The company I worked for, filed 2 provisionals for my invention - I was listed as the sole inventor, and I signed assignment forms.

Those provisionals were converted to full patents, earlier this year, but I didn't signed assignment forms, and the company terminated me. So technically do I "own" the patents since I didn't assign the patents? Or does the provisional assignment carry over?

p.s. my employment letter makes no mention of any IP assignment

2 Answers 2


I'm not an attorney and it sounds like you need one. If the "full" applications did not add new matter to the provisional's content then signing away one can be signing away both.

What state/country you are in will make a difference. A factor that may be involved is that the new AIA patent law has made it easier for employers to file on your invention without you signing anything. That is for employees with an obligation to assign. Also the papers you signed related to the provisionals might have been more expansive than you think. Signing the documents could have included anything that came from them.


If it is a US application and it has been published you can look the whole record up on USPTO Public PAIR. Who signed what and when.

  • The full patent has significant modifications.
    – Mikos
    Aug 30, 2013 at 0:38

The only way to answer your question is to read the assignments you signed. An assignment of patent rights is a form of contract, so contract law applies. What rights did you assign to your employer? Typical assignments cover "full and exclusive right to the invention described in patent application titled blah blah filed on blah blah blah". There may also be an assignment of other patent applications filed in the US or throughout the world. The assignment may also cover divisional, continuation, or reissue applications.

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