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    The concept of intellectual property rights has become big business in our informational or computer age.

    With regard to patent, copyright, and trademark infringement, corporations have become aware of the need to protect their intellectual and intangible property interests. A couple of examples are "non-compete" clauses in contracts of their employees, and contracts with employees, that any products "invented" while working for the company belong to the company, not the employee. Chapter 11 mentions antitrust actions, which are taken in rare situations when companies step over the line and change the balance of competition. But there are situations when the company can restrict the employee.

    One illustration, that occurs occasionally in our area, is the switching of an "on-air" local TV news personality from one station to another. After a contract terminates between one station and the newscaster, for instance, that person disappears from the airwaves for a year before popping up on another station. Obviously, there was a clause in the contract called a "non-compete" clause that prohibited them from showing up in the same viewing market for a year.

    Simply put, respond to this question: IS THIS TYPE OF RESTRICTION ON ONE'S LABOR, FAIR?

    Legally, it is, if done with certain limitations. But should it be allowed? Many of these individuals have agents (lawyers) to negotiate their contracts up front. But what of the poor employee who has terrific engineering skills working for a corporation (computer or manufacturing firm) and on his/her own time invents a wonderful product. Should the company be able to sue to claim the rights to the distribution of the product? I will be interested in your experiences and comments.

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    Solution Preview

    You have to try to look at this from a different standpoint. In some circumstances, where the invention is completely different from the work performed then it is grossly unfair. If the person works for a drink ...