Don’t Let a Vaguely Defined Employment Relationship or a Weak IP Assignment Clause Lead You Into Litigation
A fact pattern we see all too often is a former employee claiming an ownership interest in or over software or intellectual property (IP) developed by or for a former employer. Typically, this occurs with the former employee attempting to exploit a real or perceived ambiguity in his or her employment relationship with the employer—i.e., ambiguity regarding the former employee’s status as either an employee or an independent contractor.
A recurring concern voiced by small or emerging companies working in the government marketplace is, “How do I effectively protect my IP when I’m forced to work with large prime contractors?” A threat is perceived that a prime contractor will take or steal the IP from a subcontractor (small company) to eliminate competition or capture leverage with the government and that the government turns a blind eye to such actions.
In the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark, a worker wheels perhaps the greatest archaeological find in human history into an enormous government warehouse, where it is stashed among thousands of other crates, perhaps never to be seen again. Unlike the Ark, trade secrets that businesses are seeking to protect can’t just be hidden away in a vault.
On June 21, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the administrative patent judges (APJs) of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) were not constitutionally appointed, and that the patent owner, Arthrex, Inc., is entitled to a remand for a rehearing by the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). United States v. Arthrex, Inc., 593 U.S. _ (June 21, 2021).
You have to know the rules to win the game, especially when the rules change… often. In 2013, the movie Captain Philips told the true story of the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama. In April 2009, the Maersk Alabama cargo ship was attacked and captured by four Somali pirates less than 300 nautical miles off the Coast of Somalia. The Maersk Alabama recognized the threat yet had little ability to repel the assault.
Reflecting on his 27 years at Amazon from what he terms “Day 1” to his upcoming retirement as its CEO, Jeff Bezos recently sent a Letter to Shareholders recapping the 2020 year for Amazon. Although he discussed a number of thoughts, his principal point about why Amazon is so big and so popular rang through clearly.
Have The Rules Of The Game Changed? An Update On Patent-Eligible And Ineligible Subject Matter In The Gaming Space
When seeking patent protection for innovations in the gaming space, look for patentable subject matter in areas other than the rules of the game, the statistics underlying a game and the mathematical processes that are often interwoven into casino games.
The dreaded patent search. Typically, this is the last thing clients want to invest in when they are trying to get a patent or launch a new product or service. Many patent attorneys would avoid them if they could.
Martensen IP’s Jack Stuart is a highly decorated, retired USAF fighter pilot who has extensive experience at both Air Force Space Command Headquarters and the National Security Space Institute. Recently, he shared some thought-provoking insights in an article he wrote for The Space Report.
Innovation and new technology are often synonymous. Scientists, tech company founders, engineers, technologists and inventors alike all innovate. Each, in their own way, is a problem solver striving to address a technical problem with a technical solution.