WHO OWNS WHAT IS IN YOUR HEAD? by Stanley Lieberstein


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Although seemingly aimed at individuals, this is more a manual for employers on protecting themselves from their employees. An employer who pays someone ""to do something, work on a project, perform a task, or accomplish a stated objective,"" explains attorney Stanley Lieberstein, owns whatever results from the employee's efforts; but if an employee invents something on company time that's outside the scope of his job, the employer can merely claim non-exclusive use of the invention, albeit royalty-free. Lieberstein cites numerous legal cases, beginning in 1868 when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in favor of a manufacturer suing an ex-employee for using his gunny cloth production process, to a recent case (settled privately) involving the University of Florida professor who invented Gatorade while on a government grant, leading all parties to claim ownership; and he urges employers to cover inventions and other ideas in employment contracts. But Lieberstein is mainly concerned with leakage of confidential information--trade secrets--and since ""the employee stands at the critical pivotal point between confidentiality and disclosure,"" security systems revolve around him. Lieberstein suggests confidentiality agreements (samples provided), monitored use of copying machines, paper shredders, closed-circuit TV, and exit-interviews (to learn what secrets the departing employee knows, and to decide if you should sue so data won't be transmitted to a competitor). A primer on corporate confrontation and paranoia.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Hawthorn