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Who owns the rights? (UK ) but other countries welcome

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large_ghostman

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Just finished reading a weeks worth of emails on an account i dont use much. In them is a email from a kind of one off job client, its annoyed me a bit but wanted some thoughts on it.

A while back in the summer a neighbor I know by sight but not very well, approached me. At first i thought he wanted me to cut and bale a field for him, which i thought was a bit odd as this guy would rather let the field go over than pay someone to cut,turn and bale.

By the end of the conversation i had worked out this wasnt what he was after, apparently he knew someone who knew someone who had heard from someone else, that i looked after the old schools wind turbines (the ones i took out). Apparently he had been told i knew things about wires (his words), and he had a problem with some 'special wires' (again his words).

To cut the strange and long conversation down, turns out every time he tries to cut and bale a particular field, the tractor cuts out and shows an error light. he had taken it to the local agri repair place, but they had said it was a dead tractor because the black box needed replacing, the place where they apparently keep 'special wires' on a tractor :D. The local place dosnt do 'special wires'.

So i finally got to the bit where he mentions that Gordons (the agri place, but not the large well known Gordons agricultural )had told him that the black box had a connector to the special wires, and some people have a box that talks to this black box and the special wires. So i thought ODBC 2! And sure enough he was after someone who could plug in and read the systems control and distribution panel (label on black box!).

Obviously a wind turbine and tractor are very similar :confused:, so he thought he would ask me, he was also aware i cut hay in the summer for some the locals. So despite putting two and two together and getting 17, he came to ask for my help.

I took the tractor for a spin and sure enough at certain points it would cut out in the field and show the system failure light. Now the tractor is a kind of Chinese copy of a ClASS brand tractor. except its a real cheap badly implemented one. I got a OBDC2 reader i made from a 8051 dev kit from sil labs, it works well and is portable. I plug it in and try again, i get 17 errors come up, most of them really strange.

But the one that was causing issues was the oil level flag, as soon as the tractor was side on into a slope it would trigger a sudden oil drop alarm and close the tractor down. So nice easy fix was to reprogram the controller so it would wait 30 seconds rather than the 5 second option it was on, i then made it read the oil pressure sensor, if both were low then it would shut down.

He paid me £10 for these 12 hours of work!!

Couple of days later he came back to me, various light on the dash kept coming on and could i plug my machine in, i did so and again most the errors were silly, but the system has a thing where it shuts down if you get more than X (you can set the number) errors in Y time frame. I explained the junk he had brought was just being annoying.

I explained that according to the special wires, if the windscreen washer level drops suddenly (like on an incline), that could count as 3 errors. i said it might be an idea to get one of my little boxs and a small colour screen to read them. Add in a system reset switch and he could decide if there was a problem or simply reset the box.

I designed it and built it, he paid me £30 including the parts.

Over the next few months i sold several of these to local people, based roughly on the same thing, all it does it show on a screen a readable form output from the ODBC from the management system, that way the farmer can decide if there is a real problem that needs attention now, or if he can finish what he is doing and fix it later.

yes they could buy a reader, but most wouldnt, most just want a screen to show the info. So i made a few of these up local people and sold them for £170 each.

Now i got this email, they original guy is telling me i owe him money!! he says he is entitled for a cut of what i sell as the design belongs to him!! he paid for the work so he owns it!! Blah Blah Blah

my immediate reaction is go and enjoy yourself in private. But the way its worded sounds like he has asked someone about it, to be honest in a situation like this, i have no idea if he has any rights to it or not, i should point out that there is custom code on the chip that i wrote. It does use a standard ODBC2 driver etc, but i did the stuff that outputs it to a small screen, and does some resets etc from a couple of switches i installed.

So who in this situation owns the rights to this?? surely its me?
 

dknguyen

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Just finished reading a weeks worth of emails on an account i dont use much. In them is a email from a kind of one off job client, its annoyed me a bit but wanted some thoughts on it.

A while back in the summer a neighbor I know by sight but not very well, approached me. At first i thought he wanted me to cut and bale a field for him, which i thought was a bit odd as this guy would rather let the field go over than pay someone to cut,turn and bale.

By the end of the conversation i had worked out this wasnt what he was after, apparently he knew someone who knew someone who had heard from someone else, that i looked after the old schools wind turbines (the ones i took out). Apparently he had been told i knew things about wires (his words), and he had a problem with some 'special wires' (again his words).

