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New law will let employees retain their intellectual property

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2023 | Business Law, Intellectual Property

Disputes over intellectual property are becoming more and more common. With innovation being a key with running a successful business, it can be difficult for employees to formulate new creations while simultaneously worrying about whether they will benefit from it accordingly.

In the past, employers protected themselves by compelling employees to agree to invention provisions that gave them ownership even if those inventions were created on the employee’s own time. To address this and give workers the right to benefit from what they have created, a new law has been put in effect. It is important to be aware of it.

Employment agreements cannot deprive an employee of their invention

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul recently signed into law a provision that will prevent employers from requiring employees to surrender their inventions. The key is that the employee must have created it on their own time and not used anything belonging to the employer when doing so.

In the past, if the employee used supplies, items, employer trade secrets or facilities, then the employer had a right to the invention. Now, even if there was an agreement in place that meant the employee surrendered that invention, it cannot be enforced.

Still, there are exceptions to the rule. If the employee was doing work for the employer when the invention was created, the employer has the right to claim it. In addition, it cannot be connected to the employer’s business.

Intellectual property law is key for employers and employees

Intense disputes can arise from issues related to intellectual property. For employees who are thinking they will lose the right and the potential income from an invention, this new law will help them.

Employers are also protected from employees using their time on the job and what the employer supplied to create a product they will use without benefit to the company. To fully understand this new law and other aspects of intellectual property, it is important to be up to date on legal changes.