If I design something on my own using company products, does the company own it? 2 Answers as of November 08, 2010

I signed an agreement when I started my job stating that they would own anything I invented there. However, I developed something for me and on my own time that I would like to patent myself. Here is my problem: I used a lot of information and some programs from my company to make it. Would that make the design theirs?

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Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
It depends on what the employee manual states and what rights you signed away when you went to work for them.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 11/8/2010
Michael M. Ahmadshahi
Michael M. Ahmadshahi | Michael M. Ahmadshahi, Ph.D., Esq.
As a general rule an employee may not patent an invention that is made or conceived by the employee during his/her employment utilizing the company's equipment, supplies, facilities, etc., which relate to the company's business, work or research, and which result from the tasks the employee is assigned to perform during his/her employment. Having said that, you must consult an attorney to determine if the agreement that you signed is enforceable. If the agreement is not enforceable then you may be able to file for a patent application on your invention.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/4/2010
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