To cut the strange and long conversation down, turns out every time he tries to cut and bale a particular field, the tractor cuts out and shows an error light. he had taken it to the local agri repair place, but they had said it was a dead tractor because the black box needed replacing, the place where they apparently keep 'special wires' on a tractor :D. The local place dosnt do 'special wires'.

So i finally got to the bit where he mentions that Gordons (the agri place, but not the large well known Gordons agricultural )had told him that the black box had a connector to the special wires, and some people have a box that talks to this black box and the special wires. So i thought ODBC 2! And sure enough he was after someone who could plug in and read the systems control and distribution panel (label on black box!).

Obviously a wind turbine and tractor are very similar :confused:, so he thought he would ask me, he was also aware i cut hay in the summer for some the locals. So despite putting two and two together and getting 17, he came to ask for my help.

I took the tractor for a spin and sure enough at certain points it would cut out in the field and show the system failure light. Now the tractor is a kind of Chinese copy of a ClASS brand tractor. except its a real cheap badly implemented one. I got a OBDC2 reader i made from a 8051 dev kit from sil labs, it works well and is portable. I plug it in and try again, i get 17 errors come up, most of them really strange.

But the one that was causing issues was the oil level flag, as soon as the tractor was side on into a slope it would trigger a sudden oil drop alarm and close the tractor down. So nice easy fix was to reprogram the controller so it would wait 30 seconds rather than the 5 second option it was on, i then made it read the oil pressure sensor, if both were low then it would shut down.

He paid me £10 for these 12 hours of work!!

Couple of days later he came back to me, various light on the dash kept coming on and could i plug my machine in, i did so and again most the errors were silly, but the system has a thing where it shuts down if you get more than X (you can set the number) errors in Y time frame. I explained the junk he had brought was just being annoying.

I explained that according to the special wires, if the windscreen washer level drops suddenly (like on an incline), that could count as 3 errors. i said it might be an idea to get one of my little boxs and a small colour screen to read them. Add in a system reset switch and he could decide if there was a problem or simply reset the box.

I designed it and built it, he paid me £30 including the parts.

Over the next few months i sold several of these to local people, based roughly on the same thing, all it does it show on a screen a readable form output from the ODBC from the management system, that way the farmer can decide if there is a real problem that needs attention now, or if he can finish what he is doing and fix it later.

yes they could buy a reader, but most wouldnt, most just want a screen to show the info. So i made a few of these up local people and sold them for £170 each.

Now i got this email, they original guy is telling me i owe him money!! he says he is entitled for a cut of what i sell as the design belongs to him!! he paid for the work so he owns it!! Blah Blah Blah

my immediate reaction is go and enjoy yourself in private. But the way its worded sounds like he has asked someone about it, to be honest in a situation like this, i have no idea if he has any rights to it or not, i should point out that there is custom code on the chip that i wrote. It does use a standard ODBC2 driver etc, but i did the stuff that outputs it to a small screen, and does some resets etc from a couple of switches i installed.

So who in this situation owns the rights to this?? surely its me?
Not surely. This is why you have signed agreements. At every place I have worked at the people paying me own the results of the work I do. Also at every place I've worked at, if a consultant is called in, the consultant does not end up owning the work.

Was he paying just for the product itself? Or was he paying for the development as well? Was he a customer? Or your client/investor? Without an explicit mutual agreement then both sides have their own unspoken interpretations as to what the transaction actually was for.

I am almost inclined to say that in this case, the strongest reason you could argue that the work belongs to you was the price that was paid is indicative of just the end-result and not the development and therefore you were expected to amortize the development costs among multiple customers. But that is by no means rigorous since it's ultimately you who sets the price to begin with (i.e. the stuff I make at work doesn't suddenly belong to me just because I agreed to unreasonably low pay).
 
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large_ghostman

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Well none of the above really. he was a guy who lives near me who had a problem, he asked if i would take a look and i did. he then asked if i could fix it and i did. he gave me some money for doing it. Its almost a mate doing a mate a favor the way i see it. Nothing at all formal about it, i did it because the problem interested me. When others asked me for a screen and read out i built them and gave them out for a price.

