patent assignment

From: Ed King 
brain pickin' time again       

when I pull up Microsoft patents on I usually see a list of names of 
the inventors, which have assigned this patent idea over to Microsoft, eg:

Patent D632,380
Inventors:  Kim; Young Soo (Bellevue, WA), Groene; Ralf (Kirkland, WA), Reed; 
Anthony (Seattle, WA)  
Assignee: Microsoft Corporation (Redmond,  WA)

I assume that the inventors names are Microsoft employees

My boss wants to know what compensation/incentive, if any, was given to these 
inventors in order to make them want to hand over their invention to 

My guess was stock options or maybe they are just paid well.

=============================================================== From: Dee Holtsclaw ------------------------------------------------------ Maybe they have signed Intellectual Property agreements. Generally speaking, anything you develop or think of in the course of your employment belongs to your employer. Back when I was a co-op student with IBM, they required everyone to sign such an agreement which continued in perpetuity. According to this, anything I do for the rest of my life belongs to them. But that was about 30 years ago and it's not worth the paper it was written on -- they've lost way too many cases for me to lose any sleep over it.

=============================================================== From: Dave Brockman ------------------------------------------------------ -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 My guess would be the same type of agreement you signed. Although I have known some companies that rewarded employees with a "bonus" when they were awarded a patent, although none that I have worked for in the past decade. Regards, dtb -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.4.10 (MingW32) Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - iEYEARECAAYFAk1VoAEACgkQABP1RO+tr2QRhACgh7xoujpb/ALTQkmA0nLBDDps lygAoKFIQQa5XdCz7G8rjKusgCXGoPZp =6wP4 -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

=============================================================== From: Dave Brockman ------------------------------------------------------ -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA1 Why not ask ask your boss to be a leader, not a follower. The way people jump ship from MS, I'd say their core talent doesn't appear to be that satisfied.... Regards, dtb -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG v1.4.10 (MingW32) Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - iEYEARECAAYFAk1VoeUACgkQABP1RO+tr2R7HACgoDfFS9+XqnSGuTBE5CtY01LU MmIAoJaSx0Y0sEmSdXSRRS4buZ98mcjy =nK6f -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----

=============================================================== From: Cameron Kilgore ------------------------------------------------------ Microsoft does not appreciate good talent -- look at what they did to Nokia.

=============================================================== From: Ed King ------------------------------------------------------ dtb said: I ain't signed shit.

=============================================================== From: Dan Lyke ------------------------------------------------------ On Fri, 11 Feb 2011 11:53:45 -0800 (PST) Ed King wrote: Patents can only be assigned to individuals, not corporations. Every employment agreement I've ever signed has included a clause that says that I assign patent rights to the corporation in return for some amount (I think it's varied from $500 to a few thousand) per patent. With the assumption (and demonstration) that doing so would also be lucrative in bonuses and such ie: At Pixar I think it was less than two thousand in writing, but come stock option time... Now that I'm freelance, my contract agreements tend to contain language about jointly developing patentable inventions, so that neither I nor my client can take such an innovation and just run off with it. But I also tend to have a fairly high level of personal trust with my clients, and I think we generally assume that if we have good ideas, then that's probably also an indication that we're the right people to develop those ideas. We're all playing the long game... Dan

=============================================================== From: Mike Harrison ------------------------------------------------------ Somewhere deep in the system is/was a patent for a device for aligning linear phased array ultrasound sensors used (circa 1985) by now obsolete medical equipment. The USAF owns the now worthless patent, it had my name (Airman Harrison) on it at one time. I got an "attaboy" for saving the USAF many thousands of dollars. 1k of "attaboy" is negated by one "ohshit". In the real world: Your name on a product patent looks real good on your resume and C.V. when looking for a job. Serious credibility. Might get you a better job later, in the same company or outside. I know a "fellow" at Honeywell whom after a few big money making patents were granted got an office, some assistants and a budget and was told to "have fun but make something useful". You might have gotten an "attaboy" (see above). And that is all. You might get a bonus/perk: One guy I know got some cash, another a nice vacation with family to a resort. You might get some small percentage of real world profits. In rare cases, the "owner/company" grants the patent to the employee because they have no commercial interest in it, and they get to commercialize it themselves. e-Spin, Jay Doshi, is an example. What defines this, in each case, is the type of company you work with and your relationship with them. Dispite onorous legal BS, some companies want to promote innovation and do great things for their employees to promote mutually beneficial long term relationships. Some, dispite a lack of any legal agreement, will sue you for your dreams if they think there is a profit in it. I AM NOT A LAWYER, nor do a play one on TV and this is NOT meant to be legal advice, merely the humorous rants of an old geek. I only intend to entertain.