Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Employees' IP at Bell Labs

During their first few days in New York, the new "members of the technical staff"—MTSs, as they were called—learned their way around West Street. They were summoned to listen to speeches . . . . But mostly they met with their supervisors . . . to try and hash out what kind of work they would be doing. At one point during the first few days the freshmen were asked to sell the rights to their future patents, whatever these might be; their research, wherever it took them, was to benefit Bell Labs and phone subscribers. None of the young men refused. And in exchange for their signatures, each was given a crisp one-dollar bill.
Jon Gertner, The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation (New York: Penguin, 2012), p.  40

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