Its a bit like me cutting your grass because you live next door and need a hand. He didnt see it any other way at the time or I would have charged him alot more than I did, actually i didnt charge him, he gave me a tiny sum as a thank you, well he gave me the you bit of a thank you.
 

dknguyen

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Well none of the above really. he was a guy who lives near me who had a problem, he asked if i would take a look and i did. he then asked if i could fix it and i did. he gave me some money for doing it. Its almost a mate doing a mate a favor the way i see it. Nothing at all formal about it, i did it because the problem interested me. When others asked me for a screen and read out i built them and gave them out for a price.

Its a bit like me cutting your grass because you live next door and need a hand. He didnt see it any other way at the time or I would have charged him alot more than I did, actually i didnt charge him, he gave me a tiny sum as a thank you, well he gave me the you bit of a thank you.
Well, we all probably know what the intent at the time was. But you were asking about the law.
 

JimB

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
I designed it and built it, he paid me £30 including the parts.
i made a few of these up local people and sold them for £170 each.
There's your answer, he already has a £140 discount.

Just tell him to get on his bike. Tell him that if he can build them himself, you will welcome the competition.

He is just a chancer, an "Eddy Grundy".

JimB
 

large_ghostman

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
There's your answer, he already has a £140 discount.

Just tell him to get on his bike. Tell him that if he can build them himself, you will welcome the competition.

He is just a chancer, an "Eddy Grundy".

JimB
Yeah your right Jim, he caught me off guard. The thing that rattled my cage was some the wording, he isnt the brightest LED in the panel, yet some the wording gave me the impression someone who knows some law wrote part the email. Wasnt sure if i had walked into a hornets nest, only reason i ended up charging most of them was to put people off asking me for them! he is a neighbor but i havnt had much contact with him, he is well known locally as a bit of a nightmare.

like i say i once offered to cut his field and bale it cheap, it was on the point of going over and he didnt have time. 25 acres and i offered to do it for £40 using my tractor and stuff, he said it was too expensive and in the end he lost the grass.

Just finished writing my reply to him :D, i have attached a revised invoice and a contract giving him the rights to my invention. I have been generous and he can have the lot for £45,000, including the initial consultation fee (£350), design fee (£3,500) and so on. Being a nice person i have given him 14 days to pay before i start adding 8% interest.

Its like the heating guy we had last week! he has changed our boiler and installed a bigger hot water tank, cheeky sod wanted £200 to remove the old hot water tank to dispose of it!! I told him to leave it as i am going to weigh it in. They are worth around £400 as scrap
 

large_ghostman

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Jim you had much snow up your way? We still got a couple small patches!!
 

JimB

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Jim you had much snow up your way?
Nothing here, near the coast but it has been quite cool though for the past few weeks, hardly above 4 degC. *
At the weekend I was in Fetteresso forest just south of Aberdeen, there was snow on the hills and some of the forest tracks were covered in thick sheets of ice where the snow had melted and re-frozen.

* Meanwhile TCM in North Dakota thinks "4degC, cold, what a load of softies!"

JimB
 

tcmtech

Banned
Most Helpful Member
* Meanwhile TCM in North Dakota thinks "4degC, cold, what a load of softies!"
Yep. 19 F today with light wind so I spent most of my afternoon working on the MF 1155 tractor (largely bare handed no less) modifying the alternator brackets to hold the new bigger unit now that we are out of the real cold that was running -15 F to at best+10 F (with 15 - 30+ MPH wind) for the last few weeks since I go the thing home. ;)

Hoping that if it's in the the upper 20's F tomorrow I can fix the fuel leak and get the hood back on so that I can finish the exhaust system rebuild and all the other front half fixes and repair/upgrades to the tractor. :cool:
 

Mickster

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Preamble: IANAL.
IMO:
Unless you gave him any signed paperwork stating that you were contracted by him for this project and the design concept was his alone, he should retain the right to allow or deny any future reproduction of the current design & subsequent iterations and/or you were required to hand over all of the schematics/board views/source code, how can he claim to have a case against you?
You did the guy a favor and at far less-than-minimum-wage to boot.
You may wish to speak to the CAB just to cover yourself and this link might be worth a read, just in case he has a solicitor who is stepping outside of fair practices:
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/s...ning-or-pressuring-you-to-pay-compensation-s/

Otherwise, just tell him to go fly a kite. ;-)
Regards.
 

