Can I use materials written by me, at my job, when I leave my employer to start my own business?

I will be leaving my place of employment to start a competing business. I wrote all of the promotional materials that we use on the web and in our information packets at my current job. I would like to use those materials in my own business. May I legally do this? I never signed a proprietary information contract.

Asked on June 15, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, California


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I think you need to be very careful about this.  You're talking about things you produced while working on your employer's time, using your employer's computers, in your employer's office, etc.  In many states, your employer would be able to get a court order, preventing you from using that work product, and possibly for money damages against you as well.

I would very strongly suggest that you talk to a lawyer, about just what you will and will not be able to do, before giving anyone at your present employer any idea what you are thinking about.  One place to look for a qualified attorney near you is our website,

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