If you pay a company to develop a product for you, that company will own all rights in an invention absent an agreement to the contrary. Yes, in most states, even if you pay for the product development the person at that company will be an inventor and own the patent rights, absent an agreement to the contrary. The key words are “absent agreement to the contrary.”
You can avoid this problem up front by having the company sign an agreement that requires the company to assign the rights in any inventions to you. Most product development companies are open to this approach but some will refuse to sign such an agreement.
You should not work with companies that refuse to sign such an intellectual property protection agreement as you will not own the rights to anything they develop, even though you paid for it.
To learn more about how Panitch Schwarze Belisario & Nadel LLP intellectual property lawyers can help you, contact us.