Does Your Employee's Ex Own Your Key Patent?

A recent Federal Circuit case may cause companies to reconsider their form of patent assignment agreements and give greater consideration to the effect of community property laws on patent rights.

Patent rights initially vest in the individual inventor. This general rule applies even if the inventor created the invention in the course of his employment. For this reason, companies whose business involves developing patentable technology often ask their employees to sign agreements assigning their patent rights to the company.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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