Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Key Talking points 1

Hey guys,

While the real estate case is still on, here is something different from the GDs. I am trying to do a format that I think takes less time and also increases the knowledge base of people. Just trying this since we have learnt a lot about discussions already. We will be having GDs too in between. Please send me your comments on this format so that I know if I have to continue this or get back to the 'GDs only' format

I will put up a small cases or write ups on something and ask specific questions. The group only has to answer each of these questions. Since it is not a GD, no opinions or stands necessary. I may put in two or three in a day too.

Case: Anand is working for a financial firm Sharekhan that does stock research and investment for its clients. He had been researching stocks in real estate sector. Anand is a computer grad with an IIM degree. At the firm he develops a computer program that predicts the future prices of the real estate stocks based on the flat/home rates in advertisements, home loan interest rates of various banks, economic factors, salary hikes in public and private sectors etc. The program was fairly successful and the company was able to make a lot of money from it. The revenues from real estate sector went up by 10 times.

1. Who owns the Intellectual property rights for the program
2. Can Anand file for a patent for the program
3. Can Anand join another company and use the same program
4. Is the company obligated to share its income with Anand

Understand the subtle nuances and answer to the point.

Click for the solutions

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11 Comments:

Anonymous Dilip said...

My answer would be..
1) As Anand working for financial company sharekhan. so Company will have intellectual property rights for the program.
2) Some other comp employee may be invloved with this program and program generated a lot of revenue for comp. comp has ownership and rights on program. Anand can not file patent..
3) No , he can not use the same program in another comp. He can use this idea and develop the same kind od application from scratch in next comp. But he can not take this information . Financial companies are very restrict about their confidential information too.
4) Company is not obliged to share income with Anand.

..

12:00 AM, January 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a classic case of Capitalistic system. The shareholders of sharekhan decide the fate of Anand's software as it was their effort in the first place to build a firm like sharekhan from scratch. My answers would be:
1) Shareholders of company sharekhan own the rights on IPR of software developed by Anand. Since, nowhere it is mentioned that Anand though working in sharekhan, is a major shareholder of the firm or not(It is possible!), I can't be exactly sure on this.

2) Not sure on this. Sharekhan company can file for a patent and attribute the invention to Anand. Anand will definitely get the credit of the invention but if any other firm wants to use Anand's software for their own purposes by licensing etc. the revenues would go to Sharekhan and not to Anand as the IPR is held by sharekhan and not anand.

3) No, he can't. At least not according to current copyright and patent laws. But surely, copyrights and patents expire after a certain period but a timeline of 10-15 years is unthinkable in technology field compared to pharmaceuticals.

4) Going by the capitalistic system, company is not obliged to share its income with Anand. However, there are firms like google where employees can devote upto 20% of their official time on personal projects. In these firms, Since they promote their developers to come up with ideas and softwares offerings of their own, they provide a certain ownership of the revenues earned from that product (an e.g. of such product is orkut).

12:53 AM, January 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second my thoughts with Himanshu but I contradict him on point#3..He can very well use this idea to start from scratch in another company...If not using the idea was the case, a comapny wud never hire an experience professional

-PS

1:42 AM, January 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi PS, question 3 was: Can Anand join some other company and use the SAME program. I understand that starting from scratch is possible with a similar software architecture as he developed in sharekhan but it won't be equivalent to same program.

1:47 AM, January 24, 2007  
Anonymous admissionmilega? said...

I like this idea. I find myself wanting on this knowledge and it will help me for sure.
I will guess the answers.

1) Anand should have IPR for the program
2) Anand should be able to patent his program. However patenting process is not easy and Anand would be better of taking help of a patenting firm.
3) He can use the program wherever he goes. Untill Unless he has signed a contract with his present company.
4) The company need not share its income with Anand.

2:22 AM, January 24, 2007  
Blogger psychodementia said...

Anand cannot file for IP rights as the company he works owns all the rights of products developed in the company. ONly exceptions are cases like Google where individual rights are also granted. But no one can stop Anand from using his old program in a new company. Only thing is he should rename and restructure his approach.(I am not sure of this though)
Company is definitely not obliged share the revenue unless it decided to encourage more such programs from Anand.

3:41 AM, January 24, 2007  
Blogger psychodementia said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:41 AM, January 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1)Since Anand was working for the company, & he developed it under their aegis, the rights should lie with the company. He developed the code for the company, using their resources. He did not sell it to them as a product, but let them induct it in their system.

He has developed it, but the way in which it was delivered to them, makes it their property.

He has used the company clients as a testing ground. He did not risk any of his money, so technically, its just a good idea & performance by him, & nothing more.

2)Anand cannot file a patent for the program, since he has already made it a property of ShareKhan.They have used it as their product, & a patent would serve no purpose now.

Had he earlier sold it to them as a product, he could have done so.

3)Anand cannot take the same program, as it is a property of the company, & they could file a case for copyright.

ShareKhan could sell the program, but that would be a highly unlikely thing.

He could probably use the idea, & develop the exact same program again, & they cant stop him then :)

4)The company is probably not obligated in the legal sense. But he could raise it as a legal issue, & get a part of the greater returns enjoyed by the company.

This is equivalent to saying, that if a bad program made by Anand causes them losses, he has to bear part of it. His risk is hedged, but that works both ways.

Aparna

4:53 AM, January 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My answers would be:
1> The company would own the intellectual property right for the program as Anand would have used company's resources, hardware like computer and servers and various other softwares to develop the program.
2> No Anand cannot file for the patent for the reasons mentioned above. The right would lie with the company.
3> No he would not be able to use the same program in any other company, without paying royalty to ShareKhan if the program has got patented.
4> No, the company is not obligated. But can renumerate Anand separately because the company would definitely like to retain an employee like Anand.
All these points would come in to picture if the company has made Anand sign an agreement when he would have joined the company, that all softwares developed in the company would be company's intellectual property. If he has not signed any such agreement then I think Anand can file in for patent separately and correspondingly:
a. can use the same program in another company
b. conversely ShareKhan would have to share the income with Anand.

appikap

5:00 AM, January 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found muself really clueless regarding these Qs. but trying my hand at them..

Ans1:Sharekhan owns d IPR of d program coz though..it has been developed by Anand..but still he must have acquired all d requisite resources nd information 2 develop it from d co.He developed it under d aegis of d co. & not individually.

Ans2:No,he cannot.The program belongs 2 d co....he developed it being an employee of Sharekhan.

Ans3:Anand can certainly join a new co.,but cannot use d same program.The program is a property of Sharekhan.although he can certainly improvise upon his previous efforts & come up wid an even better version of d program.

Ans4:No, d co. is not obligated.But if its sensible enough..it wudnt want 2 lose a brainy like Anand.The co. wud rather share a decent proportion of his income in n attempt 2 appreciate his efforts,&at d same time provide him environment & resources ...2 repeat such instances often.

ANYA..

5:48 AM, January 24, 2007  
Blogger Gyan-ee said...

1. Yes most of the guys are right, The company owns the intellectual property rights. But only if it is mentioned in the agreement of employment, and it is usually is. Note that my company cannot have IPR on the blog I write, since it will not be covered in the agreement

2. Neither Anand, not the company can file for a patent. Computer programs/algorithms are covered under 'Copyright' only. And the copyright is owned by the company

3. Anand cannot use it since the company owns the IPR (even if the company has not 'filed' for copyright). He can use it in different disguise, but is always prone to suing. He will have to prove that either it is essential different or that it is common market algorithm/architecture etc

4. Not obligated. But may want to share to retain and motivate

2:13 AM, January 25, 2007  

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