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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 103584
Experience:  Licensed attorney in private practice.
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Im a web developer and programmer in California since 2001.

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I'm a web developer and programmer in California since 2001. I've built a custom CRM tool for several local companies as of 2007. Recently, one of these companies (computer sale and repair corporation) has decided to hire their own developers and repackage my CRM tool for resale to others (originally installed in 2008).

All their custom additions have been paid for, on an hourly basis. However I feel there should be some kind of law against the repackaging and reselling of my work.

I was wondering if I have any rights regarding this situation. I can be contacted by email to webcitypages(at)gmail.com or get a hold of me using my website: webcitypages.com
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Is the CRM tool an actual program?





Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I would say so. It's multiple files that I wrote, using Perl language and a secondary option to use PHP. It's installed on my dedicated unix server, that they have an account on.
The core program is mainly a security validation tool that references all the basic functions, then includes the requested modules. The modules perform specific tasks like pulling up customer or transaction info, showing daily sales, etc.

This situation may be complex as there has been several other developers adding on to this system.
Gotcha. When you sold it as a package to the company, were any IP rights discussed, such as limitation to one user, no manipulation, etc?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
No, it was built in good faith. No limitations on users per their request.

As for manipulation, I did not restrict them. Their demand was beyond my ability to keep up with them and while also serving my other clients. Their manipulation started with me training one of their own staff members on some modules. From there, others were hired to help out.

It was just a few days ago they informed me they are planning to resell it.
Well that's okay b/c without specific guidelines, they cannot do that. It's the equivalent of taking your book, reprinting it and repackaging it, and reselling it. You need to threaten litigation, or actually sue. Let me explain.
Lawsuits are made up of causes of action, in other words, to file suit, you need a cause of action (at least one).



You can file multiple causes of action together. All causes of action have different elements you have to satisfy. For example, “negligence” is proven if there is (1) a duty owned to Plaintiff and (2) the Defendant breached that duty.



It takes too long to explain all elements of each cause of action, but from my knowledge, you have a lawsuit for the following causes of action: infringement on IP rights, fraud.

Some elements of the causes of action different by state due to different evolution of local law, but they are generally nearly identical.



If the hearing is by Judge (“bench trial”), the Judge decides. If the hearing is by Jury (“jury trial”), a majority of the Jury has to decide towards one way. Although a lawsuit is automatically set up to be heard as a bench trial, either party can request a jury trial. Defendants usually prefer a jury trial since it’s harder to convince a few minds, rather than one.



In the end, the Judge or Jury that decides whether or not the elements for each of the causes of action were satisfied, and if so, what damages are needed to rectify the situation. Note that if you win, you may also get your legal fees and attorney fees tagged unto the award.



Know, however, that 85% of such cases are resolved with a stern demand letter from your attorney and perhaps a draft petition included with it. That usually scared them to make a deal to avoid litigation. When you hire an attorney, try to hire them on a contingency basis, i.e. they don't get paid unless you do (usually about 33%, or 40% if reward is from trial). I can help you find an attorney in your area who specializes in these kinds of matters if you'd like.

Best of luck in your matter. I'm here if you need any more clarification or follow up information.



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Ely and other Intellectual Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Do they have the right to copy this work onto another server? This is actually happening now.
It is if it's still their server and only THEY are using it, but not if it's a third party server.

Best of luck in your matter. I'm here if you need any more clarification or follow up information.



I hope you found my answer helpful, and if so please click on the ACCEPT button. This is the only way for me to get credit for my work - when you put in your payment information, I receive no credit for my time with you unless you press ACCEPT.



There is no fee for follow up questions should you wish to continue in this thread.



Remember, sometimes the law under which your situation falls does not give you the outcome or the choices you wanted - please understand that this is not the attorney's fault, but the way of circumstance.



There might be a delay between your follow up questions and my answers because I may be helping other clients or taking a break.



If you feel that I went an extra step to help, a bonus would be appreciated!



You can always request me for a future legal consultation through my profile at http://www.justanswer.com/profile.aspx?PF=7286322&FID=7 If you do this, make sure to begin the question with “This Question is for Eli…”