Recreate idea from previous client Recreate idea from previous client - Page 2
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  1. #11

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    Look at your contract you were operating under and get legal advice if you are concerned.

    Most contractors reproduce work or pieces of work they carried out for clients. If you had to come up with a new creative way to solve a problem/create a program/implement software every time you did it that would be really annoying.

    Of course that's my unprofessional advice and as always look at your contract and if you don't understand the implications of it get professional advice.

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance View Post
    That's not relevant. Will it harm their revenue/profitability?
    It's relevant in other ways - what's best for the OP's limited company is to develop it on the quiet and reuse it at any new clients that would benefit from it. Why should I as a client recruit them when I can simply get some low-level grunt to download their source code and do it for less?
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  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by andy952 View Post
    This is my concern, because I developed pretty much all of it whilst I was there, when I do come to re-coding this, it will most likely be indistinguishable. There is no way to prove that I didn't steal code IMO
    You don't have to steal the code to get in trouble.

    If you have a fairly standard contract, then the IP behind the work you did for the client is owned by the client. If you then recreate that, then the client could claim it is still their IP and you're effectively stealing (or giving away) that.

    If the IP is generic and can be applied across industries, then you might be ok But, if this IP could, for example, be used by a competitor to improve their business, then I can imagine they'd not be happy.

    I guess this is down to your appetite for risk.

  4. #14

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    It's a very complex situation that relies heavily on the exact details of the situation. IMO your question is far too vague and generic to even begin to formulate an answer.

    It might, it might not. Depends .... is about as good as it gets.

    My only thoughts on it are, if you used the clients time, resources, requirements and ideas to work on this then yes, you are taking something of theirs to enable your product so you are likely to be in trouble. For example, you created this from their requirements. You could argue they provided consultation on the requirements of your product to enable you to take it away and create it. If a competitor then bought/used this they've saved on the requirements which your client supplied. Definitely a problem.

    Very broad brush way of thinking about it but with so little detail that's what I'd be thinking.
    Last edited by northernladuk; 13th July 2020 at 15:30.
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  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paralytic View Post
    If the IP is generic and can be applied across industries, then you might be ok But, if this IP could, for example, be used by a competitor to improve their business, then I can imagine they'd not be happy.
    100% this framework could be used across every single industry. It is in no way related to the companies core business. The only way it could be used by a competitor to improve the business is just through the speed of development. That is all. It is just a framework that allows you to create API microservices in ~10 minutes instead of possibly a couple of days - a week.

    I completely get that this is a gray area and complex, just wanted a few opinions on the matter before I actually started to create (if I decide to in the end). Thanks to everyone so far!

  6. #16

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    It is my unprofessional understanding that code is really hard to protect from an IP perspective. An ex client is much more likely to try and attack you on non compete or sharing trade secrets or something. The idea that they are going to sue you for distributing their software IP that you created just seems unlikely when you are just writing a bunch of new code based off some things you learned while you worked there. Especially if it is not something they are selling or part of their USP.

    Anyway the way this goes in reality when you are distributing something for free, is they threaten you first and issue a cease and desist letter as long as you comply you're generally fine but who knows again get professional advice if you're really concerned.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by andy952 View Post
    100% this framework could be used across every single industry. It is in no way related to the companies core business. The only way it could be used by a competitor to improve the business is just through the speed of development. That is all. It is just a framework that allows you to create API microservices in ~10 minutes instead of possibly a couple of days - a week.

    I completely get that this is a gray area and complex, just wanted a few opinions on the matter before I actually started to create (if I decide to in the end). Thanks to everyone so far!
    I'm struggling to understand the motivation here, you're cannibalising your own selling point by releasing a open source library. What's the monetization angle, support services as a bolt on?

    Why not just keep it to yourself and use the library you've developed to make future contracts a doddle.

    If it's feasible to make a business round your "solution", I'd 100% do it. But legal/moral quandaries like this for open source fame?

  8. #18

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    This can get nasty and very awkward to navigate through. Have a look at SAS Institute v World Programming.

    A tiny British company v a huge US one. The Brits keep winning in the UK and EU but the US company keeps going until find a court they can win in etc.
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  9. #19

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    Semantics is everything. If you're wanting to 'recreate idea from previous client' you are tenatively acknowledging you are copying, in whole or in part, something you did for another client and was remunerated for.

    It comes down to one's risk aversion. If you think the client will not find out or if they did, take no action or, you could successfully argue there was no 'recreation,' then crack on.

    Personally, I think in the circumstances you need that contract legally reviewed to see what you propose does not leave you open to any legal claim.

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