University learns harsh lesson about assignment agreements
Abstract: A university that has assignment agreements with its faculty likely expects to own the patents on inventions they produce. Yet, depending on the language in the agreement, that institution of higher learning could be in for a harsh lesson. Does the phrase “agree to assign” in a copyright and patent agreement reflect an immediate transfer of expectant interests — or a promise to assign rights in the future? The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit weighed in.