How does one execute the process of manufacturing and selling a product that somebody else has invented without any legal trouble?

How does one execute the process of manufacturing and selling a product that somebody else has invented without any legal trouble?

If someone has invented something but not patented it, then it is not an infringement of their invention to manufacture and sell it. If they have (or someone else has) patented it or something else you use in your product then you have three options:

  1. License it;
  2. Design around it; or
  3. Revoke it by opposition, re-examination or court action.

How are patents filed in big companies?

Let’s say you’re an employee in the company (not too higher up). You come up with a new idea which you think is patentable. Do you individually file the patent, then the company gets its rights ? or you file it with the company lawyers? I am talking about companies such as Google, Intel, Microsoft

An employer will own the invention of an employee if the invention relates to what the employee is employed to do.

So, if a person is employed as a popcorn machine repairer and improver and they invent a new mobile phone, then the employee probably owns that invention. If the invention relates to an improvement to the popcorn machine, then the employer probably owns that invention. There are exceptions.

Employment agreements can also set out who owns what and when. Some big companies have inventor programmes where they offer to give inventor employees a fixed bonus or an ongoing royalty for successful inventions as an incentive to invent.

You need to analyse your employment contract, any inventor programmes offered by your employer and the default ownership of inventions in your jurisdiction. This is a complex area of the law and professional advice from an IP lawyer is highly recommended.

If the company owns your invention, then do what the other answers suggest. If you own the invention then if you want to proceed, you are responsible for filing the patent application (preferably with professional assistance from a patent attorney).

Mark Warburton About the author

The Intellectual Property Guru. His determination to protect innovation stems from a family legacy in which his grandfather, a genius inventor, had his innovations stolen and patented by someone he trusted, which led to his grandfather dying a pauper on a park bench. Mark is an international award winning lawyer and patent attorney and 3-time published author. His prowess in the court room sees him winning cases that others thought were unwinnable. Mark’s passion for protecting intellectual property shines through in his pro-bono legal mentoring, proactive legal workshops and 1-2-1 work with clients.