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non-disclosure agreement

As part of an acquisition of my present employer by another company, I have
been asked to sign the enclosed agreement.

I am mostly worried about paragraph 2c, which, if read literally, seems to give
the company blanket rights over anything I do, _regardless_ (and this is my key
point) of whether the distinction of 2b applies, i.e. regardless of whether the
work in question has been produced using the company's resources or whether it
is at all related to the company's business.  I have been given oral assurances
that there's no such blanket right "because each paragraph must not be read in
isolation", and thus there's an implicit link between 2b and 2c.  But I fail to
see such a link, and in fact another literal reading seems to support my
objection despite the assurances:  in 2a, the definition of "development"
explicitly includes "...whether or not during normal working hours or on the
premises of the Company...", and 2c allows them to "take any and all actions
as the Company may deem necessary or desirable in order to protect its rights
and interests in _any_ Development" (emphasis itz).

All of which may seem like a lot of lawyerish nit-picking, but I thought one is
supposed to nit-pick when it comes to legal documents.

My questions are:

1/ Is my (literal) reading of the document essentially correct, or is my
assumption that I can read English just so much hubris?

2/ Will signing this agreement prevent me from contributing to Debian in the

3/ If not, will my contributions be substantially encumbered?  For instance,
will I be required to file a release of rights by the company for every single
patch/chunk of code I contribute?

4/ If possible, can you also answer 2/ and 3/ above for other free
software/open source entities, such as the GNU Project/FSF? (I am not sure what
the best forum for this admittedly OT part is).

5/ If you were personally faced with this situation, what was (or would be)
your reaction?  (You can reply to this part privately if you prefer).

Many thanks for your help!

(signature intentionally omitted to protect the guilty)
Title: 1

                                 PROPRIETARY INFORMATION, INVENTIONS
                                       AND NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENT

This Agreement is made between xxxxx, Inc. called ("xxxxx" or the "Company") and__________________ (the "Employee").

In consideration of the employment or the continued employment of the Employee by the Company, the Company and the Employee agree as follows:

1.Proprietary Information.

(a) The Employee agrees that all information, whether or not in writing, of a private, secret or confidential nature concerning the Company's business, business relationships or financial affairs (collectively, "Proprietary Information") is and shall be the exclusive property of the Company.  By way of illustration, but not limitation, Proprietary Information may include inventions, products, processes, methods, techniques, projects, developments, plans, research data, clinical data, financial data, personnel data, computer programs, customer and supplier lists, and contacts at or knowledge of customers or prospective customers of the Company.  The Employee will not disclose any Proprietary Information to any person or entity other than employees of the Company or use the same for any purposes (other than in the performance of his/her duties as an employee of the Company) without written approval by an officer of the Company, either during or after his/her employment with the Company, unless and until such Proprietary Information has become public knowledge without fault by the Employee.

(b) The Employee agrees that all files, letters, memoranda, reports, records, data sketches, drawings, laboratory notebooks, program listings or other written, photographic, or other tangible material containing Proprietary Information, whether created by the Employee or others, which shall come into his/her custody or possession, shall be and are the exclusive property of the Company to be used by the Employee only in the performance of his/her duties for the Company.  All such materials or copies thereof and all tangible property of the Company in the custody or possession of the Employee shall be delivered to the Company, upon the earlier of (i) a request by the Company or (ii) termination of his/her employment.  After such delivery, the Employee shall not retain any such materials or copies thereof or any such tangible property.

(c) The Employee agrees that his/her obligation not to disclose or to use information and materials of the types set forth in paragraphs (a) and (b) above, and his/her obligation to return materials and tangible property, set forth in paragraph (b) above, also extends to such types of information, materials and tangible property of customers of the Company or suppliers to the Company or other third parties who may have disclosed or entrusted the same to the Company or to the Employee.


(a) The Employee will make full and prompt disclosure to the Company of all inventions, improvements, discoveries, methods, developments, software, and works of authorship, whether patentable or not, which are created, made, conceived or reduced to practice by him/her or under his/her direction or jointly with others during his/her employment by the Company, whether or not during normal working hours or on the premises of the Company (all of which are collectively referred to in this Agreement as "Developments").

(b) The Employee agrees to assign and does hereby assign to the Company (or any person or entity designated by the Company) all his/her right, title and interest in and to all Developments and all related patents, patent applications, copyrights and copyright applications.  However, this paragraph 2(b) shall not apply to Developments which do not relate to the present or planned business or research and development of the Company and which are made and conceived by the Employee not during normal working hours, not on the Company's premises and not using the Company's tools, devices, equipment or Proprietary Information. The Employee understands that,  to the extent this Agreement shall be construed in accordance with the laws of any state which precludes a requirement in an employee agreement to assign certain classes of inventions made by an employee, this paragraph 2(b) shall be interpreted not to apply to any invention which a court rules and/or the Company agrees falls within such classes.  The Employee also hereby waives all claims to moral rights in any Developments.

