This case involves Dr. Shukh, who sued his former employer Seagate to correct the identity of the inventors under 35 U.S.C. § 256 by adding his name as an inventor on six patents and four pending applications. Dr. Shukh had signed standard employment contracts in which he agreed to assign all rights in his patents. Following his termination by Seagate, Dr. Shukh was unable to obtain employment. Seagate argued that Dr. Shukh lacked standing to correct inventorship, because, by assigning his rights to Seagate, he had no ownership or financial interests in the patent, and additionally he could not prove reputation harm due to the omission. The court held that “concrete and particularized reputational injury can give rise to Article III standing,” because being an inventor may be a mark of success in a field and pecuniary consequences may flow from being designated as an inventor. The court held that issues of fact existed as to whether Dr. Shukh had suffered reputational harm as a result of not being named as an inventor and that the court had erred by making factual findings on summary judgment.
Shukh v. Seagate Technology, LLC, Case No. 2014-1406 (October 2, 2015); Opinion by: Moore, joined by Wallach and Taranto; Appealed From: District Court for the District of Minnesota, Tunheim, J. Read the full opinion here.