in reply to (OT) Professional Employees: who owns your thoughts?
When I began work for the company that employs me, we had a very liberal policy. Since the shop was mainly composed of tinkerers and engineers, we didn't want our homebrew Tivo style toys and anything else we cooked up, including programs on our own private sites, to be company property. If you were working, you were working. If you were at home, you were at home.
However, we were later purchased, and things changed.
The parent company attempted to make claims on works I'd done on my own time. I balked. I declined to sign their employment contract, which stipulated any ideas I'd come up with, devices I made, or code I wrote, on my time or theirs, belonged to them. However, they continue to pay me, contract or no, and I continue to show up at 9am every day, and my key still works in the lock.
Will your employers allow you to call their bluff? Only one real way to find out.