I've been working on an interesting image processing project at work. I've finally gotten the program to the point that it works, however my employer has put the project on hold due to lack of funds. They don't want to invest any more money/time to buy a robot which we would need to complete the project.
Realistically, it doesn't look like anything further is going to happen with this project. Even though my manager has estimated it would bring a saving of about $300,000 a year. More than enough to pay for the project. I think the problem is that the company is hesitant to take risks at the moment.
In my employment contract, my software belongs to the company. Although I have not had this checked out by a lawyer. The invention has not yet been patented, and I'm considering buying the IP from my employer and building the robot myself with my own money.
I should also add that I'm the only one who understands how the software and mathematics work. Also, my employer seems to be concerned to a degree about competitors getting the technology.
I guess there are a number of out comes that could come from making them an offer:
My employer recommences the project, but refuses my offer.
My employer decides to sell the IP to me, allowing the project to be completed with no risk to them.
We negotiate some kind of shared IP arrangement. (This may be the best option?)
My employer refuses offer, and does not continue project.
? some thing else I haven't considered
Are there any other options I should consider?
Which situation is most advantageous?
What steps should I take in approaching them for this offer? Should I get legal advice? How do I ensure that I get the best advice?
In the case of situation No. 4. what other options are available to me?
A certain subset of the work that I have done is pure maths. On its own, if published, would not give any competitors an advantage. If I run out of all other options, should I consider just publishing an academic paper?