Pommie

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I would be very cautious about replying - asking for payment could be seen as negotiation - you agree with him and are haggling over price. My reply would be to request a copy of the development agreement.

Mike.
Edit, I was asked to develop a game on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) around 1985 - I refused to sign a development agreement because I didn't know if I could complete it. I saw it as I agreed to attempt to develop a game. The NES didn't have drive or keyboard so development meant lots of electronics. Long story short, I didn't complete the work and got sued - lost and had to pay the £2000 back. That development work turned out to be the most profitable work ever - glad I only had to repay the sums payed. Those were the days.:D
 
Last edited:

gophert

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Just finished reading a weeks worth of emails on an account i dont use much. In them is a email from a kind of one off job client, its annoyed me a bit but wanted some thoughts on it.

A while back in the summer a neighbor I know by sight but not very well, approached me. At first i thought he wanted me to cut and bale a field for him, which i thought was a bit odd as this guy would rather let the field go over than pay someone to cut,turn and bale.

By the end of the conversation i had worked out this wasnt what he was after, apparently he knew someone who knew someone who had heard from someone else, that i looked after the old schools wind turbines (the ones i took out). Apparently he had been told i knew things about wires (his words), and he had a problem with some 'special wires' (again his words).

To cut the strange and long conversation down, turns out every time he tries to cut and bale a particular field, the tractor cuts out and shows an error light. he had taken it to the local agri repair place, but they had said it was a dead tractor because the black box needed replacing, the place where they apparently keep 'special wires' on a tractor :D. The local place dosnt do 'special wires'.

So i finally got to the bit where he mentions that Gordons (the agri place, but not the large well known Gordons agricultural )had told him that the black box had a connector to the special wires, and some people have a box that talks to this black box and the special wires. So i thought ODBC 2! And sure enough he was after someone who could plug in and read the systems control and distribution panel (label on black box!).

Obviously a wind turbine and tractor are very similar :confused:, so he thought he would ask me, he was also aware i cut hay in the summer for some the locals. So despite putting two and two together and getting 17, he came to ask for my help.

I took the tractor for a spin and sure enough at certain points it would cut out in the field and show the system failure light. Now the tractor is a kind of Chinese copy of a ClASS brand tractor. except its a real cheap badly implemented one. I got a OBDC2 reader i made from a 8051 dev kit from sil labs, it works well and is portable. I plug it in and try again, i get 17 errors come up, most of them really strange.

But the one that was causing issues was the oil level flag, as soon as the tractor was side on into a slope it would trigger a sudden oil drop alarm and close the tractor down. So nice easy fix was to reprogram the controller so it would wait 30 seconds rather than the 5 second option it was on, i then made it read the oil pressure sensor, if both were low then it would shut down.

He paid me £10 for these 12 hours of work!!

Couple of days later he came back to me, various light on the dash kept coming on and could i plug my machine in, i did so and again most the errors were silly, but the system has a thing where it shuts down if you get more than X (you can set the number) errors in Y time frame. I explained the junk he had brought was just being annoying.

I explained that according to the special wires, if the windscreen washer level drops suddenly (like on an incline), that could count as 3 errors. i said it might be an idea to get one of my little boxs and a small colour screen to read them. Add in a system reset switch and he could decide if there was a problem or simply reset the box.

I designed it and built it, he paid me £30 including the parts.

Over the next few months i sold several of these to local people, based roughly on the same thing, all it does it show on a screen a readable form output from the ODBC from the management system, that way the farmer can decide if there is a real problem that needs attention now, or if he can finish what he is doing and fix it later.

yes they could buy a reader, but most wouldnt, most just want a screen to show the info. So i made a few of these up local people and sold them for £170 each.

Now i got this email, they original guy is telling me i owe him money!! he says he is entitled for a cut of what i sell as the design belongs to him!! he paid for the work so he owns it!! Blah Blah Blah

my immediate reaction is go and enjoy yourself in private. But the way its worded sounds like he has asked someone about it, to be honest in a situation like this, i have no idea if he has any rights to it or not, i should point out that there is custom code on the chip that i wrote. It does use a standard ODBC2 driver etc, but i did the stuff that outputs it to a small screen, and does some resets etc from a couple of switches i installed.

