N.J. Employers Seeking IP Rights From Employees Face New Obstacles

February 23, 2018 | Nancy A. Del Pizzo | Intellectual Property

Effective April 1, 2018, employers in New Jersey will no longer be able to use an employment contract to obtain rights to an employee’s inventions. Exceptions included in the legislation are whether the inventions (a) relate “to the employer’s business or actual or demonstrably anticipated research or development,” or (b) result “from any work performed by the employee on behalf of the employer.” Thus, according to newly enacted Assembly Bill No. 492, employees will soon be able to maintain ownership of inventions they develop on their own time as long as they have not used their employer’s supplies, facilities, equipment or information (including trade secrets) and unless those inventions fall within (a) or (b), above.

An employment contract entered into on or after the legislation’s effective date that contains a provision assigning an employee’s invention to the employer where the invention was developed outside the scope of employment “shall be deemed against the public policy” of the State of New Jersey.

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