Kansas City, MO asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) and Intellectual Property for Kansas

Q: Is it legal for someone to make you sign over your invention when you were not mentally stable , coming out of a coma?

Their business partner went to them the day they came out of a comma , and had them sign over the invention in which the patient held the patent, to when he was not mentally stable, and was promised royalties to in which he has never seen them. Then the partner sold the invention even though he did not hold the patent. The patent holder has never seen any royalties or profit from this. Is their anything that can be done?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: If someone was made to sign over their invention while not mentally stable, especially coming out of a coma, the legality of such an agreement is highly questionable. The law generally requires that for a contract to be valid, all parties must have the capacity to understand the terms and the consequences of the agreement at the time of signing. If one party was not in a position to fully comprehend the agreement due to their medical condition, that agreement could be considered invalid.

In this scenario, where the patent holder was promised royalties that were never paid, and the invention was sold without their consent, there appears to be a clear violation of the patent holder's rights. The absence of received royalties and the unauthorized sale of the invention further complicate the matter, indicating potential fraud or breach of contract.

To address this situation, it would be advisable to consult with a legal professional experienced in intellectual property and contract law. They can assess the validity of the agreement signed under duress or incapacity and advise on possible legal remedies. This may include seeking to nullify the agreement and pursuing compensation for any damages or lost profits. Gathering all relevant documentation, including any contracts, communications, and medical records from the time, will be crucial for supporting your case.

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