Ethical dilemma


CDNBear
#1
One of my first contracts was with a restaurant supplier who wanted to make his own 2Bstainless serving/prep trays.

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?
 
hermanntrude
#2
I'm notr sure of the legal situation but it seems that logically the jigs are yours. Unless there's some kind of contract which mentions them as being his property as part of the deal. Perhaps you should have patented them and then you could have charged him for the use of the intellectual property.

I suspect in this situation the jigs might belong to whomever has the more expensive lawyer
 
Tonington
#3
Did you offer to sell the designs? If he doesn't go for that, which is a fair compromise, I'd tell him to shove the steel up his rectum.

I'm assuming you didn't register the design as intellectual property, but still, I'll also bet the agreement you entered into didn't include transfer of your ideas or "inventiveness". I don't know what the hoops are like to jump through Bear, they might not be worth it for every design you fabricate. Might be worth looking into though.

strategis.ic.gc.ca/sc_mrksv/c...it/gl_i-e.html (external - login to view)
Theres some info here.
 
Kreskin
#4
Give him back raw material. Nothing more.
 
Tonington
#5
Appears the cost for an industrial design registration is $400 plus some expense for additional pages($10 for each page after ten pages of your drawings). This site says you have 12 months to appply after your design has been published (meaning it's public, or offered for commercial use.)

https://strategis.ic.gc.ca/sc_mrksv/...ng_form-e.html (external - login to view)
 
karrie
#6
Intellectual design is yours unless you were on his property, being paid a wage or salary by him when you designed them. I'm assuming he's paying on a piecework basis, and you're working out of your own space, so it is your intellectual property.
 
hermanntrude
#7
if the raw material was the customer's, does that not mean that the final product is at least partially his? and therefore he CAN demand it back? and the intellectual property isnt registered as such so the customer could then reverse engineer it or even just draw designs and pretend he made them himself?
 
espressoguy
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

Did you offer to sell the designs? If he doesn't go for that, which is a fair compromise, I'd tell him to shove the steel up his rectum.

 
CDNBear
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by hermanntrudeView Post

I'm notr sure of the legal situation but it seems that logically the jigs are yours. Unless there's some kind of contract which mentions them as being his property as part of the deal. Perhaps you should have patented them and then you could have charged him for the use of the intellectual property.

I suspect in this situation the jigs might belong to whomever has the more expensive lawyer

That won't be me herm. At present, I'm po reddish trash. This time of year, with 90 day/upon completion contracts, I have money leaving my account, but not much going in, lol.
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

Did you offer to sell the designs? If he doesn't go for that, which is a fair compromise, I'd tell him to shove the steel up his rectum.

I'm assuming you didn't register the design as intellectual property, but still, I'll also bet the agreement you entered into didn't include transfer of your ideas or "inventiveness". I don't know what the hoops are like to jump through Bear, they might not be worth it for every design you fabricate. Might be worth looking into though.

strategis.ic.gc.ca/sc_mrksv/c...it/gl_i-e.html (external - login to view)
Theres some info here.

Thanx Ton. I will look into that, but it really isn't an industry norm, I did some asking around. Most jigs are one offs and the customer doesn't contract it, it isn't theirs. In this case, it wasn't contracted for. I told him I could build them faster and with greater accuracu if I built jigs. He asked how much the material would cost, I told him, he whipped out his wallet and gave me cash.
Quote: Originally Posted by KreskinView Post

Give him back raw material. Nothing more.

I love the way you think Kreskin, that's what I was thinking. That or as one of my guys said, well my lead hand, and she isn't a guy, but one of them, cut them down and send them on in buckets.
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

Appears the cost for an industrial design registration is $400 plus some expense for additional pages($10 for each page after ten pages of your drawings). This site says you have 12 months to appply after your design has been published (meaning it's public, or offered for commercial use.)

https://strategis.ic.gc.ca/sc_mrksv/...ng_form-e.html (external - login to view)

Hmmmm? By published, is it meant built or actually published somewhere?
 
hermanntrude
#10
actually, here's an idea:

melt down the jigs and give him the steel back in blocks, then re-make your own jigs and register the design.
 
