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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 26154
Experience:  16 yrs. of trial experience
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My co-worker and I edit and publish a company newsletter (only

Resolved Question:

My co-worker and I edit and publish a company newsletter (only one of our responsibilities). We are considering offering newsletter services to other businesses in the area as a second job. Is it legal to provide a few of our company newsletters as samples for the potential businesses to view when we send our solicitation letter and rate sheets? Thank you.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 8 months ago.
Hi, My name is Philip. I am an attorney with over 16 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

That is a bit of a loaded question..

Since there are several factors that can influence.

Can you tell me

1. They newsletters you are currently working on...is any of the information in them protected as a trade secrete? Or any information that could give competitors insight into your company operations that they would not be able to otherwise gather?

2. Are you planning on using any of the tools or images you have developed while working for your current company as part of your side business?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.


Thank you. 1. None of the information is protected or secret. We have no competitors. 2. Re tools or images, do you mean programs, or logos, or other?

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 8 months ago.
Sorry for the delay

The key thing you need to understand before you embark on this is that your current employer owns ALL the work product you have generated for the newsletter you are creating.

The law is clear; absent an agreement to the contrary, intellectual property created by an employee for an employer belongs to the employer.

So any templates you may have created, or software tools or images you may have created can NOT be used in this new business. Period. If you do, you are opening yourself up to a lawsuit by your current employer.

Examples:

1. Say your have a template or software program for your current newsletter and you modify it for one that you are going to sell to another company? In that case, you would be liable to your current employer for using their property to sell to others.

2. Say you created a image for your current newsletter and one of your potential customers wants to incorporate that into their product. Again, that would be in improper use of the current employers property.

So long as you are creating the newsletters for your new customers from scratch, and not using ANY tools, images, programs created while working for your current employer? You will be fine.


Let me know if you have more questions, happy to help if I can
Customer: replied 8 months ago.


Thank you so much for your advice! This is actually what I had thought. We will create a new newsletter from scratch, and solicit that. I very much appreciate your time and advice!

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 8 months ago.
Yes ma'am

Happy to help.

Phil
Customer: replied 8 months ago.


Thank you. XXXXX have one more follow-up question. If we offer professional email blast service, may we use a program like Mailchimp to offer that service?

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 8 months ago.
Sure (unless you work for mailchimp or a company that owns it).

mailchimp is simply an email marketing tool.

You can market your company as you like

Just make sure there is a clear distinction between your employer and your side job.

Examples

1. Do not use any company resources at all in performing your side work. No computer, phone, time, etc.

2. Do not imply your employer is sponsoring or endorsing your company.

You are free to use your "free time" (time away from your job) as you like. If you want to start a business? No harm in that. Just make sure you keep it wholly separate from your current employer

Customer: replied 8 months ago.


Fantastic - you have helped immensely!!!

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 8 months ago.
You are welcome Ma'am

Phil
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 26154
Experience: 16 yrs. of trial experience
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