how much leeway do I have to modify the intellectual property clause in an employment agreement with a big company?

I have received an employment offer from a big company. What is standard language that I should look for to protect any IP I develop on my own time? Is it common to modify the IP clause when working with a big company?

Asked on July 4, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You have as much leeway as your prospective employer will grant you: an agreement like this is purely voluntary, as is going to work for them in the first place. Either you and they will agree to let you carve out protection for any IP you develop on your own time or you will not--in which case, you can agree to accept their terms or you can choose to not work for them. There is no template for this: it's all about what you and they can negotiate to. As a general rule thoug, based on my experience, big companies are NOT likely to change their standard forms or practices unless you are a very valuable employee and they are willing to do whatever it takes to land you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.