3/2/2010
by: Joseph Page
Topic Views: 3560

Patent Assignee

Who owns a patent?

Assignee
Related Topics: Inventor
Untitled Document Patent Assignments To determine who owns a patent, one must first start with the inventors. The inventors collectively own the patent together from the instant the invention is made. If the inventors do nothing to transfer ownership to any other person, they (each of them) will remain the owners for the life of the patent term. However, if an inventor executes or has previously executed an 'patent assignment agreement', then ownership of the patent is transferred to or assigned to another party. Inventor is the Default Owner Merely by creating an invention, an inventor is the owner by default. Without doing more than making the invention, the inventor becomes its owner as soon as the patent application is filed. An inventor is not obligated to register this ownership in any way as the absence of a patent assignment registration is interpreted to indicate that the inventors remain the patent owners. When an inventor sells the patent to another party such as his employer, the new owner must register the ownership at the patent office as an assignment. Assignments are Recorder at the USPTO You can check who owns a patent by viewing patent assignments at the patent office patent assignment database which is arranged to receive web queries and deliver results in real-time via this web application. The accuracy of this system is not perfect. Keep in mind that patent ownership is transferred from one party to another by way of contract. That is, the two parties come to an agreement. This contract may not be a written contract. Further, the parties may fail to register the assignment. In this case, the true owner might not agree with that information published as part of the assignment database. Employee Agreements and Patent Assignments In many cases, patent ownership is transferred to a company the instant the invention is made. This is done by a contract or agreement. Usually, an 'employment agreement' binds an employee to transfer all intellectual property including patents to the company as part of employment. Whatever inventions are made, they are immediately transfer to the company upon conception. The company is said to be the 'assignee' and the employee is the 'assignor'. In many cases, a company has a liberal policy to permit employees to 'recapture' their ownership where the company declines to pursue the invention. A sort of first-right-of-refusal permits the company to review the idea for commercial consideration. Where the company decides not to pursue development of the invention, ownership returns to the inventor and she may pursue the invention independently. Not all companies take this position with regard to employee inventions. You must consult your employee agreement to learn of the particular details set forth there. Recording a Patent Assignment Usually when a patent is filed, a corporate owner is indicated by an ‘assignee recording process’. All inventors transfer their interest to the corporation by contract and a copy of that contract is filed with the patent office to evidence the transfer. In this case, the record will show the proper owner of the patent and that may be printed on the patent when it grants. In many cases, the assignee printed on a patent is no longer that true owner. When a patent is purchased from one owner to another, the patent cover will still show the original assignee as there is no mechanism to update that information.
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Comments on the patent topic: Assignee
I noticed sometimes there is no Assignee - I guess the Inventor is the assignee where no other is explicitly stated?
Commiss
3/2/2010
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Patent Services Header Intellectual Property Patent Agent, patent attorney, patent law Patent Topic: "Assignee" Patent Attorney Invention HOME IP Tip: #9
Since patents are quite similar from nation to nation, it is possible to file a single patent application with the Patent Cooperation Treaty guidelines and prosecute the application singly in the first few years.  After the application matures, the application is granted at each national patent office.  In this way, it is possible to save a considerable amount of money avoiding patent development fees at every nation.  Because patent principles such as 'obviousness' and 'inventive step' have different standards, a PCT application should account for each of these. Patent Attorney, Patent law Patent Cooperation Treaty
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