I'm finishing a post-doc and possibly going (back into) industry, but with the intent to continue research and publish papers and FOSS software.

I know that hi-tech companies typically give you this agreement to sign about them having all intellectual property rights and you having nothing - a Properitary Information Agreement.

Luckily, in my case, I'm more-or-less the first proper hire of a professional employee (it's a start-up); and the company is positive about me doing research and about them releasing (some/lots) of FOSS. So that means that there's room for negotiations.

I haven't gotten a draft of this agreement yet, but I wanted to draw on people's experience and ask: What's important to put in, and to leave out, from such an agreement? Are there particular issues I should keep an eye for to not get "burned" by understanding things one way and the company understanding them another way?


  • The field is applied computer science.
  • It's a US company, operating in Texas but registered in Delaware.
  • This depends a lot in which jurisdiction you are in. Without knowing that nobody can give you a good answer. – Attila Kinali Sep 23 '17 at 10:21
  • @AttilaKinali: See edit. – einpoklum Sep 23 '17 at 10:28
  • The state may also matter. – mkennedy Sep 24 '17 at 21:16
  • @mkennedy: Ok, state of operation and incorporation too. – einpoklum Sep 24 '17 at 21:56

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