If I have developed an application on my own time and using my own resources, and that application could be highly valuable in performing my job, can I use it to get my work done without endangering my rights to my own intellectual property?

For example, say I have developed software that allows me to mark up PDF documents with great ease. This was done on my own time, using my own tools and equipment. If part of my job changes and I actually need to mark up PDFs for work, and I use my own custom tool to do it, am I opening the door to my employer having any rights to my software? Could they say that since I am using it for work, they have some claim to it?


  • Please indicate what state you work in – mark b Jun 14 '19 at 16:29

You would have to look at your contract with the company or the company's rules. Some companies have clauses that say they own things you develop while working for them and some don't.

Without knowing your specific company's policy, it is impossible to say.

  • It depends on the state. For instance California has a law the specifically overrides these contracts and does not give the company the rights to any product developed offsite and without the use of company resources. Whereas an employee lost this type of lawsuit in Texas. – mark b Jun 14 '19 at 16:29

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