Corporate Inventors

One can divide inventors into two different groups; independent and corporate inventors

Independent inventors patent their inventions so that they have their own rights over them, and plan to earn income from selling the product the patent covers or selling or licensing the patent to others. Many people think inventors are people like Walt Disney’s Gyros Gearloose – which could be seen as an independent inventor – but independent inventors are not in majority.

Instead, most inventors are corporate inventors (as myself) and usually inventions are made in the course of employment and are ultimately owned by the employer. The ownership of an invention made by an employee for an employer is often specified in the terms of employment. The terms may be different depending on type of invention relative the employer business (the invention relevant or not relevant for the business), different depending on laws in different countries as well different between different companies. But the general principle is that the employer owns the rights to the business relevant inventions made by the employee, but the employee in exchange gets a monetary compensation. The employer who made the invention is however still the inventor and gets his/her name on the patent (and the credits in the personal CV). In Sweden for example, there are some general guidelines about ownership and monetary compensations for inventions made by employees for an employer, “Uppfinnaravtalet”.

Hence, there is an economical incentive for the employee employed by companies focusing on innovation, to innovate and come up with business relevant inventions that may generate revenue for the employer, a win-win situation.

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