Tonington
#11
I believe in your case the published would mean once the product is being produced from said design. If he flexes some muscle flex right back. It's apparently pretty expensive to take these cases to court, and not worth his effort.

Not sure how many people he knows. If he is as big a prick as he sounds, hopefully word of mouth won't hurt your business Bear. Again, I say give him what for if he wants to push things.
 
eh1eh
#12
No ethics involved. They are your jigs. Put the design in your portfolio. Someone else may want trays like that and be willing to pay for the quality. The other company probably gave him a lower price based on him bringing the jigs. I've run across his type in my bussiness too. Hand him a salt shaker and tell him to get pounding all the way to his cheap trays. I too have had cutomers come back because I was doing what they wanted at a reasonable price. A dollar saved isn't always a dollar earned.
 
CDNBear
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by hermanntrudeView Post

actually, here's an idea:

melt down the jigs and give him the steel back in blocks, then re-make your own jigs and register the design.

I like the way you think too!!! I won't need to rebuild them if I piss him off, he won't come back, lol. At this point though, I'm starting to not give a ****.
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

I believe in your case the published would mean once the product is being produced from said design. If he flexes some muscle flex right back. It's apparently pretty expensive to take these cases to court, and not worth his effort.

Not sure how many people he knows. If he is as big a prick as he sounds, hopefully word of mouth won't hurt your business Bear. Again, I say give him what for if he wants to push things.

The word of mouth thing might hurt a bit, especially in the restaurant area, but most of the kitchens I do are residential anyways. They pay top end, resaurant designers are nickle and dimers.
Quote: Originally Posted by eh1ehView Post

No ethics involved. They are your jigs. Put the design in your portfolio. Someone else may want trays like that and be willing to pay for the quality. The other company probably gave him a lower price based on him bringing the jigs. I've run across his type in my bussiness too. Hand him a salt shaker and tell him to get pounding all the way to his cheap trays. I too have had cutomers come back because I was doing what they wanted at a reasonable price. A dollar saved isn't always a dollar earned.

So I meet another one that uses the "pound salt" line, I had never heard that before. I've now met three people that use that, lol.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanx for the support guys. I'm going through a new dilemma, I have an email here from him, that is quite a bute. I'ld love to post it, but I think that's going to far.
 
hermanntrude
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by CDNBearView Post

I have an email here from him, that is quite a bute. I'ld love to post it, but I think that's going to far.

you could PM it to us all
 
eh1eh
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by hermanntrudeView Post

you could PM it to us all

Love to see that Bear, in confidence of corse.
 
Tonington
#16
I think if you send him this Bear, he'll get the picture:
 
I think not
#17
Customers like that aren't worth the time contemplating what to do.

Minimize your losses. Do not give him shyt. Don't look back. Onto bigger and better things.
 
TenPenny
#18
Unless he specifically contracted with you to make the jigs and fixtures, they are your property.

Professional photgraphers keep their negatives, even of your wedding pics. Same thing.

Industrial manufacturers contract out their castings, but they make their own patterns and keep ownership of them.

You are well within your rights to ignore his request. On the other hand, you could offer to sell them for, say, $650,800.00
 
selfactivated
#19
I have no clue what to tell you but I have a Justice Bundle I'll activate (you know what that is) for you.....in the mean time? I say go with Hermann's idea *kiss*
 
CDNBear
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

I think if you send him this Bear, he'll get the picture:

rotflmffao!!! I should email that to him for sure, if he sends me another email, I will.
Quote: Originally Posted by I think notView Post

Customers like that aren't worth the time contemplating what to do.

Minimize your losses. Do not give him shyt. Don't look back. Onto bigger and better things.

That's the spirit ITN, I'm planning on it.
Quote: Originally Posted by TenPennyView Post

Unless he specifically contracted with you to make the jigs and fixtures, they are your property.

Professional photgraphers keep their negatives, even of your wedding pics. Same thing.

Industrial manufacturers contract out their castings, but they make their own patterns and keep ownership of them.

