Assignment Of Inventions Agreement
If you do creative, engineering, design, or development work, your employer might ask you to sign an invention assignment agreement: a contract giving your employer ownership rights in inventions and intellectual property you develop during your employment.
Read on to learn whether these agreements are enforceable, what they require and allow, and whether you should sign one.
intellectual property rights arising from the worker’s services to the company.
Employees typically see these provisions in a Confidential Information and Invention Assignment Agreement (Confidential Information and Inventions Assignment Agreements [CIIAA]offer letter or employment agreement.
Founders typically see these provisions in both an initial intellectual property assignment agreement entered into at the time their company is formed as well as in a CIIAA or independent contractor agreement entered into in connection with their ongoing service relationship.
Assignment agreements often include other standard contract language too, such as a provision requiring the losing party in a dispute to pay for attorneys' fees, or an “integration” clause, stating that the written contract represents the entire agreement between the parties (that way, neither party can later claim that they had a separate side deal or handshake agreement that doesn’t appear in the written contract).
Some states place limits on how far an inventions assignment can go in requiring an employee to give up his or her rights.
Eventually, Teets invented a new process for fabricating a durable composite blade which GE purchased for its engines. Later, Teets asserted that he, not Chromalloy owned the invention rights in the process for fabricating the composite blade.
The lower Court held that Chromalloy at least had “shop rights” in the invention.