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01-05-2013, 03:53 PM #1Regular Guest
- Join Date
- Jul 2006
Help! Someone stole my engineering!!
We had a customer that requested our CAD files and we foolishly provided them. They in turn "resubmitted" our work with their name on it and have broken their contract with us. They fancy themselves control contractors now. The drawings have a standard not to be reproduced or transferred without permission on them. Is this considered intellectual property theft? What if anything can be done about it?
01-05-2013, 04:10 PM #2
At some time they where your customer and paid you to do the engineering right? so should they not have the right to use the drawings? I know that it seems wrong for them to re-use your drawings with their name on them, maybe your contract should state that any copies/re-use of the drawings should at least have a originally drawn by box on them.
Kevin"Profit is not the legitimate purpose of business. The legitimate purpose of business is to provide a product or service that people need and do it so well that it's profitable."
01-05-2013, 05:35 PM #3Regular Guest
- Join Date
- Jan 2013
In Sandler Sales training you learn that your prospects and customers view the purchase process as an opportunity to get you to "spill your candy" without making a purchase. It is very difficult to take back engineering or your valuable insight once they have it. The reality is, they will probably not do the job properly, and since you know where it is going, you have the opportunity to do a direct sale of services to the new client. It gives you the chance to educate the client how poorly they performed.
01-05-2013, 07:06 PM #4Aire Serv of SW Connecticut- Gas heat, dual fuel and central a/c systems installed and serviced
01-05-2013, 07:57 PM #5Professional Member
- Join Date
- Oct 2005
If you had that notice on your drawings, I'd talk to a lawyer. And if that didn't help, I'd advise the A/E firms and project owner what happened, and disclaim all responsibility for the accuracy of your drawings. That would let them know the real story and give you a reason for notifying them.
01-05-2013, 08:29 PM #6
Yes, I've seen that with every controls jobs bid, only when they get the job they corrected the drawings.
01-05-2013, 09:39 PM #7
What they did was not ethecal.
Unfortunately it is what happens in the controls industry and many other similar industries, almost every day.
Your situation may have a couple of issues that would likely cause your legal council to advise you to be more careful in the future, but that you do not have gounds for a successful "cause of action":
1. Unless you can factually prove that you lost money directly caused by them using you drawings, you will not likely sustain a cause of action. Even if you did win, the only results would likely be your lost profit on that project, likely not enough to cover the cost of litigation.
2. There is very little "original concept" in any control engineering drawings in the last 10 to 20 years. Chances are that some portion of your "engineering drawings", could be derivative work of others that you may have over time, customized onto your title block, this however doesn't make your work "original work". I am not saying that that is what you did, but they would test you "originality" in the discovery process.
3. We have used non disclosure and non compete contracts to prevent this, and I still find my original works on plubic plans and specs by large engineering firms (cut and paste functionality is the first thing designers seem to learn in school).
Anyway, sorry to see you experience this, yet, learn from it, and now you will be a bit smarter as time moves on.
Best part of it, you discovered a RAT that you should nave no further dealings with.
Drac"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit" Aristotle
Remember to "Pay it Forward"; help out the newer generation of techs, remember someone during our career helped us! ("Pay it Forward" was by someone smarter than me!!)
01-06-2013, 12:11 AM #8Professional Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2008
- Near Philly
01-06-2013, 12:24 AM #9
send me a copy of your cad drawings. i will copy er i mean take a look and give you my opinion. seriously, i always send my submittals as pdf's. once we got the job and money was changing hands if they wanted the cad files i would send them. what are you supposed to do? this is is a small industry. if you want to keep bidding to, and working for these companys you dont have much of a choice.
what dracula said is on the money. drawings can be time consuming but there is really no secrets anymore. this has become a cut and paste industry. the engineering is in the programming not the drawings. most of what i do i have learned from looking at other peoples stuff.IV IV IX
use your head for something other than a hat rack.......Gerry
01-06-2013, 03:01 AM #10
If you look at mapmakers work you will find that they draw in extra dead end roads that don't exist. That way they know and can prove in court when they have been illegally obtained...the defendant looks like a tool in court, judge finds for the plaintiff, and Bob's your uncle.
Add a circuit with a timer that sets off an alarm or phone dialer not easily found that only you can fix. Show up at their customers doorstep with the drawings and your story of their deceit...it will get their customers wary at least.
Or just spray fox urine on the front step of their business. Trust me on this.
01-06-2013, 09:02 AM #11Regular Guest
- Join Date
- Jul 2006
Thanks for the thoughts guys
01-06-2013, 11:49 AM #12
01-06-2013, 12:00 PM #13
Never done it but it is some nasty odor. Your nose tries to hide in your face.
Some behavior almost requires that smell to go with it. Just sayin'.