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Who Owns Tech Workers’ After-Hours Projects?

Can startup employees get around prohibitions that prevent them from selling their shares on the secondary market? That was the intriguing legal question posed to Dan McCoy, co-chair of Fenwick & West LLP’s employment practice, at a roundtable discussion Friday.

Mr. McCoy, who has represented hundreds of tech companies, said employees have little recourse, unless companies at first do not restrict the sale of shares on the secondary market and then later change their policies to tighten restrictions.

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If it’s a mobile game, the likely answer is that SGN would own the game if they are employed by SGN. But if it’s a console game, which SGN does not make, the employee could have a legal argument that SGN does not have rights to the intellectual property.