At last week’s Entrepreneurship 101 lecture, we discussed the issue of invention ownership and the grey areas that exist.
If you’re a researcher in a university lab (or a company) and you invent something related to your research theme, it’s fairly clear that the ownership is defined by your employment contract/institution policy. It’s likewise clear what happens if you’re a neuroscientist but you invent something in your beekeeping hobby: it’s yours, not your employer’s.
But what happens in that grey area inbetween?
An example of grey area: you’re a polymer researcher developing new resins, but you find a solvent that not only works exceptionally well for your materials, but might have commercial use as a cleaner to remove that irritating residual glue left over from price stickers. How do you decide who owns the idea? And who gets to make that decision (aside from the courts if it gets ugly enough)? I’m interested in opinions as to how to fairly make such a decision – any thoughts out there?
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