(c)  The Employee agrees to cooperate fully with the Company, both during and after his/her employment with the Company, with respect to the procurement, maintenance and enforcement of copyrights, patents and other intellectual property rights (both in the United States and foreign countries) relating to Developments.  The Employee shall sign all papers, including, without limitation, copyright applications, patent applications, declarations, oaths, formal assignments, assignments of priority rights, and powers of attorney, which the Company may deem necessary or desirable in order to protect its rights and interests in any Development.  The Employee further agrees that if the Company is unable, after reasonable effort, to secure the signature of the Employee on any such papers, any executive officer of the Company shall be entitled to execute any such papers as the agent and the attorney-in-fact of the Employee, and the Employee hereby irrevocably designates and appoints each executive officer of the Company as his/her agent and attorney-in-fact to execute any such papers on his/her behalf, and to take any and all actions as the Company may deem necessary or desirable in order to protect its rights and interests in any Development, under the conditions described in this sentence.  The Employee further agrees to disclose to the Company (or to any persons designated by it) all patent applications filed by him/her within a year after the termination of their employment.  
  3.Other Agreements.

The Employee hereby represents that, except as the Employee has disclosed in writing to the Company, the Employee is not bound by the terms of any agreement with any previous employer or other party to refrain from using or disclosing any trade secret or confidential or proprietary information in the course of his/her employment with the Company or to refrain from competing, directly or indirectly, with the business of such previous employer or any other party.  The Employee further represents that his/her performance of all the terms of this Agreement and as an employee of the Company does not and will not breach any agreement to keep in confidence proprietary information, knowledge or data acquired by the Employee in confidence or in trust prior to his/her employment with the Company, and the Employee will not disclose to the Company or induce the Company to use any confidential or proprietary information or material belonging to any previous employer or others.

4.United States Government Obligations.

The Employee acknowledges that the Company from time to time may have agreements with the other persons or with the United States Government, or agencies thereof, which impose obligations or restrictions on the Company regarding inventions made during the course of work under such agreements or regarding the confidential nature of such work.  The Employee agrees to be bound by all such obligations and restrictions which are made known to the Employee and to take all action necessary to discharge the obligations of the Company under such agreements.

5.No Employment Contract.

The Employee understands that this Agreement does not constitute a contract of employment and does not imply that his/her employment will continue for any period of time.


(a)The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of this Agreement shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision of this Agreement.

(b) This Agreement supersedes all prior agreements, written or oral, between the Employee and the Company relating to the subject matter of this Agreement. This Agreement may not be modified, changed or discharged in whole or in part, except by an agreement in writing signed by the Employee and the Company. The Employee agrees that any change or changes in his/her duties, salary or compensation after the signing of this Agreement shall not affect the validity or scope of this Agreement.

(c) This Agreement will be binding upon the Employee's heirs, executors and administrators and will inure to the benefit of the Company and its successors and assigns.

(d) No delay or omission by the Company in exercising any right under this Agreement will operate as a waiver of that or any other right. A waiver or consent given by the Company on any one occasion is effective only in that instance and will not be construed as a bar to or waiver of any right on any other occasion.

(e) The Employee expressly consents to be bound by the provisions of this Agreement for the benefit of the Company or any subsidiary or affiliate thereof to whose employ the Employee may be transferred without the necessity that this Agreement be re-signed at the time of such transfer.

(f) The restrictions contained in this Agreement are necessary for the protection of the business and goodwill of the Company and are considered by the Employee to be reasonable for such purpose. The Employee agrees that any breach of this Agreement is likely to cause the Company substantial and irrevocable damage and therefore, in the event of any such breach, the Employee agrees that the Company, in addition to such other remedies which may be available, shall be entitled to specific performance and other injunctive relief.

(g) This Agreement is governed by and will be construed as a sealed instrument under and in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, without regard to conflict of laws provisions. Any action, suit, or other legal proceeding which is commenced to resolve any matter arising under or relating to any provision of this Agreement shall be commenced only in a court of the (State Name)  (or, if appropriate, a federal court located within (State Name)), and the Company and the Employee each consents to the jurisdiction of such a court.


WITNESS our hands and seals:xxxxx, Inc.

     Vice President, Human Resources


Date:_____________________  ___________________________

      (Print Name)


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