parental influence over his sons. In June of 1962, D. B. Magid reduced Eugene's salary from $ 25,000.00 to $ 18,000.00 while Eugene was in Europe. Upon his return from abroad Eugene spoke to Robert P. Magid who interceded on his behalf with D. B. Magid and Eugene's salary was reinstated to $ 25,000.00. These incidents illustrate the unconventional manner in which the corporate activities were maintained.
While employed at Wellington Eugene A. Magid apparently accounted to no one except his father. He set his own hours, and no one restricted his activities in the plant. Although Eugene was not a technically trained person he began to experiment with techniques for superimposing patterns on particular materials, and also, the laminating of the materials themselves.
During the year 1962, he began to devote considerable time to these experiments. Eugene submitted samples or 'patches' of his work to his brother Robert and M. Danson, sales manager of Hartford. He also prepared diagrams of his inventions which reflected Wellington's machines. He also used Wellington's equipment and personnel to conduct his experiments which interrupted the normal assembly line production of the company.
The time that he spent in these endeavors was not confined to the daylight hours alone, and he frequently ran samples on the machines during the two later shifts at the Wellington plant.
Initially, no one showed much interest in his samples until it became apparent that Eugene exhibited a natural talent in his inventive work. In fact, D. B. Magid expressed irritation when he was questioned by a son-in-law as to why Eugene was working such long hours. He said that if Eugene would stop playing around with the machines and do the work that he was supposed to perform, he could go home at a decent hour.
Hundreds of samples produced by Eugene were sent to the sales manager of Hartford and many of the new patterns produced by Eugene were sold. Of these numerous samples five particular discoveries which are the subject matter of this suit created great interest in Robert P. Magid. These five inventions had been submitted to Wellington's patent attorney for an opinion as to their patentability. He determined that three of the developments were patentable, and Eugene applied for patents on these discoveries.
In March of 1964, Eugene asked for commissions for the products which he had invented. Prior to this time he had not asked for any additional compensation for his inventive efforts. Robert declined to authorize these commissions and directed Eugene to assign the patent applications on the inventions to Wellington. Eugene refused and on June 23, 1964, Robert P. Magid proffered a contract of employment to Eugene which required him to assign any patent applications to Wellington and that any future inventions would be the property of Wellington.
Eugene then met with D. B. Magid who told him to sign the contract or be fired, adn also, that he must assign his patent applications to the plaintiff. Eugene refused to meet these terms, and on July 31, 1964, he was discharged.
The law is clear that 'absent a contrary understanding the mere existence of an employer-employee relationship does not entitle the employer to ownership of an invention of the employee even though the employee uses the time and facilities of the employer * * *.' Blum v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 183 F.2d 281, 287 (3 Cir. 1950). However, if the employee does use his employer's time and facilities, the employer is entitled to a shop right in the invention. Pressed Steel Car Co. v. Hansen, 137 F. 403, 410, 2 L.R.A.,N.S., 1172 (3 Cir. 1905) cert. denied 199 U.S. 608, 26 S. Ct. 749, 50 L. Ed. 331 (1905); Kinkade v. New York Shipbuilding Corp., 21 N.J. 362, 122 A.2d 360, 61 A.L.R.2d 348 (1956). Such a shop right 'passes from the employee to his employer immediately upon the making of the invention by the employee * * *.' (Emphasis Supplied.) In re Hobbs, 136 U.S.P.Q. 489, 497 (1963). A shop right is limited to a non-exclusive right in the employer to practice the employee's invention. United States v. Dubilier Condenser Corp., 289 U.S. 178, 188, 53 S. Ct. 554, 77 L. Ed. 1114 (1933).
The record in this case compels the conclusion that no agreement either express or implied existed between the plaintiff and the defendant, whereby the defendant was obligated to assign his inventions to the plaintiff. We found no credible evidence which reflects that the plaintiff had any arrangement whatsoever with the defendant.
However, we do conclude that because the defendant used his employer's time and facilities in developing these inventions that the plaintiff does have a non-exclusive license to practice them.
We reject the defendant's contention that because he experimented primarily on the late shifts that he was working on his own time and not Wellington's. When an employee receives a large salary of $ 25,000.00 a year and is an officer of a corporation his obligations do not cease at the close of normal business hours. Particularly is this true in a situation where the employer functions 24 hours a day. The method of production employed by Wellington in operating around the clock made the defendant's inventions possible.
The defendant has filed a counterclaim in this action asserting that the instant suit was maliciously instituted by the plaintiff to recover ownership of the defendant's ideas or patent applications. While we have concluded that the plaintiff has no ownership rights in these inventions, we do not find that Wellington was without any valid basis for bringing this action. Undoubtedly personal animosity does exist between Robert and Eugene as well as other members of the Magid family. However, in any family-owned corporation such discord becomes intense and disagreements often generate lawsuits. This fact alone does not militate against the right of the corporation to assert its claim to these inventions developed on its time and with its facilities.
The foregoing Opinion constitutes the Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law under Rule 52(a). We incorporate herein our findings of fact Nos. 1, 2 and 3 concerning jurisdiction as set forth in our prior opinion of January 26, 1965, dealing with the preliminary injunction.