I didn't really like the guy, he seemed slimy, The kind of guy that would never be happy and always find some way to short change you. He was, but I was hungry for business and went with the dollar signs and not my gut.
I got the contract and began making his trays. They weren't overly detailed or hard to make, but he wanted them to be stackable and so they had to be uniformed, so I made jigs for them. It took a bit of design work and some skill to come up with a jig that would serve the purpose. I knew he wouldn't foot the design bill, but he did cough up the dough for the steel.
Now he's found someone that is willing to undercut my price, though I find that hard to believe. In many of these cases, I often find the customer returning in a few months with complainst gallore, not that I'm anything special, but in this industry, you get what you pay for.
Anyways, he's asked for the jigs. Since he didn't pay for the design and manufacture of the jigs, just the material, I told him I would refund the value of the steel used or give him the raw material so the new company can build their own.
This isn't good enough for him, he's demand the jigs.
Since the intellectual property is mine, the labour cost was mine and essentialy absorbed due to my requirements of speed, accuracy and meeting his demands, are they not theoretically mine? Though he owns the steel, he did not pay for the design, nore the man hours that went into the design nor the jigs themselves.
Should I tell him to get stuffed and risk losing his business(It wouldn't kill me, and he does come with a boat load of headaches)?
Or should I eat it and hand over the jigs?