Developing software during my free time


I work in Qatar as an IT administrator. I have developed a piece of software for my company in my free time. Developing software isn't part of my duties. If the company asks for the program's source code, what should I do? Is there any law that allows me to deny their request and keep the code?


asked Jan 3 '12 at 12:07
Supun Silva
36 points
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  • I don't know how Qatar works but what's in your employment contract in terms of ownership of code? – David Mokon Bond 12 years ago
  • Typically if you got the idea from work, and wrote it to solve a work problem etc. you should give it to your company. If you had an idea of something unrelated then you could go do whatever. But contractually or not that is what you should do. – Ryan Doom 12 years ago
  • IT administrators often code. They write scripts to automate, and often have very technical or 'coding' duties. I feel if your employer is providing you with a suitable wage and you wrote the code to solve a work problem and implement it at work. Whether it is at home or not is not important. The idea, the solution came out of work scenarios. You should give it to them. I believe it's the ethical thing to do. Otherwise: Quit your job and start up a software company. – Ryan Doom 12 years ago
  • The question needs clarity. Has the software been developed in the office hours, at office premises sitting on the office computer? Does the development platform such as the compiler etc. owned by the individual or the company? – Natwar Lath 12 years ago

5 Answers


It depends on Qatar laws on employees' inventions. I googled around and here's the take of a reliable source :

the ownership of the patent shall be assigned to the employer, if the
invention was a result of execution of a contract or a commitment for
exertion of inventive faculty, or if the employer proves that the
worker has only achieved that invention through utilisation of
facilities, aids or data available through his employment

So, if you actually developed the software in your free time, and without the facilities of the company (actually, without evidence that you used company's facilities or data), all the rights are yours. In any case, keep in mind that:

The assignment of ownership to the employer in this case shall not
prejudice the employee's right to receive special remuneration to
estimate in the light of the circumstances of the contract or the
obligation, and the economic significance of the invention. Any
agreement depriving an employee from such right of remuneration shall
be considered null and void. A patent application filed by an
employee inventor within the two years following the termination of
his services shall be regarded as having been filed during his

Hope this helps, have a chat with a local lawyer if they claim anything.
answered Jan 3 '12 at 15:33
829 points
  • The link merely leads to a table-of-contents type page. – Dana Shultz 11 years ago
  • It looks like they removed the article. Can't find a cached version either. It was a publication by ICLG on Qatar's legal system. – Veronica 11 years ago
  • I wouldn't share the source code with your employer. You may need it as a proof it was made during free time if your employer take you to the court. – Chebum 11 years ago


There is a very high probability that if requested, you will be required to provide the source code. Generally speaking, unless you are a subcontractor any work performed by you (for the company) during your employment term is considered property of said company. As David noted, you'll want to review the contract.

answered Jan 3 '12 at 12:46
Jay Decker
17 points


Do most companies really care? I'd say that the vast majority of them couldn't care less what you do in your spare time as long as it doesn't intefere with your work. Also, you state that programming is not one of your duties, so I'd say just carry on and forget about talking to a lawyer. You also say that the app is for use in your company so do you expect to sell it elsewhere. If not then I don't see a problem here at all.

If you are really worried about it then talk to your supervisor. Most of these situations can be resolved very quickly by having a quick chat with someone in a more senior position than yourself.

Good luck and congratulations on developing your app.

answered Jan 4 '12 at 10:33
Smart Company Software
22 points
  • *Do most companies really care?* - If they feel that this piece of software will make them money YOU BETCHA! – Karlson 11 years ago


For me you are not obliged to give out the source code of your projects. You have all the right to retained it.

You were not obliged to provide the source code. The best thing to do is to speak to your immediate supervisor or the person who is higher in position to you and discuss the situation to him/her.

The source code is your own masterpiece and should always be at your control. The question is that only if??? How about if not???

answered Aug 7 '12 at 16:39
1 point


NO you shouldn't give it to them if you don't want. Its not a part of your job to code, you create a code in your spare time t help the company. If the company wants the source they should give you compensation for it. Its the same way as you using a personal car to go to a conference for your job, you wouldn't give your car to the company would you? That said, how much do you like your job? Because the likely thing is if you don't give them the source, you may get fired. So its a choice to make

answered Aug 8 '12 at 12:07
820 points

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