If an employee creates an invention, will the patent belong to the employee or the company?

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Sometimes the right to patent an invention doesn’t rest directly with the inventor but rather with the company the inventor works for.  Many companies, universities and research centers take measures to ensure that the institution, and not the inventor, owns all patents arising from an invention. 

Whether the employee or the employer owns the patent depends on several factors including what is included in the employment contract, what type of invention is being patented and what the employee’s duties are.

While it may seem unfair to grant the ownership of a patent to a company rather than the owner, often the company will provide the employee/inventor with the resources, money and time necessary to create the invention.  Furthermore, even in cases where the company is granted ownership of the patent, the employee/inventor is often given the right to claim “reasonable value” of the invention from the company.

If you have any questions about patenting an invention, please contact our office for a legal consultation.