Due diligence is an important part of acquiring patents and intellectual property, but community property laws are often overlooked in this process. Companies, when acquiring inventions from inventors or from small, closely-held companies, should carefully review the ownership of the patents to determine whether a spouse or former spouse of an inventor has rights to the patent or invention based on applicable state law. Failure to examine these issues and analyze the applicable state law could have disastrous consequences, particularly in California where California's community property laws provide spouses with rights to intellectual property under certain circumstances.
A recent case from the Federal Circuit highlights the importance that community property laws may play in determining who actually owns a patent. Enovsys LLC v. Nextel Communications, Inc., et al., 614 F.3d 1333 (Fed. Cir.
Read a detailed analysis of the case here: Do Not Overlook Community Property Laws When Acquiring Patents and Other Intellectual Property
The authors of www.PatentLawyerBlog.com are patent litigation lawyers at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP. We represent inventors, patent owners and technology companies in patent licensing and litigation. Whether pursuing patent violations or defending infringement claims, we are aggressive and effective advocates for our clients. For more information contact Stan Gibson at 310.201.3548 or SGibson@jmbm.com.