I got an idea that will be really helpful on my current job. I will make this software eventually to every other companies that want to use it, but for now only my employer will have access to it. This lead to my question: Should I tell them about this project?

I'm finishing my concept state and will take me like 3 months to build at least a Beta build. The software will be free with a (optional) subscription for more functions.

  • 1
    This really depends on where you are working on it and what equipment you are using... if the employer is in any way tied to either of these, the employer owns the projects whether you tell them about it now or not.
    – Scott
    Jul 26, 2016 at 21:48
  • @Scott no he isn't, I'm working on my home, and using my own PC. It's a personal project they just will be able to use it if they want and before online release. Jul 26, 2016 at 22:04
  • Okay, but be aware... if the employer even feels like the IDEA for the project was spawned by a need at their company... you're in for a battle. This is one area where even ideas can be somewhat claimed. I'm not saying it's right or correct, just that many companies feel work in your field is what you were hired for...and that includes all work on or off the clock. (Sort of an implicit non-compete clause if not direct.)
    – Scott
    Jul 27, 2016 at 20:17
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this has nothing to do with freelancing.
    – Xavier J
    Jul 28, 2016 at 14:05
  • this would probably do better on workplace.stackexchange.com
    – user152
    Jul 28, 2016 at 19:39

3 Answers 3


IMHO, and I know I am late to this question, do NOT tell your current company about this.

Your plan should be something like:

  1. Develop it in secret.
  2. Leave when almost ready and you have some savings to live off, work your notice, leave on great terms, tell them you are always about should they ever need your help, or input, or questions answered. Be the ideal employee upon leaving. You are going to need them again.
  3. Start your own company
  4. Build your company site, brand, contracts etc whilst user testing your product. Encrypt your product, produce licensing agreemnts etc. This all takes time.
  5. Hopefully a few months will have passed now, hopefully 2-3, time to approach your old company. As far as they are concerned, you started this after you left them. That is your story and stick to it.
  6. Offer it for FREE to your old company. You know them, they know you, use it as a production test and for feedback and debugging etc. Say you provide 3 months free support but if they want to keep using it they can, but if they want support after that it will cost them, but keep it at a price that would be unarguably great value. They are doing you a favor by giving your software credibility. Offer them free updates for life (again free testing for you). It is a win/win situation.
  7. Use this installation as a test case profile for your new business, and get selling your proven, used, and fully tested software.

Good luck,



Dangerous territory here... But I'll bite.

If you can guarantee (likely with a lawyer's advice/help) that you developed it on your own time on your own equipment in your own home, you may have a case to keep it to yourself. Did you sign an Employment Agreement that stated the company owns anything you do? Check that out.

Next, do you have it hosted elsewhere, such as your GitHub page? With a License file attached to it? Added insurance, as most employers will happily take their employee's hard-made products for themselves, because they believe they own the employee. Because they believe this, they want to own anything they create.

Finally, how would your product help the company? Are you willing to do 24/7 support if something breaks, or they want new features added yesterday? You should license it to them, via a company you form, and just happen to be president of. Don't do it as an individual, if you plan on keeping work and private life separate.

Be prepared for them to say no if you charge them, unless it can solve a BIG problem; be prepared to be asked to support it free of charge if they say yes. Good luck


In France if the development is tied to your current activity (and it seems to be it from what you say) then the company can claim it as its own. Only way in that case would be to have someone else publish it or wait to be in another company.

  • You have a point, the thing is I'm developing this software under my studio name no as individual at all as Canadian Luke said before, although i'm working alone until my partner finish with our other project. So the software will be created by Arcade Perfect and I'm just the programmer & CEO. Jul 28, 2016 at 6:17
  • That's really good then. I suppose that the employer you are talking about is a client then there is no problem at all (reading you question I was thinking you were in that company and not in mission for them). As they don't need to know you were alone working on the alpha but as a software developed by your company then that's the best situation I think. be careful that it is something unrelated with your current mission else it could still be difficult to sell. Jul 29, 2016 at 6:23

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