Employment Contracts

Patent Rights

The law with respect to ownership of patent rights in an employment relationship requires an examination of the responsibilities of the employee to determine whether the invention was part of the normal duties.

In Spiroll Corp v Putti  1 the court found against the company’s claim on this basis, holding that the inventions in question were not related to the responsibilities of the employee. The Spiroll decision was also referenced in agreement in the 1998 decision of the Supreme Court of B.C. in Seanix v Ircha.

The same decision goes further to state that when an employee who has been hired to innovate and so creates a new product, this new invention would be the property of the employer.

All of this is a prelude to the need for the parties to agree in writing what their respective rights may be in these circumstances.