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So I work as a Junior Software Developer for this company. During the interview process for this company I had to show the software that I had previously developed. I had developed a system (Web Application) previously and presented it to the interviewers (Who I now work with) 6 months ago. The system I had developed fits well with the existing systems in place at the company and In the interview they had said it was a good idea.

All has gone well and I've been employed at the company for 6 months with no issue. I am now trying to figure out the correct way to approach my boss (who was not in the initial interview and has no knowledge of the system) and convince him that its a good idea for me to re develop the system and make it the companies 75-90% of the system would become the companies and 25-10% of the system would still be mine. I would develop the system for an hour or two for free every day after work until its completion. Not sure how to structure the ownership of it correctly yet (Maybe use some kind of royalty structure).

My question is

What is the best way to approach my boss with the concept and what would the ramifications be? Also I work in the same building as the CEO and he said his phone was always open to call him would that be a better option?

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    May I ask what you're trying to accomplish with this partial ownership scheme of yours? – meriton Jan 31 '18 at 0:03
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    I tried this once. In a word: DON'T. Go it alone or get some angel investor behind you. – Wesley Long Jan 31 '18 at 0:14
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    Don't give exclusivity without performance guarantees. Realize the company's business is not to sell your software. No contract is worth anything without a lawyer behind it. – Wesley Long Jan 31 '18 at 0:23
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    It means that if they have performance (sales / revenue) targets that they have to meet, but don't, they no longer get exclusive rights to the product. With your joint ownership model, that would be difficult. – Wesley Long Jan 31 '18 at 0:44
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    There's different laws in different countries. First you need a way to protect your ownership before you go giving any of it away. A lawyer would be better than us. Trusting the company can be risky, if you leave how will you audit sales/usage (especially if it's internal and subject to a non-disclosure clause). It it wasn't something you owned (and could prove, even a derivative idea) then in many countries if the employer pays your paycheck all your work is 100% their property (which stinks for giving out great ideas). You are paid once and they can sell your work millions of times. – Rob Jan 31 '18 at 1:27
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What is the best way to approach my boss with the concept and what would the ramifications be?

The best way is that you don't do it. Surely you can go and present your ideas to your boss, and that would hardly be unprofessional if done properly.

However, the thing is that your idea is not patented or protected in any way; the moment you share it with your boss you put your concept at risk of being copied.

If you are lucky and they don't directly copy your idea (in case it was actually good for them) there is nothing preventing them from making such project your assigned task, as you currently are employed by them. In this scenario they will not be directly copying your idea, but making you to work on company-owned projects that look alike, or were inspired by, your idea.

As suggested in comments, it is better to go for it by yourself or get someone to invest in your idea; a safer way I must agree.

As a final warning, if you decide to do it by yourself be careful not to use company resources to develop your ideas (internet, etc.) as they may be able to claim ownership of the things made or created with their resources.

Also I work in the same building as the CEO and he said his phone was always open to call him would that be a better option?

If you still decide to proceed with this then perhaps a better setting would be a one-on-one meeting (his office maybe). Just make sure to call him before that, so you can arrange such meeting.

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Be careful, and take a good look at your employment contract. It probably says somewhere that anything you develop using the company resources belongs to them (and that includes doing it after hours).

  • Why would something I code at home outside working hours is considered property of the company? – workoverflow May 14 '18 at 11:27

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