Preston v. Marathon Oil Co.
Soon after Yale Preston was employed by Pennaco Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marathon Oil Company (collectively referred to as Marathon), Preston signed an employee agreement with a disclosure and assignment of intellectual property clause. The present dispute centered around allegations of patent infringement and questions of ownership of two patents that covered a baffle system that Preston invented. The district court found that Preston was the sole inventor of the patents and that the employee agreement was a valid contract, pursuant to which Preston was required to assign his ownership interest in the patents to Marathon. At issue on appeal was the validity of the assignment of intellectual property rights given to Marathon without an additional consideration other than continued at-will employment. The Supreme Court accepted certification and held that continuing the employment of an existing at-will employee constitutes adequate consideration to support an agreement containing an intellectual property-assignment provision. View "Preston v. Marathon Oil Co." on Justia Law