California Labor Code Section 2870-2872

An important provision of the California Labor Code governing shop right and can override contractual provisions relating to employee inventions.  Section 2870 provides:

(a) Any provision in an employment agreement which provides that an employee shall assign, or offer to assign, any of his or her rights in an invention to his or her employer shall not apply to an invention that the employee developed entirely on his or her own time without using the employer’s equipment, supplies, facilities, or trade secret information except for those inventions that either:

(1) Relate at the time of conception or reduction to practice of
the invention to the employer’s business, or actual or demonstrably
anticipated research or development of the employer; or

(2) Result from any work performed by the employee for the employer.

(b) To the extent a provision in an employment agreement purports to require an employee to assign an invention otherwise excluded from being required to be assigned under subdivision (a), the provision is against the public policy of this state and is unenforceable.

A major issue to consider with respect to this code section is that it has been interpreted so that an employee of a non-California entity who moves to California to take up employment can claim its benefits.

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