I'm a master student in Computer Science and currently writing my master's thesis in collaboration with a company. In our original agreement regarding compensation, the organisation and I agreed that the aspects of the work that was closely linked to my research would be free, whereas the work that had little to do with research would be compensated for. In the original agreement, however, we never agreed on what this compensation would be nor how big it would be (I know, this was silly of me) but there is documentation of this agreement.

The issue now is that the company hasn't really given me any data nor resources so I've had to do everything from scratch. In addition, they are quite demanding and also adamant to put the code that I produce in production once I have finished and I'm certain that they'll be able to achieve substantial growth using the module that I'm developing. All these factors have made me inclined to approach them and try to negotiate a deal now, before it gets too late and messier.

How should I go about this so that both I and the company are left happy?

Note: Where I am from all the IP rights relating to research is by law granted to the student, which means that I own all the code that I am producing whilst writing my thesis.

  • 2
    Depending on whether you have a contract with the company (or something that's basically an "oral contract"), the code you produce might belong to the company. Additionally, the university might still have some parts on the IP concerning the research. Just as a food for thoughts as jurisdiction might differ wildly (and it might be more complex than "student owns all the IP").... – Stephan Z. Feb 19 at 8:30
  • 1
    It would be wise to mention in which country/state this is. – perenniallydisappointed Feb 19 at 13:54
  • 2
    I suspect that "student owns all the IP" really means that the university can make no claim on your work. But that is unlikely to also apply to an employer. If you are paid to do something they probably own what you produce. But, if they have given you nothing, you might have way to just step away, keeping all of your IP. That might be a better option than getting paid, actually. – Buffy Feb 19 at 20:40
  • The major key point here seems to be that these things were not nailed down before you started. This is a non-trivial part of your life. How you get paid and how much you get paid and who owns the software need to be clear before you start. – puppetsock Feb 20 at 14:51
  • Thanks for you inputs! It was made clear from the beginning that I would own all code that is being produced whilst doing this project and this is also written in the contract. I am doing my degree in Scandinavia and have already checked with my university regarding the rules. It is clearly stated that students have the right to the conclusions of their thesis so I am good on that front – upperefficiency Feb 21 at 11:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.