Below is an excerpt from an employment-at-will agreement that a well-known, >$5B market cap public engineering company makes its employees sign (emphases mine):
WHEREAS, INVENTIONS include only those conceived or made by the EMPLOYEE solely or jointly with others during or outside working hours within the term of the EMPLOYEE’S employment by the EMPLOYER…
1. What the fuck? This company must have a HUGE wheelbarrow they use to carry their cojones around in. It is entirely unreasonable to suggest every conceivable, commercializable thought that runs throgh your brain belongs to the employer. In the end, I’m certain this is not enforceable – but who the hell wants to pay to litigate it?
2. Notice that the ‘jointly’ language doesn’t say anything about ‘co-workers’ – it’s anybody. If this employee is kickin’ around ideas about widgets with his sister-in-law over Sunday dinner? Blammo. Chatting with random buds before the movie starts? Blammo. Walks into a meeting of entrpreneurs and suggests great improvements to some random dude’s product? Blammo. In-fucking-sane.
3. Shame on any employee for signing something like this. Ya gotta read these things, folks. DO NOT agree to moronic language like this!