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Chris The Lawyer
Chris The Lawyer, Lawyer
Category: New Zealand Law
Satisfied Customers: 22825
Experience:  38 years qualified as a lawyer; LLB, MMgt and FAMINZ.
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I was a contractor homes, working as their sales manager and

Customer Question

Good afternoon.
I was a contractor for golden homes, working as their sales manager and I have a few questions to do with tidying up my resignation.
I developed a training programme for them and the only copy is on my computer at work. They won't give the training schedule back to me because I developed it for them while I was working for them. How ever I believe I was a contractor, that was my intellectual property and I developed it during my own time not during work hours. Can I get it back? Who is in the right?
Also I personally put together a deal on a subdivision using my own money. I bought one section to secure the remaining 8 for the company. They said the would pay me for each build contract that was put together on those sections. At my time of leaving all were signed except for two of them. They are now saying they won't pay me for getting a build contract on the other two because I am no longer in their employ but I feel that this is a seperate issue as my personal money was involved. What do you think?
Thanks and regards,
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: New Zealand Law
Expert:  Chris The Lawyer replied 1 year ago.

Generally when you are an employee, all intellectual property developed for the employer remains with the employer when you leave. The Copyright Act makes it clear that anything developed as an employee belongs to the employer. As a contractor this is not necessarily the case but it may depend on whether you were a genuine independent contractor or whether in fact you were an employee, in all respects say that you were paid on invoice. In addition your contract with your employer may have some provision about intellectual property. But it is more likely to belong to the company than to you.

The issue with regard to the subdivision is in fact separate from the employment. This would be a separate contract, in which you obtained the property using your own resources, and they agreed to pay the build contract commission. This would survive the end of your contract or your employment. So if they refuse to pay then you can bring a claim against them, depending on the amount, in the disputes Tribunal up to $15,000, and in the District Court beyond that.

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