Wednesday, March 20, 2019

What was your company's patent award?

Via Twitter, a great question:
Hey @Chemjobber have you ever done an unofficial survey of what chemists get from their companies (if anything) for granted patents? Would be interesting to know how that varies by company
This was one of the typical responses:
Two of the three companies I was co-inventor I got nothing, the third gave us crisp dollar bills. 
I am also curious about which companies put associate/non-PhD level chemists as co-inventors - inventorship seems to vary by company. 
I particularly liked this response:
We got a silver dollar when patent was assigned. It was part of the IP contract that the company "bought" the rights for $1. There was also a plaque for the research hall and one for each inventor. All presented during quarterly award meetings. Peer recognition is a huge prize.
Readers, what's your favorite patent badge of honor?  

20 comments:

  1. At a former company, we got $50 for each application we submitted (full utility, not provisional). When they were awarded, we received $100 and a plaque. I never got the second one because I left before mine were granted.

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  2. At a previous job, monetary bonuses of anywhere from tens to hundreds of dollars per inventor (depending on the number of co-inventors) when a patent was filed. At a more recent job, nothing.

    The bonuses were nice to have in an environment with few or no pay raises, but they were a double-edged sword, as they encouraged garbage patent filing and set up a divide between those in "inventing roles" (who would get more money) and those in supporting roles that would never be listed as inventors (who would not).

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  3. I work at a large chemical company, but most of our R&D is application-related. Our company issues a lot of patents but nothing compared to pharma. We get $300 when a patent grants. I know a patent is no guarantee of any commercial success for a product, but I was surprised at the number of responses that only get a dollar!

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    1. I also was surprised. A dollar is just insulting. Even the $50 or $100 I got was insulting because we had a German sister company where the scientists were entitled a royalty from sales. There, inventorship was cutthroat. (I totally forgot about that until after I posted)

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    2. The dollar is the 'compensation' you receive for signing your patent rights away. My former company did the same thing. I think they have to give you some form of compensation for your patent rights, or at least they used to....

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  4. Never been anywhere that offered more than $1. The biotechs I worked at recently gave nothing.

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    1. I'd buy that for a dollar!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5HOt0ZOcYk


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  5. at former job, we got marble "bricks" with our name and patent number inscribed on them when the patent was granted. I have about 40 of those doorstops. After 11 or so years of this they started offering money - maybe $1000/patent divided between the inventors.
    The stated rationale behind the bricks was to keep people from pressing to be on patents where they didn't contribute/keeping folks off who did contribute, but quite honestly they could've achieved the same goals by not having high rewards, or even giving us whatever it cost to order the bricks.

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  6. We would get a silver dollar which was embedded in the plaque that we got. My silver dollar fell out and I had to glue it back in.

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  7. I was at a smallish CRO directly out of grad school and they gave you $1. I'm now at a large biotech and they give you $50 plus a plaque in the halls by the main entry. Patents have no bearing on your yearly performance review though and you may not receive a raise or a bonus if you get plenty of patents but the company does not do well. Conversely, the company has been doing record sales and profits the past three or more years and everyone gets at least a 50% target bonus that is stipulated in your contract, a lot get 100% of the target, some get upwards of 200% target bonus.

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  8. I worked at DuPont about 20 years ago, and they gave us a nice printed copy of the patents, with a blue ribbon. I still have one of mine. It's nicer than a brick or a dollar bill. If it turned out that a patent led to a profitable product, a person would get bigger yearly bonuses as well.

    When I worked at Dow about 35 years ago, you got a dollar coin for each patent. I remember one of the older synthetic chemists showing me his Susan B. Anthony coin, and he was livid because he hated feminists. I think he showed it to me because I was a young female chemist. I told him I'd take the coin if he didn't want it, but he didn't give it to me. A dollar is a dollar.

    Anyway, at Dow if you worked on a successful product, you would also get bigger bonuses.

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  9. Can't decide whether Feynman's "where's my dollar?" story or this scene from The Wire (NSFW) is a better summary of the process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvq3Pf3j61c

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  10. At my company we get $100 for a submission and $1000 and a plaque for approval. I guess I'm luckier than most! They really want to build our IP portfolio.

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  11. From the inbox, a commenter from AbbVie:

    Initial Filing: $500
    Patent Publish: $1200
    Patent Issue: $1500 and a nice plaque with the info on it. I've got like [a number larger than 15] sitting in my basement.

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    1. Seems rather generous to offer such a large award for a patent application publishing, when all applications publish unless expressly withdrawn by the applicant.

      I'm interested to know whether or not big companies hand out these kinds of rewards for every application including any divisionals or continuation application, or if it is only for the parent application. Also whether it includes European or other international applications.

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  12. Both of my previous employers gave us a few hundred dollars per patent. I haven't tested it at my new employer yet.

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  13. Patent obtained in graduate school: Mid 5 figures overall in royalty payments.
    Patent in industry: 100 $ and a certificate.

    I then quit industry because fuck that.

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  14. Currently going through this at my company. No one has said anything about an award. We rarely patent anything, and certainly at my branch no one ever patents anything. The bigger question for me is how one goes about deciding whether or not to include co-inventors. If I tell someone to mix a formulation based on raw materials I indicate, do they get included?

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    1. IANAL but no, they don't in that case. Inventors have to have made an inventive intellectual contribution, tied to at least one claim. If they are following someone else's instructions, they are not inventors.

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