An employer should require employees to assign to the company all rights for any inventions related to the employer's business or current or reasonably foreseeable lines of research and development. The assignment must be current (I hereby assign), rather than a promise to assign (I will assign). Also included should be any inventions made using company materials, equipment, time and/or trade secrets. California statutory law excludes any works unrelated to the company's business and developed on the employee's own time without the use of company materials, property or trade secrets. Where applicable, this exclusion should be included in the agreement.
The assignment agreement should require the employee to list existing inventions in which he or she claims ownership, and to report any inventions created during his or her employment and for a specified, reasonable amount of time after his or her termination. This provides the company with a reasonable time in which to make any claims against such works.
Copyright Â© 2000 Findlaw Inc.
These materials have been prepared for educational and information purposes only. They are not legal advice or legal opinions on any specific matters. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship between FindLaw, the author(s), or inc.com and you. Internet subscribers and online readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. The opinions expressed in the articles found in FindLaw's Library and inc.com's database are those of the author(s) and not those of FindLaw or inc.com.