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 Post subject: SKM file ownership
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:04 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2009 3:10 pm
Posts: 25
I own my own license for my skm software. I purchased the software with my own money. A company has hired my engineering firm to do some arc flash analysis work for them. They now claim that those skm files (for that particular job) belong to them. I don't believe that is the case. I am willing to let them buy those files from me and assume all liability for them.

What is normal is this situation? Any recommendations out there?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:48 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:35 am
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Location: Wisconsin
We feel that the SKM project files belong to the customer, even though we do not automatically provide them with every report.

After all, if your report includes the INPUT report, the OUTPUT report, TCC's and one-lines, then you already provide enough information for your SKM file to be manually re-created anyways.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:21 pm 
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I understand what you saying. However, if I am doing a design project and creating drawings I don't give up my AutoCad files. There is a big liability with doing so. Same thing in my mind with the skm files.

Anyway, thanks for the reply.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:55 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:59 pm
Posts: 70
Location: Milwaukee WI
File ownership

Similar process here. My company paid an engineering company to do some SKM studies. Since those outside studies were done, my company acquired SKM for me to use.

I asked the engineering company for the SKM files, and they gave them gladly, no additional charge. That was a pleasant surprise. My company had provided all the input data and schematics to the engineering company, for them to create the SKM studies from.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:26 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 9:17 am
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Location: Spartanburg, South Carolina
We furnish the SKM files if requested, with no charge. Why not? If you want to retain the files so that it is more difficult for the client to update the analysis later themselves, or to have another firm use the SKM files, then you probably won't get follow-on work anyway.

We also furnish AutoCAD files when required. We do remove engineering seals and keep a record copy of all drawings.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 1:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 05, 2007 10:10 am
Posts: 45
Location: Mid-West
Contract??

jghrist wrote:
then you probably won't get follow-on work anyway.

We also furnish AutoCAD files when required. We do remove engineering seals and keep a record copy of all drawings.


I completely agree to maintain a good relationship why not, just remove any electronic seals and keep a copy of what you delivered to the client. I am also inclined to know what your contract reads between you and your client and what it states the deliverables are? If you only deliverable was a final report and not the actual files then you could reasonably charge for the files as an additional cost as the deliverables was only the report, a firm I used to work for had a policy that there was a charge for files (AutoCAD or otherwise) but is was usually only enforced on when someone was in a pissing contest for the most part it was not an issue, and was a good way to maintain happy clients that equals repeat business...


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:36 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 7:10 pm
Posts: 248
Location: NW USA
This is not unlike any other engineering work and who owns the product will be determined by how the contract reads. (that is the theory)

Now the reality:
1) When I have completed work for the government they decided that they owned everything I did and in fact took a small, one-place design to incorporate as a standard.
2) I have put large disclaimers on drawing completed for electrical contractors because they often do not respect the time it takes to put together intellectual property and will use the same design on other projects (or in one case, were using my design for a competing proposal!).
3) I don't resist sharing files much with good, large customers and actually would prefer engineering to be a joint owner-consultant partnership than carrying the responsibility 100%. These guys are not apt to take my stuff to a competitor of mine.
4) In one case where my customer's power plant was sold to the regional power company, the power company asked for my files saying it was part of the previous obligation. I politely declined and said we had no contract in place but I would be happy sign one.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:24 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:07 pm
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Location: North Florida
If I pay for the study, then I get the files. Same goes for anyone doing engineering for me in AutoCad - you must provide the files. That is unless you specifically stated this exclusion in your original proposal and they accepted those terms.

I don't see that you have any more liability than you did when you wrote the report to them. It's the report with your findings that exposes you - not the files.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:14 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:38 am
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Location: Westminster, MD
I'm with the majority of the responders here...the SKM files belong to the customer, unless contracted otherwise.
John M


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