IP Assignment Agreements

News & Analysis as of

Employers Don’t Own Your Brain; They Merely Rent it

New Jersey is apparently about to join the list of states with statutes that protect the rights of inventors. Generally, inventions made by employees belong to the employee, unless (1) that employee was specifically hired to...more

EPO Begins Enforcing Dual-Party Execution of Assignments

We have previously noted that assignments executed solely by the assignor (e.g., an inventor when assigning rights to their employer) are technically deficient in Europe due to a difference between U.S. and European law. In...more

Paying for software development? Make sure you own it!

In a digital society dominated by the saying, “there’s an app for that,” copyright protection is essential. Paying to have a work created does not automatically vest ownership of the copyright in the paying party. When making...more

Intellectual Property in Medicine: Initial Considerations

Physicians are well-positioned to generate new inventions and thereby improve the treatment of their patients. As a result, physicians have historically been some of the best and most active inventors in the United States. ...more

Judge McMahon Dismisses Case Because Agreement that Inventor “will assign” Doesn’t Mean “did assign”

On June 14, 2016, S.D.N.Y. District Judge Colleen McMahon granted defendants HTC Corporation, HTC America, Inc., Blackberry Limited, Blackberry Corporation, and Motorola Mobility LLC’s (collectively “Defendants”) motion to...more

Subsequent Employment Agreement Assigning Inventor's Intellectual Property Rights Does not Defeat Standing for Inventions Created...

The plaintiff, Odyssey Wireless ("Odyssey") filed four separate actions for patent infringement against Defendants Apple, Samsung, LG, and Motorola, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,881,393; 8,199,837; 8,576,940;...more

Where’s My %$^&# Dollar?

The issue of consideration in an assignment is always in the background, but only occasionally comes up. In Memorylink Corp. v. Motorola Solutions, Inc., 773 F.3d 1266, 113 USPQ2d 1088 (Fed. Cir. 2014), the Federal Circuit...more

Brumley Heirs Win Fight over Rights to Old Gospel Song *WEB ONLY**

Addressing the termination right given to authors and their heirs under the Copyright Act, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit concluded that four siblings could use their right to terminate the transfer their...more

To Confer Standing, Assignment Must Transfer Entire Exclusive Right

Addressing the issue of standing, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a district court’s dismissal of a patent case brought by an exclusive licensee, finding that the original assignee had not transferred...more

North Carolina Supreme Court Denies Employee's Claim to Patent Ownership Based on Pay Dispute with Employer

Under the “hired to invent” doctrine, employees who develop intellectual property during the course of their employment generally have no ownership rights to such innovations. Earlier this month, the North Carolina Supreme...more

MAG Aerospace Industries, Inc. v. B/E Aerospace, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2016) - Equitable Assignor Estoppel Doctrine Expanded by Federal...

Arcane aspects of the law are frequently analogized as constituting "traps for the unwary," and patent law seems to have more than its share of minutiae that fall within that characterization. The equitable principle of...more

Copyright and Trademark Case Review: Sibling Rivalry, Grilled Meat and Attorneys' Fees

Copyright Opinions - Sixth Circuit Upholds Siblings' Termination of Brother's Copyright Assignment: Brumley v. Albert E. Brumley & Sons, Inc., No. 15-5429 (6th Cir. May 16, 2016) - Sutton, J. In a declaratory...more

Federal Circuit Patent Updates - May 2016

Ruckus Wireless, Inc. v. Innovative Wireless Solutions (No. 2015-1425, 1438, 5/31/16) (Prost, Reyna, Stark) - May 31, 2016 3:11 PM - Reyna, J. Affirming summary judgment of non-infringement of patents based on...more

Jurisdiction Cannot Be Cured Retroactively If Plaintiff Lacked Substantial Rights to Patent When Suit Was Filed

In Diamond Coating Tech. v. Hyundai Motor, [2015-1844, 2015-1861] (May 17, 2016), the Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a patent infringement action for lack of standing. The Federal Circuit agreed that Diamond...more

Registrar, Registry, Domain Name…A Quick Primer…

If you’ve got a really good memory, you remember that we talked about issues regarding the owning of your website back in August 2015. I promised then that we’d discuss “owning” your domain name (e.g. knowingstartups.com),...more

Here’s Another Fine Mess You’ve Gotten Me Into: Best Practices for Employee, Contractor and Consulting Agreements.

In This Presentation: Overview of Messes to Avoid: • Split Ownership • Agreements to Agree • Agreements with Unclear/Improper: – relation to prior agreements – term – royalty rate –...more

Obtaining and Recording IP Assignments

The earliest-acquired and most valuable assets of a typical startup company are the elements of that company’s intellectual property, which may include copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. Failure to...more

Equitable Estoppel Stops NPE From Asserting Patents that its Assignor Failed to Assert

In High Point SARL v. Sprint Nextel Corporation, [2015-1298] (April 5, 2016), the Federal Circuit affirmed summary judgment that equitable estoppel and laches preclude prosecution of High Point’s claims for infringement of...more

Stent Contract Collapses Standing Argument - TriReme Med., LLC v. AngioScore, Inc.

Addressing the issue of when patent rights are assigned under a contract, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned the district court’s finding that a prospective inventor had surrendered his rights to an...more

Proper Inventorship Still Matters, Even With a Proper Assignment

In a few recent cases, we see that failing to properly name inventors in a patent application can lead to unnecessary troubles for a company. This is true whether the assignment document is an employment agreement or an...more

Larson v. Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. - USCA, Ninth Circuit, February 10, 2016

Ninth Circuit affirms district court’s decision that 2001 letter operated as agreement by heirs of Superman co-creator to transfer to DC Comics rights in Superman, Superboy and Superman advertisements....more

Share and Share Alike? Not so fast.

The joint ownership of patents is governed by 35 USC 262: - In the absence of any agreement to the contrary, each of the joint owners of a patent may make, use, offer to sell, or sell the patented invention within the...more

IP Alert: "Are Your IP Assignments Effective?"

Many assignments of intellectual property are ineffective for failing to actually convey title as the parties intended. U.S. law is clear that only individuals may be inventors, who then may assign their inventions to...more

USPTO Left Hand Doesn’t Know What the Right is Doing: An Unexpected Consequence of Recording Combined Declaration/Assignments

The America Invents Act (AIA) introduced several changes to inventor oath/declaration practice that took effect in 2012. One such change is the ability to incorporate an inventor’s required declaration statements into an...more

Patent Strategies For Start-Up Companies

Patents can be vitally important for protecting the innovations of a start-up company, just as it is important for start-ups to be mindful of trademark, copyright, and domain name strategies (see our other guides for...more

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