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Employment Agreements: Assignment of Invention


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.

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Last updated: Feb 16, 2000

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