So who in this situation owns the rights to this?? surely its me?
In the US, identifying a problem is NOT intellectual property, a solution to a problem is IP. By that standard, and the fact that he has no paperwork is your proof if this ever goes to court. Keep it in your pocket as a plan, don't tell him and don't argue with him.

Additionally, someone who commissions artwork or anything else that can be copyrighted is entitled to use it, display it but not (NOT) entitled to duplicate and sell it unless they have documentation that the artist (designer/creator) transferred the copyright as part of the sale but the default is that copyright is not transferred. Much like if you buy music, you are not allowed to copy and resell copies.

By US law, you owe him nothing. Additionally, I recommend that you NOT talk to him about anything. Ignore his letters, comments or any attempt to get you to talk. He will use anything you say to his advantage - even hypothetical examples you may give can be taken out of context and used in court - just don't talk. Wait for his lawyer to send you something. I doubt you will ever see anything because he is just crying sour grapes that you are making a buck (pound) from his problem. If he did contact a lawyer, the lawyer probably said he didn't have a case but it was worth taking a shot over your bow to see how you would react (well worth his time to write one letter and ask for money in case you say yes).

Good luck. If you need to say something to him (if he confronts you in a public place) - just tell him to pound sand. Don't argue with him and don't use any examples to compare the situation.
 

gophert

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Lg
Since neither you nor your first client applied for a patent, the above post is useless. Your issue will he contract law, not patent or trademark law. It may only be helpful for definitions but will not control the transaction.
 

large_ghostman

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Well its resolved now, not exactly what you call amicably but its resolved.
 

JimB

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Well its resolved now, not exactly what you call amicably but its resolved.
OK, so give us all the gory details.
Enquiring minds* need to know.

JimB

* = Nosey parkers.
 

large_ghostman

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
OK, so give us all the gory details.
Enquiring minds* need to know.

JimB

* = Nosey parkers.
Jim is what done the Scottish way.....
Cheapo guy hand delivers a letter from his solicitor, letter simply says they are prepared to drop it if i agree not to pursue further monies. So I call the solicitor up and explain i did it as a favor, i have no intention of charging etc.

Solicitor sounds happy then says...... Just make sure in future you give him his cut. I ask if the call is recorded, i am told it isnt, so i tell him the only cut he is likely to get is around the throat area. Then i point out that the units i sold, i did so to stop people keep asking me for them, i am not against making money but they dont actually make me money, they cost too much time to do and its not where I am going work wise.

Mum bumps into him walking the dog at the beach, he is nice as can be to her until she goes to get into her car, starts shouting abuse at her about me. Spoke with someone in the village who knows the guy well, his just said the guy is well known for not having all his resistors colour coded.

So its over, i wont do or say anything unless my mum gets more abuse. Shame she had her dog and not mine with her, mine is twice the size i am (its about 14 stone) and just as grumpy and bad tempered with strangers.
 

cowboybob

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Put a solicitor you trust on retainer asap.

Sadly, in the world of business, you have to assume that all your clients are thieves until proven otherwise.
 

large_ghostman

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
We dont have that her Paul, well not in the same way. the company has one we I use as and when and he charges a fixed amount per year, if i go over X numbers of hours then he charges per job. I found for alot of what we do, a solicitor ended up a must but the cost is high.

main expense so far is the toxicology reports and making sure of compliance with packing rules and ingredients. No site up yet but.... Guess who now owns the Domain.....

www.bodycarefor.men :cool:

Its parked at the moment, one the new main business sites is up but not live until around 2pm my time tomorrow
 

Mickster

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I ask if the call is recorded, i am told it isnt, so i tell him the only cut he is likely to get is around the throat area.
That was a huge mistake as far as I am concerned. If this guy's marble bag has a hole in it and he goes pissing someone else off, then they do him some harm where there are no witnesses, who's going to get fingered first, irrespective of whether the call with the solicitor was recorded? There is now a legal document stating there is a dispute between yourself and this guy, you imply you are willing to inflict some harm to him, then something happens. He could even claim you sent someone round to sort him out, as you may have a water-tight alibi for that date/time/place.
Do you really want to have your time wasted possibly answering questions to Dibble, when your time is much more valuable doing research/projects/paid work?
Do you want your Mum to have to be looking over her shoulder?

Regards.
 
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