An invention is considered to be owned by the person who originally conceived it. Ownership of an invention may be formally transferred at any time, before or after an application is filed for it. Transfer of ownership must be done in writing and registered with the patent office. Irrespective of ownership, the inventor name, as such, remains on application and patent documents.
Many inventions are developed collaboratively. In such cases, rightful ownership of the invention is shared by all who contributed inventively to its development. Ancillary participants (e.g. model makers) are not considered to be making an inventive contribution to an invention, and are not considered to have a share in its ownership. Patent applications for collaborative inventions are filed in the name of all inventors involved as you can read on how to file a patent with InventHelp.
Engineers and designers are typically hired to perform innovative work. Inventions conceived by such individuals in the course of their employment are legally owned by their employer. Similarly, rightful ownership of an invention is with the employer, where a signed contract obliges an employee (under any job description) to transfer such rights to the employer. Under other circumstances, an employee is not obliged to transfer ownership rights of a privately-developed invention to his or her employer.
Patent Ownership and Assignment
Ownership of a patent may be assigned by a patentee to another person or to other persons separately, wholly or partly, for the full or only part of the patent term, and with or without geographical restrictions. An assignment of a patent must be registered with the patent office to take effect. By assigning a patent, in part or in full, an inventor relinquishes his or her right to the part assigned. The inventor name remains, as such, on assigned patent documents.
Under certain circumstances, as described in the section above, the rightful ownership of an employee’s invention is with the employer. The invention must still be filed in the name of the true inventor, but an assignment is then signed and registered with the patent office, transferring rights (full rights, typically) to the employer. For more information continue reading – how to get a patent with InventHelp.