Developers · IP Strategy

We did contract software development, now we want to build our own product


Last updated on July 20th, 2017

Dear Founders,

Need a quick advice for a safe and legal approach to our dilemma.

Our team have developed software in the logistics space for a large client, of course, with NDA & IP transfer and such. That's fair as we're building based on their specification but with our own internal expertise as well.

However, as we develop capacity and funds, we want to develop our own product leveraging on the experience gained from the whole process as a startup. How do my team develop similar solutions for different markets? What should be our approach without getting entangled in legal and IP issues?

James Abel Software/Hardware Engineer

April 10th, 2017

What's in your existing license agreement? If you have no license to the software (the client owns all rights) and no IP ownership, then you have to start all over with a 'clean room' approach. Also check for a non-compete clause in the agreement. There is some good news in that, within the bounds of any agreement(s), you do get to retain 'skills' from the experience (no one expects you to wipe your brain of the experience entirely). If you pursue this make sure you document what you do - e.g. ensure that engineers aren't retaining client code, the 'clean room' environment you're set up, etc. Make sure you avoid the 'appearance of evil'.

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer. I'm making no claims to the correctness of any of this.

Steve Owens Startup Expert

April 10th, 2017

All the people I know in the service business, want to be in the products business.

All the people I know in the products business, want to be in the service business.

Wherever you go, there you are.

Focus on fixing what you do not like about your existing business. Switching strategies all the time is a bad strategy.


April 10th, 2017

Be honest to yourself..would you have developed the platform with your team if you did not have this customer? Your expertise was Domain or Technology ? I presume technology...

Aluu Paschal

July 20th, 2017

It will be advice able to consult and conduct a statistical survey that is supervised by relevant agencies in line with set objectives