Should I submit to a former employers demand to sign legal papers?
June 26, 2012 7:53 AM Subscribe
My former employer is asking for my signature on a document to assign patent rights to them as co-inventor for a patent I worked on while employed by them.
They are not interested in compensating me for my time.
posted by anonymous to law & government (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, metafilter is not my lawyer.
I worked for a large company for many years and had a number of patents filed through them while working there. A year ago they laid me off (along with a significant percentage of the company). Now I'm being contacted and asked to sign a document to transfer patent rights for a patent they are about to file. I know I don't have any rights to this patent - I worked on it while under their employment (and the primary inventor is still an employee there). While this is probably about an hour of my time (print out a document, sign it; find a willing witness to sign the document as well, travel to the company to deliver it), I don't feel any obligation to give the company even an hour of my time for free.
At the very least this will cost me at least 3 dollars (transportation, they want this done immediately).
I don't mean to be a hard-ass, but I really don't feel any obligation to help them. I replied to their request saying that they were free to contract me out if they wanted some of my time and they replied that they were unwilling to do this and then stated the timeframe they wanted this complete by.
Am I under any legal obligation to submit to this request (I know, you are not my lawyer)? I am under any ethical obligation to submit to this request? Can they file this patent removing my name from it?
This is a Canadian company, and I reside in Canada.
throwaway email address: email@example.com