Under United State laws, the term “patent” refers to a right of ownership granted to an inventor of a new, one-of-a-kind process, goods, machinery, or technology. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Offices, when a patent is granted to someone, “the right conferred by the patent grant is …the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention in the United States or ‘importing’ the invention into the United States.” The patent law of the United States of America is codified in Title 35 of the US code.
It is generally presumed that patent rights automatically belong to employers as a result of an implicit agreement with employees under an employment performance. The US patent law makes it favorable for employers to have exclusive patent right ownership of an invention invented by an employee in the course of his employment with the employer.
However, an employee can still avail himself of a “shop right” limitation if he is not specifically contracted or employed to invent equipment and technology. A “shop right” enables the employer to make use of the invented technology but is prohibited from selling it or exclude others from using it.