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A discussion over work product patent application regulations in China

As a China Patent lawyer, I frequently receive patent related consultation. Below is a communication with my client regarding work product patent application issue in China.

Here is the work product patent questions:

Two years ago, my husband was terminated by a tech company that had recruited him away from another position just a year before.  A few days ago, the company attorney contacted him to set up a conference call to discuss a patent application that is being submitted for a product that he "invented" while he worked there.

I am kind of curious as to why the company needs to speak with my husband. Although he came up with the idea and initial design for the product, because he did so within the scope of his employment, my understanding is that the company would have all rights to the patent. This is how things worked for patents at his other companies where my husband worked; my husband is listed as one of the inventors and the company is listed as the assignee. However, in those cases, the application was filed while he was employed and not after he'd left or been terminated.

So my question is whether this upcoming call is really just a courtesy to inform my husband about the application  - or whether there is something that the company affirmatively needs to get from my husband to perfect the patent application?

Here is my answer:

I'm a Patent lawyer, and in my former life as an in-house attorney, I had some tangential contact with them.

I think that all patent applications must initially be filed in the name(s) of the individual inventor(s), even if the patents are later assigned to the employer.

I suspect, therefore, that it is more than mere courtesy that requires the former employer to contact your husband.

Always find China lawyer when you are facing intellectual property issue, such as copyright, patent, trademark and trade secret.

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I am a licensed China lawyer. Most clients are foreign nationals and companies. China Lawyer Blog have associates in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, Qingdao, Fuzhou, Hainan, Hefei, Wuhan, Xian, Changsha, Xiamen and Hangzhou. Learn More

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China Lawyer BLog AuthorPeter Zhu, an experienced China attorney licensed to practice law for more than ten years, the author of this China Lawyer blog, welcomes any enquiry or consultation related to Chinese law.