Copyright © 2017 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
It is a common misconception that an employer automatically owns all rights to the patents invented by its employees. The general rule is that, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, an invention and any patents covering that invention belong to the employee/inventor. While state law will give an employer “shop rights” to use such an invention, this can create uncertainty and make it difficult to sell or transfer the business.