Invention Assignment Agreement

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Upd. 1, Dec, 2022
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An invention assignment agreement is a legal contract usually signed before working for a company. This legal form states that anything you create or conceptualize during your employment relationship is legally transferred to the ownership of your employer. Add essential details to this legal form by Lawrina, save it on your device or inbox, and share it with the other parties.

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Template Description

A confidentiality and invention assignment agreement is a standard document, often between employees and their place of employment. Whether you download the form, choose a printable pdf, or apply an example form to a blank document, it all means the same thing: you sign a contract where you legally transfer or "assign" ownership in the event that you invent something or conceptualize an invention while under their employ. 

We can help you learn more about this type of legal document, when you should use one, and how to find a suitable legal template. 

What Is an Invention Assignment Agreement

An invention assignment contract is a legal document usually signed before working for a company. This type of agreement requires you as the employee to disclose any inventions you created prior to working at the company so that you can ensure the employer doesn't have any type of rights to those.

Thereafter the invention assignment agreement form states that anything you create or conceptualize during your employment relationship is legally transferred to the ownership of your employer. This makes it easier for your employer to do things like get patents on your inventions. 

In essence, an invention assignment paper gives your company or the other party legal ownership over your ideas and inventions, plus the legal right to profit from them. 

Why Would You Need Invention Agreement Templates?

You might need an invention assignment agreement template if you are an employer hiring employees specifically to create things for your company or help invent branded solutions.

You don't need this document if your employees are filling a role that is not traditionally inventive, like someone coming on board to manage human resources or accounting. However, it is absolutely something you need for situations where people are hired specifically for their innovative capabilities. This might include hiring:

  • Engineers
  • Marketing professionals
  • Freelancers
  • Developers
  • Metalworkers
  • Carpenters
  • Machinists
  • IT specialists
  • Artists

You don't necessarily want an invention assignment agreement sample if you are collaborating with other companies or brand names because it won't cover all potential aspects of the invention process. In these situations, you are better off speaking with an employment attorney and creating an appropriate contract.

Who Can Use These Agreements?

Anyone can use an invention assignment form. 

Companies

Companies can safeguard their business, especially if they have employees who provide branded solutions, inventions, and innovations for the organization while under their employ. It is imperative for companies to have an invention assignment agreement template when bringing new employees to the company, specifically to improve the company, create things for the company, or invent something.

Freelancers

Freelancers and other independent contractors can use an intervention assignment agreement form along with other contracts to ensure that while using resources and intellectual property for a single client, any inventions transfer to the ownership of the employer long after the freelance contract has expired.

Lawyers

Lawyers can use an invention assignment template for those who might come and work for them and their clients. This is particularly applicable to employment attorneys.

How To Create an Invention Assignment Agreement

If you are looking to write an invention assignment agreement contract, follow these steps: 

Speak with an attorney

Before you sign on the dotted line, it's always best to speak with an employment attorney if you are asked to sign an intervention assignment agreement with your current or future employer. Lawyers can explain how your state's employee ownership rules and intellectual property work. This is particularly important if you are moving to a new state for your job. 

  • For example, in California, no invention assignment agreement form applies to inventions that you create entirely on your own time without using any property, resources, or intellectual property of your employer.
  • States like Illinois and Washington have similar rules for patents applicable to things that you created while under the employment of your new company, but not directly for the new company or related to your job description. 

Coordinate with the counterpart

Coordinate with the counterparts so you have a clear idea of what terms you want to include in your contract. For example, if you want the provision included where you can create inventions on your own time that don't use any company resources or intellectual property, that's something you need to coordinate with your employer ahead of time.

Negotiate essential terms of the contract

An assignment of inventions agreement template can be helpful in determining the critical parts you should write into your agreement. 

You want to ensure confidentiality. You don't need to purchase something overly complicated; you can create a simple contract online or look at a sample document to figure out which parts you want, like the parties' obligations or the employer's benefit. Some general parts should be included as is when you make a confidentiality and invention assignment agreement, like provisions in the event that there is a dispute, who has to pay for attorneys fees and the integration clause that states the validity of the entire agreement.

Otherwise, you might include:

An assignment provision

This is the provision that states the employee gives legal ownership of any inventions they create while under the employee to the company itself. This is probably the most crucial part of this legal document.

A disclosure provision

This part of the contract states that employees have to disclose any inventions, improvements, or innovations they make to the company. They should include language on how quickly that disclosure has to be made so that the company can apply for protections like copyrights or patents.

A power of attorney provision

The power of attorney provision means the company or the other party involved has the ability to execute that ownership over any inventions with or without employee approval. This is what makes it possible for an employer to immediately file for a patent without having to run that by the employee who invented the concept or product for approval.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can my employer require me to sign a confidentiality and invention assignment agreement?

This depends on where you are employed. If your employer is using a legal assignment of inventions template, and you are hired as an at-will employee, signing this type of contract could be a condition of your employment. 

An at-will employee is someone who can be fired at any time for any reason. The state in which you work will determine whether you are hired as an at-will employee. 

You cannot be forced to sign an inventions contract, but a company can reserve the right not to extend an employment contract to you if you don't.

Can I still make my own things if I've signed an invention assignment agreement?

It's up to you to speak with an attorney and coordinate with your counterpart to determine your freedom for creating inventions on your own time. If you are specific with your employer about the type of work that you will do for the company compared to the kind of work you want to do on your own inventions, it's easy to include in your assignment of inventions agreement contract which items fall under ownership rights for the company vs. which items you create in your spare time.

For example: If you are an app developer and you are hired to develop a fitness app for a company, you might also like to spend your free time developing other apps that help people with things like time management or meditation. 

In this scenario, it's best that you speak with the employer and let them know specifically which things you consider inventing in your spare time. Lay out the terms in your contract for how that will remain under your legal ownership.

What if I like to create and invent on my own time?

If you are creative and always coming up with ideas or ways to improve things, you might want to have an attorney look over your contract before you sign away all the rights to any money earned from your ideas.