An engineer who says that his patented technology is used in three missile defense systems used by the U.S. Department of Defense told a California news team that he was suing the government, but not for copyright infringement or patent protection. Instead, the man sued for wrongful termination, saying that once his patented technology solved the Raytheon Company’s problem with the systems, they no longer had work for him and fired him. He said that his patented solution to the Firefinder, Sentinel and Thermal High Altitude Area Defense Radar systems predated his employment at the company.
The man said that he did not sue for patent infringement because he wanted the system to continue to protect American soldiers. He said that it was for the United States, not for Raytheon. He added that his patents were meant for fighters to save lives and protect the country. Raytheon denied that any wrongful termination or patent infringement had occurred.
The engineer and his wife own a 2002 patent describing a high-performance cold plate, which is a device used to keep high-performance electronics from overheating. He said that when he was hired as an engineer at Raytheon, he detailed the patent and its potential to solve their problems with the radar systems to the company’s executives. According to the engineer, overheating inside the missile systems’ electronics was causing their computers to miscalculate missile locations.
Being wrongfully discharged can happen to employees of any level within a company. Any worker who feels that he or she has suffered from wrongful termination, such as for discrimination or being a whistleblower for unsafe practices, may be able to seek redress in a court of law.
Source: ABC 10, “Engineer claims defense contractor Raytheon stole his patent”, Mitch Blacher, November 06, 2013