You are well within your rights to ignore his request. On the other hand, you could offer to sell them for, say, $650,800.00

You aren't the first to say that Ten, though the number was way higher, lol. I just want a fair remuneration for my time and effort, that's all.

He never contracted me to build them persay, he gave me the money to cover the cost of the steel and that's it. But at no time was there a contract over their design nor manufacture.
Quote: Originally Posted by selfactivatedView Post

I have no clue what to tell you but I have a Justice Bundle I'll activate (you know what that is) for you.....in the mean time? I say go with Hermann's idea *kiss*

As always, my Goddess. Thanx self.
 
selfactivated
#21
Again *tears* I needed that.
 
El Barto
#22
Bear your jigs are worth something. Make a price for it or it stays where it is thats it!
Pay him back the material minus your troubles if it goes there. I know your insecurities towards losing business, but if you let your self walked on you will create that for a reputation too.
My opinion.
Easy to say it now but this is something you can avoid in the future.
P>S> like to see that E-mail too.
 
El Barto
#23
Bear look up your provincial laws on the subject.
Posting that in his face might back him off a little.
 
El Barto
#24
Call your provincial rep. They might guide you to what to do short of getting a lawyer.
 
El Barto
#25
nothing was signed was it?
then if so you may have leverage
 
westmanguy
#26
CDNBear... do nothing!

He'll get the message if you ignore his emails, and if he confronts your or calls your home, you give him back the steel or the value of the steel, and tell him nothing else.
 
GenGap
#27
Actually you should patent the jigs. Yet that is more $ lost. He would go away.

Tell him that you own them outright, and he wants them you can have them patented for him with
futher cost to him of course.

I'm sure if you research patents, they is a clause in there stating that they are yours even without the patent.
 
CDNBear
#28
Thanx for all the support guys, much appreciated.

I have pretty much come to the conclusion, that I will be keeping them. Until I cut them up that is.

I know it seems petty, but for the strife and grief this *** has put me through over the past couple years and the fact that I likely won't see the money he already owes me, it seems quite fair. Not to mention that slurs the man has thrown around about me and some of my associates.

I have asked a couple guys in the industry, who have told me that I erred when I took money from him for the jigs. They stated I could just hand over the jigs, chaulk it up as a learning experience and move on, but I'm to much the Bear to do that. When they build jigs for their convenience, it is out of their pocket if they were not part of the contract. In this case, they say I should refund his money, but I have no legal obligation to hand over what is my design and my labour, lest he pay me for it. I highly doubt that will happen, so I guess he's SOL.

I won't put myself in this position again, I can garauntee that.
 
I think not
#29
Bear, leave emotions aside, I know its hard to do sometimes, but this is business.

Weigh your options, look at the cost factor involved if he happens to sue. Even if he doesn't have a leg to stand on, that doesn't mean he won't sue, it all depends what type of person he is and how much he believes he is getting the bad end of the deal.

If there is no additional cost impact to you, consider giving him what he wants, perhaps you can both make a compromise, a few bucks in exchange for the jigs.

Do you have an attorney? If he hasn't paid you, a lien or lawsuit may be something YOU should be looking into (not sure about laws up there).

My initial reaction to your post, was f*ck him, that's emotional talk. Look at it from a strictly business point of view, what is going to cost you less and make you more money. That's the issue here.
 
MikeyDB
#30
Bear

When you take your car to the garage to get it fixed...you're paying for the mechanics training and ability. The fee charged by the mechanic is (supposedly) a rate of compensation commensurate with the skills and abilities he or she can bring to resolving the issue or problem that resulted in your seeking out this expertise in the first place.

You aren't requried to pay anything more than the fee charged for services rendered..and any parts or consumables..ie. oil, grease, WD-40 etc. Similarly, your verbal contract with this person was for trays..and if it cost you something to produce those trays, you're entitled to reimbursement for the time and material it took to ensure the product was satisfactory to your customer. You aren't under any obligation to hand over anything that wasn't initially agreed-upon in your contract with this consumer.

No ethical dilema Bear...just someone who's hoping they can turn the tables on you to gain an advantage over the person he/she would give your 'jigs' to...to beat that other player down in price..

Relax Bear, you owe this character nothing.
 

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