Re: Taking credit

Subject: Re: Taking credit
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 12:58:01 -0500

lynchdl -at- comcast -dot- net wrote:

Actually, I have worked for two companies that prohibited me from using anything I produced, using the proprietary claim. I didn't realize that was the case and had been sending electronic copies home every time I created documentation sets. I never quite understood how they could say that because the products and the manuals were sold to customers and in use.

They can claim that customer have signed nondisclosure agreements that cover their employees and, in theory, prevent their employees from disclosing the content of your documentation to your competitors. In the real world such agreements don't actually prevent leakage, but in sufficiently egregious cases they can form the basis of damage awards.

I asked why that was and my employers never could give me an answer other than "because we said so." If others have run across this, perhaps someone could give me an explanation.

The explanation is "because you signed the nondisclosure agreement they stuck in front of you when they hired you." That's the only reason they need.

I never used the samples I took until both companies went belly up.

Companies that go bankrupt have creditors. Creditors are rather jealous about the theft of the debtor company's assets by former employees. Unless you can argue successfully that the documentation is no longer a valuable asset, you shouldn't be admitting this in public.

In any case, I've run into these NDAs more than once. In the first instance, I didn't know any better. I signed it as is. When I left the company I tried to negotiate for permission to use munged sample pages (all numbers changed, all product names changed, etc., etc.). No dice. In the second case, I negotiated an exemption for portfolio samples. I wrote the clause and the company accepted the change. When I left, I had a clear conscience about using a variety of items in my portfolio, with confidential information removed.


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Re: Taking credit: From: lynchdl

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