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INTRO Slowlaner making the shift to the Fastlane, but first... Intellectual Property Rights & Employment Contracts...

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Juke

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 23, 2019
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Hi Fastlane forum,

I've just joined the forum after recently discovering MJ's books and reading them back to back. I feel like my eyes have been opened to a world my heart has been trying to tell me about for years. I'm excited (and scared) to make a change now. Having read the books I can honestly say I have been well and truly sucked in by the slow lane script! That said, I have always hated it. I have been racking my brains for an alternative for years but never been able to put my finger on it until I read MJ's books. It all makes sense now! Thanks so much for opening my eyes with 2 amazing books MJ!

I currently work as a sales rep for a software company in the UK, mostly working from home or traveling overseas. I'm 31 years old and have been in the same industry for 8 years. I’ve had plenty of success, earning decent money (much more than a lot of my peers), however, despite this, I have been finding it more and more difficult to find the motivation to continue recently. I am a more than capable salesperson, but without that hunger and motivation, my results have taken a hit lately as I look for alternatives. The deep-down realisation of the slow lane has killed the motivation and fire I used to have, but fortunately, the Fastlane/Unscripted option has re-lit my fire and poured petrol on it!

I have never ran a company before but I do have an idea for a business that I believe fits the CENTS criteria and I’m inspired to get started. However, before taking any drastic action I'd like to share my situation with the forum. I am not asking for life advice from strangers, nevertheless, I would really appreciate any insight from anyone that may have experience in this specific area.

I have discussed this idea with a close friend of mine who works in a similar industry and has the technical ability to help build the product and we are currently in the very early stages of discussing going into partnership.

Without going into too much detail on the idea, the business would essentially be taking a similar product to market to the one I currently sell for my employer, however with some key improvements and aimed at small-medium sized businesses (rather than large corporates that my employer primarily focuses on serving). It is very likely that I would like to use my current employer as a supplier for my new business (although not mandatory).

So, I was thinking about getting started on a prototype in my spare time before quitting my job and going all-in (although I could do this and live off savings for approx. 12 months while getting the business setup), when I thought, let's just check my employment contract first to make sure this is all legal. I'm not a legal professional, however, after reading the contract it seems my employer basically owns me and my ideas! It mentions not being able to work for another company or get involved in business outside of my job role without their consent. It also says that any intellectual property rights (e.g. business ideas and products created by me) that are in any way related to their business belong to them.

Now, my business idea has actually been tried twice by my employer before (half-heartedly), once with a partner which generated decent revenue but they decided to end and migrate the customers directly (the partner didn’t have control) and once on their own which flopped before it even got launched due to internal politics (it's a large multi-national corporate). I don't believe this is currently a priority for them so I don't think they would take issue in me starting the business from a competition perspective (if I use them as a supplier and they benefit from it). That said, they are clearly not going to want me starting my own business while being a sales rep for them as the job takes a lot of time and effort. The side business would be a huge distraction from my day to day job and vice versa.

Without asking for legal or life advice, I'd be intrigued to hear if anyone else has experience with this scenario and what they did about it. Or if anyone has any comments/questions that highlight something I haven't thought about, that would also be hugely appreciated of course.

Looking forward to getting stuck in on the forum and contributing as much as possible!

Many thanks,

Juke
 

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Last edited:

Kid

Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
Mar 1, 2016
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When doing "same thing as my employer" i would be cautious.

It would be best if you would go through your contract with actual lawyer.

As a start your old employer might do nothing, but as soon as they'll see you succeed then they probably would take it to court.

If lawyer would say you can't that idea, you might try to get your old employer as a business partner - doing things officially. At least that would be last option you could try.

my employer basically owns me and my ideas! It mentions not being able to work for another company or get involved in business outside of my job role without their consent. It also says that any intellectual property rights (e.g. business ideas and products created by me) that are in any way related to their business belong to them.
That's the law in most countries.
 

