When Companies Try to Own You

I was checking out this post from Web Worker Daily, and caught the link to Hasan Luongo’s tale of IP woe.  Apparently he started working on a startup without quitting his day job.  He was fired, and not content with severing his employment, his former company sued him without even turning around.  Pretty vindictive.  Among his lessons learned, he notes:

4) Don’t underestimate the potential vindictiveness of your employer. While managers and executives may strive to appear supportive and understanding, their primary responsibility is to protect and defend their company. Once your relationship with the company is severed, all good will is out the window. Prepare for this ahead of time.

5) Don’t be bullied. Companies don’t want long legal fights, and good CEOs are experts at talking tough. They will set arbitrary deadlines in your negotiations and warn you against engaging in a legal fight, but don’t loose your cool. Most importantly, don’t let them scare you. This is happening because you have developed something they want.

This is happening because of greed.  Simply put, there is a legal chance the company in question (who appears to be E-Myth Worldwide) can make money off of work done on his own time, and so they pursue it.  This also puts the fear of corporate into their current employees.  It all cycles back to the combination of profit and control that drive corporate interests.

Ethically this is thievery.

We can help:

I’ve been blogging about the IP contest, and contacting third-party blogs to generate some buzz. While I have not yet named the company and am seeking to resolve the matter as quickly and quietly as possible, [my lawyers tell me] it is important to leverage all available resources in my defense.

We can contact his former employer (politely but firmly), and branch out to their clients and business associates.  We can let them know this behaviour is not viewed well by the community at large.  We are employees, not serfs.

We can also check out his new startup, and help create some buzz.

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