement in which these facilities effectively become the employer's personal space?

If such a living situation would compromise 2870, is there an example for a solid legal addendum that the company and employee can sign to protect the employee's ownership of personal intellectual property?

  • Can you make the living situation more clear? Is one concern that you are essentially living in the employer's facilities and do you have a written lease agreement that can help separate a live location from the work location? One option may be to get explicit written agreement about a specific invention. Jan 23, 2019 at 21:57
  • @GeorgeWhite Unfortunately, a written lease is not an option since the employer is renting the place from a landlord that does not allow subletting. Basically, the office is a large two-bedroom apartment that is meant as a work/live space, and the employee gets to spend weeknights in one of the bedrooms to save him several hours of commute every day. During the day, the bedroom is used as a conference room by the employer and the employee needs to clear out all his belongings into the closet.
    – Markus A.
    Jan 24, 2019 at 7:16


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