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Take the following clause from an employment contract:

If and whenever required to do so (whether during or after the termination of this Contract), you shall at the expense of the Company (or the Company’s nominee) apply for or join in applying for letters patent or other equivalent protection in England and/or any other part of the world for any such discovery, invention, idea, process or improvement referred to above, you shall execute all instruments necessary for vesting the said letters patent or other equivalent protection when obtained and all right, title and interest to and in the same in the Company (or the Company’s nominee) absolutely and as sole beneficial owner or in such other person as may be required. You hereby irrevocably appoint the Company to be your attorney in your name and on your behalf to execute any such instruments and generally to use your name for the purpose of giving to the Company or its nominee the full benefit of the provisions of this clause.

Unless I've misread, one implication is:

Even after this contract doesn't exist any more (i.e. you stopped working for us), it still compels you to participate until the day you die in any patent application processes anywhere in the world that the company wants you to be a part of.

Have I misread? If not, and the ethics of this aside, is this even possible? Can a contract act on someone after it is terminated?

  • The clause clearly states ".. for any such discovery, invention, idea, process or improvement referred to above ..". There is an entire additional clause in operation that you have not included, making the question impossible to answer. Yes, a contract can require you to do something after the contract itself is terminated, such as repaying loans or returning property or transferring IP rights. – Nij Oct 24 '17 at 18:44
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Yes, clauses of contracts survive termination when they say they do or if injustice would arise if they didn’t.

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