As part of your employment agreement, Google most likely owns intellectual property (IP) you create while at the company. Because Google’s business interests are so wide and varied, this likely applies to any personal project you have. That includes new development on personal projects you created prior to employment at Google. However, we understand and sympathize with the desire to explore and ship technology projects outside of Google. To accommodate this and to support Google engineers’ creativity, we created the Invention Assignment Review Committee (IARC). This group reviews a given employee’s project and will provide guidelines for how to keep that project separate from Google. We don’t approve every project submitted through this process, but historically we’ve been able to rapidly approve the vast majority of them.
You only need to go through this process if you want a copyright release to something – if you don’t mind Google retaining copyright and just want to open source it, seriously consider releasing it as open source through go/releasing or go/patching. Google is proud to release a great deal of open source code, and you can still list yourself as the author when using that process. The go/patching process specifically is much faster than IARC and is the preferred mechanism for patching existing projects.
The IARC process is only open to full time employees in good standing. The IARC only assigns the copyright in your project upon approval – it does not assign any patent rights or other IP rights Google may own. IARC does not require that approved projects be released as open source.
IARC review is a voluntary service Google provides to employees and it is not required either by the employment agreement or local labor laws. In particular, employment law or contracts may define rights you may have to your personal projects. However, you may still need to seek an ownership determination with regard to potential patent rights (go/idf), as well as a determination with respect to Code of Conduct (go/coc).
- Read the Official Policy
- Submit the IARC Request Form
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