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Discussion on: How I Made 30000€ In 3️⃣ Months By Quitting My Job 👨‍💻

zakwillis profile image

Hi, good story.

Whilst I can't put a legal perspective across, being UK based. My understanding is unless you stole the exact source code, you wouldn't be liable. Even if you did "borrow" certain elements of source code, if the end product was different I don't know what they could do. There are some very obvious reasons why this is true. I am not a lawyer so don't take this legally.

First, you cannot patent an idea. Indeed, patenting software is more to do with devices. Sure, patent wars are ongoing with mobile providers but that proves the point in case.

You can protect intellectual property, but if another company came up with exactly the same business model and almost identical looking software, I still don't know how much you can do about it. Why can't Microsoft get rid of Open Office? I am not saying they have tried, but open source developers can get found.

You can protect branding and content through copyright/trademarking.

It could be your employment contract restricts you undertaking/creating similar products, but this is something all employees should review before signing any contract. You have to protect yourself. The chances are, as you build domain knowledge, you may end up working in similar companies. Why let yourself get denied that opportunity?

Often, your style of coding is enough to cause a seeming clash with other code bases you may have worked on. I am almost convinced I will have written the exact same framework code for different clients. Think in terms of an infinite amount of monkeys writing Shakespeare.

Sometimes, often, for framework type stuff, I will give my code to employers. It just saves time. This in itself could appear that you have code which your employer has.

Finally, it happens to be, that in many industries, many companies are all solving the same problem at the same time. In finance, many banks are having to adopt regulation at the same time. So there becomes quite a high chance, companies could have similar code without ever having exchanged ideas.

Normally, my clients has strong restrictions on data for compliance purposes. This doesn't mean, that sometimes, I won't work on technical ideas at home, write code and then give it to my client. When deadlines are tight, I have done this. Never use their data, but simply creating a plugin, like a data adaptor.

None of the above doesn't mean an employer won't try to sue you, or some ambulance chasing lawyer won't take the case on.

I think the points people made about being careful, are very wise. It is unfortunate so many people have to restrict themselves so much just to get work.