How to Ensure Your Day Job Doesn’t Own Your Startup

Original post by  via 21times

There’s a hint of legend about the way that Apple was founded: Steve Wozniak was working at Hewlett-Packard when he and Steve Jobs came up with the idea to sell fully assembled printed circuit boards. The Woz took the idea to his managers at Hewlett-Packard and they turned him down. The rest, as they say, is history.

But what if Hewlett-Packard hadn’t turned down the concept that became the Apple computer? Wozniak probably had a contract outlining the terms of his employment. I can’t say for sure whether it included a clause that the company owned the rights to any intellectual property that its employees developed during their term of employment — but if that contract were written today, it certainly would.

If you’re employed while you’re working on a project on the side — whether it’s a full-fledged startup or something smaller — you need to make sure that your employer doesn’t actually wind up owning what you build.