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The Ethics Coach Tackles Thorny Issues of Ownership and If Pay-for-Play Is Ever OK Our resident ethics coach tackles your tricky ethical dilemmas, such as is 'you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours' ever an acceptable business practice?

By Gael O'Brien

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Do you have an ethical dilemma?
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Q: I helped develop and brand an app while working at my current company. I see more potential for the app than my company does and would like to take ownership of the brand for a new company I'm launching. I had a conversation with my employers about the subject, and they don't seem interested in turning the app over to me. Can I patent the idea on my own?

A: You fell for the product you were paid to create, but--no matter your vision--it's spoken for. If your employers are open to further discussions, try to find a mutually beneficial solution. If they won't sell the product to you outright, discuss ways you can partner after you leave. But if they say no, that's where it ends.

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