Am I entitled to compensation after I formulated a document that my employer adopted and it has becomes policy? 7 Answers as of November 27, 2013

I am no longer with the company.

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Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
It depends on what the document was (not everything can be copyrighted) and it depends on what your working relationship was (it may be a work for hire) and it depends on what your employment contract and employee manual says about IP ownership.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 11/27/2013
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Probably not. An employee's work product belongs to the employer.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 11/22/2013
Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. | Ernie Linek
Talk to a copyright lawyer but the answer is often no. Copyright law protects a work from the time it is created in a fixed form. From the moment it is set in a print or electronic manuscript, a sound recording, a computer software program, or other such concrete medium, the copyright becomes the property of the author who created it. Only the author or those deriving rights from the author can rightfully claim copyright. There is, however, an exception to this principle: "works made for hire." If a work is made for hire, an employer is considered the author even if an employee actually created the work. The employer can be a firm, an organization, or an individual.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 11/22/2013
Microtechnology Law & Analysis | Daniel Flamm
You have not provided enough information for a meaningful reply. If you did the drafting for your employer, and you had an employment agreement assigning rights to your employer, you probably are not entitled to any further compensation. Otherwise, if you had no written agreement, and if you believe your document has substantial value as a copyrighted publication, you should engage an attorney to evaluate your situation. Without more, my be guess is that you are not entitled to anything beyond the compensation you received as an employee. If you do no think it is worth an attorney's fee to you, I'd suggest to forget it.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/22/2013
Tran & Associates | Bao Tran
If it is just a policy document and you as employee are obligated to assign rights, barring other facts, I don't think you have recourse. In the future, if you have new inventions outside the scope of your employment, you may want to patent the idea. I would recommend the use of software from called ProvisionalBuilder. Software costs $99 so it i very inexpensive yet guides you to prepare a high quality patent application that one year later you can turn to a lawyer to convert into a utility application for you. A feature summary is at The software helps you organize information, and through your summary description, brings back sample patents in the same field for you to use as examples.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/22/2013
    Law Office of Kirk Buhler
    Law Office of Kirk Buhler | Kirk A Buhler
    You probably were compensated as regular salary. I do not know what your position or responsibilities were with the company. But one of your responsibilities is (probably) related to making the company profitable. If you created a formula or document then it could be defined as one of your responsibilities. If it is a patentable formula then you will need to be named as the inventor on the patent/application.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 11/22/2013
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