Patent Ownership Rights: Structuring Assignment and Employment Contracts

Key Provisions, Implications for Litigation, Recent Court Treatment

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, May 3, 2018

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar will guide counsel on securing patent ownership to inventions created by employees or independent contractors. The panel will discuss essential provisions and strategies when structuring employee-assignment and contractor agreements. The presenters will discuss the implications for litigation when assignment is not explicit and other pitfalls in structuring these agreements.


Most companies wrongly assume they own the inventions created by their contractors and employees in the context of their employment. To avoid costly disputes, companies should be proactive in securing ownership of the invention.

On Jan. 11, 2018, the Federal Circuit issued a game-changing decision that addressed the pitfalls of a company’s attempt to secure the ownership of patent rights through an employment agreement. In Advanced Video Technologies Inc. v. HTC Corp., the employment agreement in question contained three provisions related to ownership of patent rights.

The court held that none of the provisions were sufficient to confer ownership of the patent at issue. As a result, the company did not own the patent in suit and consequently lacked standing to bring the lawsuit.

To avoid disputes over patent ownership, counsel to companies must secure rights for employee-created or contractor-created inventions, and ensure employees, consultants and independent contractors sign confidentiality and invention assignment agreements.

Listen as our authoritative panel of patent attorneys discusses the patent ownership challenges facing companies that have inventor-employees or contractors. The presenters will discuss key provisions and strategies when structuring employee assignment agreements and contractor agreements. The panel will discuss the implications for litigation when assignment isn’t specific and other pitfalls when structuring these agreements.



  1. Employment contracts with patent inventors or contractors
    1. Key provisions
    2. Strategies when structuring assignment agreements
    3. Potential pitfalls when structuring assignments
  2. Implications for litigation and recent court treatment
  3. Best practices for ensuring ownership of employee-created inventions


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What key provisions should counsel include in employee assignment agreements?
  • What hurdles must counsel watch for to establish ownership of employee or contractor-created inventions?
  • What strategies should counsel employ to ensure ownership of employee or contractor-created inventions?


Ahmed-Fakhry, Eman
Eman Ahmed-Fakhry

Senior Counsel, Hospital Therapies Department
Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals

Ms. Ahmed-Fakhry is Senior Counsel at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, a global business that develops, manufactures,...  |  Read More

Herold Li-Anne
Anne Elise Herold Li

Crowell & Moring

Ms. Li focuses her practice on patent, trademark, and trade secret litigation, counseling, patent procurement,...  |  Read More

Schaffer, Robert
Robert Schaffer

Troutman Sanders

Mr. Schaffer applies more than 30 years of experience to IP counseling and litigation. His work includes patent...  |  Read More

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