We’ve blogged about multilingual legal translation and patent translation services based on a First to Invent system approach (as different from the EU’s First to File approach). In the recent Supreme Court case Staford v. Roche, the issue of what kind of title, if any, a pre-invention contract creates. According to one justice, a pre-invention contract creates an equitable title in the invention that does not automatically transfer to a patent right. A typical situation would go along these lines: When joining a company a new employee will assign all rights to future inventions. Although at this point the employee doesn’t have future inventions or a right to assign, when the language is drafted correctly a court will order that rights to any future invention automatically transfers to the employer at the point of invention.
Clearly, the issue comes down to the language of the pre-invention clause. If not drafted correctly, then a case can be made that the employee has a right to the invention and thus opening up a potential claim for patent infringement. There’s also an issue of ensuring that the employee fully comprehends the agreement – meaning that if a foreign language is present, a foreign language translation of all the terms should also be provided.
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