Having experience in electronics, I
said that I thought I could design a device that would make such a warning sound.
After a few working prototypes, the “backup alarm” was born. I set up a small
production line, helped to hire some electronic construction people and soon we were
cranking out alarms by the thousands. The boss then had me start the process
of filing for a patent on the new product. I worked closely with a patent
lawyer and a technical illustrator to complete all the necessary patent papers.
The process took a few months but soon everything was done. Several other products
were also developed for that company by me, around that same time, which all came
from my imagination. As in the first backup alarm product, the bosses name was
the only name listed on the patent. Although the boss didn’t participate in the
invention process, because he was the boss, he felt like it should be his name on
the patent. I didn’t know any better at the time. It seemed wrong to me
and was one of the reasons I left the company for green pastures.
Decades later, I found myself again
working at a company where the boss was bound and determined to line his office
walls with patents with his name on them. This time I did know better and when
I asked him about it he just shrugged. I knew that it was not a place for me,
so I left.
I wonder how much of this kind of
thing is still going on. I bet it happens a lot. The idea man feels that
he deserves top billing on the patent even if his technical contributions were
minimal. What do you think?