Traditionally in the U.S., patents and patent law have focused on rewarding the ingenuity of the individual inventor rather than advancing the business interests of the inventor’s employer. More recently, however, patent law has come to recognize that collaboration among workers is often more productive than competition between individuals. One result of this is that the law now gives greater weight to obligations of employees to assign inventions to employers. A recent case involving Corning Inc. and DSM Desotech of the Netherlands illustrates how such an obligation can affect patent validity.
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