I was reading this thread -
If I'm working at a company, do they have intellectual property rights to the stuff I do in my spare time?
It has some great answers to a question I felt personally last year. I was working full time for a company here in the San Francisco Bay Area and was fired after creating an iPhone app on my time, with my own equipment, etc...
I do believe the iPhone app I implemented on my own is legal and doesn't compete with my previous employer or otherwise "actually constitute a material and substantial disruption of my previous employer's operation".
I did sign a "Proprietary Invention Assignment" contract, but it pretty much had the standard wording found in California law.
Since I'm in California, I am convinced there's a strong chance I would win if it ever got to court. But since everything in law seems to be open to interpretation by a given judge or jury and a court battle would probably be painful and expensive, I would prefer to avoid it.
With that in mind, how long would my previous employer have to sue me, claiming intellectual property rights on the iPhone app I wrote?
Alternatively, how long would I have to sue my previous employer for lost wages and benefits and force them to reinstate me in my job?
I have deployed the app and my employer has not sued me so far - but there are additional features I would like to implement. I want to make sure I'll be safe before proceeding and 'waking the sleeping tiger'. My thinking is that as soon as I implement more features - my previous employer could claim some are related to its business somehow and come after my profits.
I know it sounds a bit paranoid, but once you receive horrible threatening letters from your employers lawyers forcing you to hand over code you've worked on for months, you think differently.
I heard different numbers from two different IP lawyers - one said 6 months and one said two years - I wanted to check if anyone had any better experience with this time frame.