Dr Fragen in the operating room

Intellectual Property


There are many companies that when you work for them part of the all your thoughts, ideas, and inventions are the property of the company. I have to believe that the *employees* of these companies have signed employment agreements and are fully aware of these clauses.
I have recently been told by my former employer that *I* was subject to such terms of my employment. This is amazing to me on several levels, not the first of which is that I was *not* an employee. I was an *independent contractor*. IANAL, but generally this meant my employer paid no payroll, Social Security, or other taxes for me. He paid my corporation and it paid my salary, benefits, taxes, etc. In fact, I would say that I don’t think we ever really had a *written* contract or agreement. We had an understanding.
What is under dispute is my registration of one or more domains, the *original* registration, and the writing of the web site. I have to disclose that I did write all the content, XHTML, and CSS for the site. This is not in dispute. My employer did not have a web presence prior to my arrival and he did not reimburse or otherwise pay for the domain registration.
Under normal circumstances, like if I was actually paid for web site services, HTML/CSS coding or as some sort of IT professional you might think that I’m being a bit of a prat. Well, let’s cut to the chase, I’m a surgeon. It’s what I did. It’s what I got paid for. It’s what my employer made a 3+ to 1 return on his investment for my services over the course of about 2 years. That’s because I was a *salaried* independent contractor. Yep, this was a real stupid move on my part, but then again I *was* being groomed to *take over* the business.
It didn’t work out. I’ve left and [*hung up my shingle*][1] elsewhere, so to speak. I created my own web site under a different domain. Most of the content is the same — I wrote it, I liked it. *All* the images are my work. So let me ask. Why should my former employer expect *ownership* of the domain and it’s content. I’ve no idea.
But wait, there’s more. I found out today that my current domain is *”too close to his and is confusing his patients”*. He would like me to change it to something else. Some nerve huh. Well, the part I’ve been omitting is my former employer is my father. Welcome to my world. I probably shouldn’t post this but WTF.