Kruiser

Silver Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
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Check with counsel. Just because a contract says something doesn't mean a court would enforce it. Attorneys put stuff in employment related docs all the time that they know aren't enforceable.
 
OP
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Juke

Juke

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 23, 2019
12
11
17
United Kingdom
When doing "same thing as my employer" i would be cautious.

It would be best if you would go through your contract with actual lawyer.

As a start your old employer might do nothing, but as soon as they'll see you succeed then they probably would take it to court.

If lawyer would say you can't that idea, you might try to get your old employer as a business partner - doing things officially. At least that would be last option you could try.


That's the law in most countries.
Thanks for your reply, much appreciated. I think I will need to check with a lawyer and weigh up my options.
 
OP
OP
Juke

Juke

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 23, 2019
12
11
17
United Kingdom
Check with counsel. Just because a contract says something doesn't mean a court would enforce it. Attorneys put stuff in employment related docs all the time that they know aren't enforceable.
Thanks, good point! I will definitely check with a lawyer before making anything official. That is if I decide to do this while employed. I may just quit my job and then start the business officially to avoid this issue and enable me to spend more time on it.

Many thanks
 

Kruiser

Silver Contributor
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I may just quit my job and then start the business officially to avoid this issue and enable me to spend more time on it.

Many thanks
Depending on the facts and law, quitting your job may not be enough. If you are starting something close to what your former employer was doing and you have a contract that says they own any IP you come up with while working for them... you really need to check with an attorney.
 
OP
OP
Juke

Juke

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 23, 2019
12
11
17
United Kingdom
[/QUOTE]
Check with counsel. Just because a contract says something doesn't mean a court would enforce it. Attorneys put stuff in employment related docs all the time that they know aren't enforceable.
Depending on the facts and law, quitting your job may not be enough. If you are starting something close to what your former employer was doing and you have a contract that says they own any IP you come up with while working for them... you really need to check with an attorney.
Yes fair point, I will definitely check that out thanks.

This slowlane/scripted life really does make an effort to cling on to you!
 
OP
OP
Juke

Juke

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 23, 2019
12
11
17
United Kingdom
Update on the above.

So, I went to see an employment law solicitor today and it looks like I am ok to go ahead and start building a prototype while still working for my current employer.

It turns out there are quite a few restrictions in my contract but they are all vague and limited to either the time I'm working for them or for the 12 months afterwards. In which time I will not be causing them any harm or loss of earnings.

In short, I think it's unlikely they would bother to take me to court and if they did then it's unlikely a judge would side with them (the courts don't like to stop people earning a living apparently i.e little old me and my startup vs huge multi-national PLC). Worst case scenario, I may have to pay my current employer damages for loss of income but this would only be restricted for the first 12 months of the business in which time it is very unlikely we are going to be taking their clients.

So it's full steam ahead. I have a meeting tomorrow with my business partner to start drafting the prototype!

Thanks again for the advice from those people above, I will keep you all posted on my progress.
 

standrews00

New Contributor
Sep 25, 2019
13
12
14
Welcome @Juke ! When I worked in the UK the rights to any IP in my head was the employer's IP. When I decided to quit and create my own effort (to sell a product in the same space, it was barely a product adjacency), I went to the CEO and chairmen, and got their blessing before moving forward.

Best of luck with the prototype! Let me know if I can help in any way! - Sean
 
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OP
Juke

Juke

New Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Oct 23, 2019
12
11
17
United Kingdom
Thanks @standrews00 that’s much appreciated.

The solicitor I spoke with seemed to think because I’m not creating IP in my current role I shouldn’t have a problem with this.

I will also get their blessing but I think it will be easier to have that conversation after I leave the company to avoid any legal issues or conflicts of interest while working for them.

It’s early days yet though. My focus now is to build the prototype and I will cross this bridge when I get to it I guess.

Cheers!
 

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