What Are Invention Assignment Agreements and Why are they Necessary?
Employee inventions are a very common occurrence in the workplace. It is necessary for businesses to utilize invention assignment agreements to protect their rights. Unfortunately, companies may not put agreements in place or may not have an updated agreement that will protect them from possible problems in the future. While it may not seem important, it could cost your company thousands or even millions of dollars if you are unable to produce an executed document. The agreement should also have a confidentiality clause to protect the idea behind the invention.
Companies may have had an invention assignment agreement drafted years ago and continue to use the same one today. The problem with this situation is that the laws and language that should be in these types of agreements becomes outdated. The agreements need to be updated on a regular basis in order for them to actually protect your company. If you have some dusty agreements sitting in a file cabinet, get rid of them and have a new one drafted by a reliable commercial law attorney.
Companies that have been in business for some time often have incomplete personnel files. This may be particularly true of long-term employees or when the company has gone through a buyout. Complete a check of all human resource files to make sure that they include a signed invention assignment agreement. Have employees sign new agreements whenever you have them updated.
Invention Assignment Policy
It is essential that companies have an invention policy in place. The policy should reflect current laws and contain the correct legal language to ensure that it is binding. All too often, companies fail to put any type of policy or agreement in place. This is leaving them open to problems. If an employee creates an invention as part of his job assignment, the rights to the invention should legally belong to the company. Every company should put policy in place and have every employee sign an invention assignment agreement.
As with any legal document, it must be well written in order to provide the protection you expect. Avoid using template forms because they may not always be current with Arizona laws and may not include all the terms necessary to keep you protected. Some of the issues regarding invention assignment can get quite complex, especially when the company has gone through various changes. Discuss your needs with a business lawyer who will draft a document that will provide you with the safeguard required.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Invention Assignment Agreements, or any other litigation matter, please feel free to contact Stockton D. Banfield at 480.461.5356, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.