Is it Ethical for a Hackathon Organizer to take all the Intellectual Property (IP) Rights of the winning idea?

upendramanve profile image upendramanve ・1 min read


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As mentioned by Nathan, as long as you understand that you had knowledge that your IP will be transferred when you join the hackathon.

It is not unethical to do it plus the idea is only useful.

When it has been executed to form it as part of a patent submission or you build a startup out of it.


I recently submitted my idea to an upcoming hackathon on an opensource technology, but now I am getting second thoughts after reading their terms which states that. "The participant(s) reiterates that the Intellectual Property (IP) subsisting in, generated from, or resulting from the ‘Winning Idea(s)’ and all rights in connection with the Intellectual Property created will stand transferred or assigned in favor of [Organiser Company] for further commercial or non-commercial use."
I mean is it even right? what do you suggest?


I believe it is Ethical as long as the participant is made fully aware of the transfer of Intellectual Property before they submit there work or idea. Although is not vary nice and does not seem fair. I know it's perfectly legal in the UK and US. it also seems to very commonly for competitions.


Here is why I decided to back out:
" During the term of the hackathon, [Organizer company] will have an exclusive first-look right over all idea submissions other than ‘Winning Idea’ i.e., the Hackathon Organizer will consider all submissions for a potential acquisition with an intent to exploit the idea in perpetuity, in accordance with the terms and conditions hereof. Such a ‘first-look right’ will be available to the Hackathon Organizer for a period of 30 (thirty) days from date of announcement of the reward for the ‘Winning Idea(s)’.

Further, the participant(s) hereby agree that the idea(s) will not be submitted to any third party during such a review period unless and until [Organiser Company] has expressly declined to exploit the said rights. In the event that the Hackathon Organizer does not respond to the participant within the said 30 (thirty) day period, participants may choose to submit the same to any third party."

I would too, to be honest. I believe participants probably should have been made to read this information before submitting. I consider it unethical to hide this in the terms and conditions and other small print.

It a tricky way of getting our work & idea . Good business

I would agree. but Good business is Good business.