When tilly left us, he left behind a caution that your employer may own your "open source" code. While I realize this is a significantly off topic follow-up, I thought that fellow monks may also wish to be aware that your employer may also own your thoughts.
In the above story, the grammar is awkward so it's a bit difficult to follow the timeline, but it appears that a gentleman had an idea in 1975¹ and mentioned it to his employer about 1996. His employer claimed rights to the idea and fired the employee when he wouldn't share the details. Regrettably the courts have agreed with the employer, stating that the employee does not own his ideas. Perhaps the employee shouldn't have mentioned this idea because for him, free speech has become very expensive.
My employer, fortunately, has been very clear that any ideas that I develop on my own time that are not directly related to my work are my own, but we're not all that lucky. What about you? Have you read your employment contract recently?
1. Reading the gentleman's Web site reveals that this is the correct interpretation of the article.
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