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Stihl, a popular manufacturer of power tools, has a very profitable product on the market that I've always believed to be the result of a design my father presented to them. He worked at Stihl at the time, and became ill shortly after showing his work, but he was never compensated for what he put into the project.

Is there any way to claim the payment or royalties that I believe are due to my father's estate from the company?

  • could you provide any information on assignment if made to company? – Pushpak Feb 18 '15 at 8:57
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Probably not, but it depends.

Most employers have a written agreement with their employees that assigns the ownership of inventions developed during employment to the employer. This means the inventor is not entitled to any payment or royalties. (Though some companies offer financial and/or other incentives.)

In the absence of a written agreement, it comes down to applicable state law and the particulars of the situation.

A few things to consider before talking to a lawyer:

  1. Did your father have an agreement with his employer that assigned patent rights?

  2. Did the employer obtain a patent on the idea?

  3. Do you possess proof that your father invented the idea? It would need to be written, dated, and with enough detail for someone skilled in the art to build the invention. Bonus if it was also witnessed by one, or preferably two, others.

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