I am a software developer and did some freelance jobs for which I retain my PI
It will really depend on the facts and circumstances here. At this point any of us will have more questions than answers.
Most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consult and I would advise that you reach out to a lawyer to discuss your specific situation in more detail.
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Well, you need to provide more information for this question. Like do you have contract with the company or did you register the product that you made and what is the basis for your suspicion.
DISCLAIMER—This answer is for informational purposes only. It doesn't constitute legal advice. This answer doesn't create attorney client relationship.
5 lawyers agree
You can hire an attorney to investigate your suspicions and evaluate whether you have retained the rights to your IP or if it was a "work for hire." If your suspicion is true and you have retained the IP rights (I am assuming copyright to the code you wrote), then the attorny would ask whether you have registered your work for copyright (as damages are greatly increased when a copyright is registered). With this knowledge, the attorney would help you decide which is the best forum to bring a lawsuit or whether it is preferred to enter into negotiations, or many other options which would arise from the facts as they are uncovered.
Feel free to contact me or any of the knowledgeable copyright attorneys here on AVVO. Most of us offer a free confidential consultation.
My disclaimer is simply that Avvo already has an adequate disclaimer.
Intellectual Property Law Attorney
You retain IP litigation counsel, review all the facts and circumstances with such counsel, request such counsel to conduct a fact investigation, and then work out an appropriate licensing or litigation strategy. Without knowing many more facts and details, no lawyer can give you meaningful strategic advice.
Securities / Investment Fraud Attorney
As my colleagues stated U have the appropriate documentation/ proof for retention of your rights. Did u consider to address the issue with the company u develop the software for? I understand that hiring an American attorney is costly so the best advice is :
Put together any paperwork/digital proof that substantiate you are the developer of the software.
Then explore the possibility a law firm to represent you on contingency . Meaning the lawyers will be paid upon successful outcome of your case.
But The First step is to pay in an hourly base an IP lawyer to evaluate your case.
If your allegation have merits and economic value IP lawyers may represent you on contingency .
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1 lawyer agrees
Patent Application Attorney
I agree with my colleagues that before doing much you need to get enough information so you can be confident that the software being sold by this US company is in fact yours. Also, you should review your contract to understand what the US company is allowed to do with the work they (presumably) paid you to do. After all, if they paid you to develop software for them, they surely are entitled to use it to some extent. Also, 1) do you have any patent rights? And 2) if not, how long ago did you write the software, and for how long has it been on sale (or in public use)? If it has been less than a year, then, depending on the facts, you may be entitled to patent protection, which opens certain opportunities for getting compensation.
In any case, I'd suggest getting as much information as possible and then talking it over with an IP lawyer.
Of course there's more to it! Plus, we don't have an attorney-client relationship. This brief comment is for information only, and must not be relied upon as legal advice.