INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY & PATENTS
Somerset Legal Journal headnotes from approximately 1991 through the present.
For earlier cases, please visit the Somerset County Law Library.
The general rule is that an individual owns the patent rights in the subject matter of which he is an inventor even though he conceived of the subject matter or reduced it to practice during the course of employment. Somerset Welding & Steel, Inc. v. Timsco, Inc., 52 Som.L.J. 124 (1993) (Cascio)
To this general rule there are two exceptions: first, an employer owns an employee’s invention if the employee is a party to a contract to that effect; and second, where an employee is hired to invent something or solve a particular problem, the property of the inventions of the employee related thereto belongs to the employer. Somerset Welding & Steel, Inc. v. Timsco, Inc., 52 Som.L.J. 124 (Cascio) (1993)
The common law shop right may be either expanded or constricted by an express agreement between the employer and employee, and any understanding that compensation will be paid negates the implication of such a right. Somerset Welding & Steel, Inc. v. Timsco, Inc., 52 Som.L.J. 124 (1993) (Cascio)