Who owns the prototypes?

By tecminn ·
I was hired to create 50 schematics. They wanted them in PDF format and Word.

I asked if they wanted them in a format that would allow for changes by their own people but they said no because they didnt own the software anyway.

I delivered the completed drawings, client happy, paid bill.

They have hired a new person to do some work for them and this new person wants all of my drawings that I created in the format that would allow the drawings to be changed.

Do I give them the drawings in the format of the application I created them in or do I charge them for the 'prototypes' since the contract was for finished product in word/pdf format only?

Wanting to be fair but unclear as to what is 'right'.

Would appreciate your opinions.

Thank you,


PS - I maybe should have posted this under the discussion area - sorry.

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

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All Answers

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RE: Prototypes

by toughguy000 In reply to Who owns the prototypes?

In my eyes if it was not outlined in the contract that they wanted "All information" from the project given to them then the prototypes are yours. If you wish to charge them for it it's all up to you.

Basically they have seen your work, but want to "Replace" you with a less expensive choice, so they want the drawings so they won't have to pay the new person as much to recreate the drawings.

Either discuss a deal with them, or tell them to take a hike as most likely they won't be coming back for more business in the future if they hired someone else.

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Since You Made The Original Offer ...

by Wayne M. In reply to Who owns the prototypes?

Assuming you originally offered the schematics in a different format and assuming you did not attach any cost to that option originally, I would recommend just providing the requested format now.

Some caveats. If you originally offered the alternate format as a separately priced item, that pricing would still apply. If there are any significant costs that you will incur to recreate the requested format now, then it would be reasonable to charge for those costs.

If you originally considered the alternate format to be a free option, it would just make good business sense to offer it now as a free offer. You will build good relations with the new person and open the door to additional work.

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Welcome to the sticky world of Intellectual Property Rights

by faradhi In reply to Who owns the prototypes?

This is always a tough one. What was spelled out in the contract?

If in your contract and it stated that you own the drawings, then you may choose to give them the drawings or charge them for the drawings. This is really up to you since you own the drawings.

However, if the contract they own the drawing and you were to just provide them the drawings in the format specified, then I would say that you should just hand over the drawings and be done with it. Just charging them for your cost.

Finally, If it were me, I would just hand over the drawings either way and ask for any expenses you incur from complying. If you were willing to give them the drawings earlier, the what has changed? Just that they asked for it later.

Hope this helps. I am sure others will have a take.

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Price would have been different

by tecminn In reply to Welcome to the sticky wor ...

I outlined in my proposal 2 different prices. 1) Drawings that allowed for their inside people to make changes 2) Finished product only.

(To be quite honest I forgot all about the original proposal.)

I will pull out the document and send it along and just ask for the difference.

That is fair.

Thank you very much.


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I would

by Dr Dij In reply to Price would have been dif ...

ask for the difference first, ok it with them and send them the drawings if they agree to pay.

don't tell them to take a hike. that employee may not be there forever.

If they don't own a copy of the software to create the drawings in then you of course can't provide this free. Besides being illegal it would be really stupid of you to do that, not in your own interests. they need to buy their own copy.

if they have dift software and you need to convert it they should pay for that

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