Question: Do I automatically own my employee’s invention?Answer:
The employer and employee relationship does not automatically give rise to an employer’s intellectual property rights over an employee’s invention. This depends on the circumstance. Two key issues to consider here are:
- Does the employment contract include a clause where the employee will assign all inventions (or intellectual property generally) they create during the course of their employment?
- Was the invention developed in the course of their employment?
These two questions highlight the importance of clearly stating what happens to intellectual property developed by the employee during the course of employment, and defining the scope of employment.