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In many cases, an inventor patents his invention and makes arrangements with a company to market the invention. A contract, called a license, is formed in which the developer/marketer can commercially exploit the invention and, in exchange, pay the patent owner royalties. These royalties can be a percent of the net revenue or a payment for each sold invention. The inventor can also sell all of the rights for a lump sum or royalties.
Individuals who create inventions during their course of employment are bound by contracts which automatically assign the invention rights to the employer. While employees are often awarded bonuses for valuable inventions, these matters typically fall under contract law, rather than intellectual property law.
Even when an employment contract does not exist or include a provision regarding employee-made inventions, the employer may still own the rights to an invention under the "employed-to-invent" doctrine.
If you are involved in a patent dispute, fill out the free case review on the right. At no cost to you, an intellectual property lawyer will evaluate your claim.