A Circus Quandary

Recently I’ve been in a quandary.

I’ve been working on a couple of developmental circus projects at work and I’ve found myself holding back. Why? Because anything I say or write or create isn’t mine.

My employment contract states that anything I create or develop will be the exclusive property of my employer. That’s standard enough, and when I agreed to it it wasn’t an issue. However, with these two new projects, I feel I have a certain background and certain experiences that the rest of the development team do not. I want to give myself fully – my thoughts, my ideas, my designs, my opinions – and I want to create something exceptional – and I definitely do not want to delivery something that is rubbish – but I don’t want to give away ideas and designs that could potentially be my future.

Intellectual Property is an interesting thing. You can’t see it, you can’t touch it, but you can own it and you can give it away. In fact, unless you say it or write it down it doesn’t even exist.

Today, I had a conversation with someone that has a lot of experience with dealing with intellectual property. It turns out that my current quandary is actually very simple.

I need to have a conversation.

I need to have a conversation about my intellectual property and the rights to my intellectual property. Because the fact of the matter is that I’m not going to give away what could potentially be a future business venture for me. I could be creating what I’m going to do over the next 20 or 30 years and I’m not going to hand it over without retaining the rights to what I create.

I need to have a conversation.

Thankfully, the people I need to have the conversation with are very open and willing to have this kind of conversation. And I expect that if I approach them we will be able to agree some kind of ‘royalty-free license’ so that we can both benefit from our work together.

So it turns out that my quandary is not a quandary after all. It was just a concern that I can resolve in a conversation.

Everything can be resolved in communication.

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