What To Do with Co-Inventors

Some patents are the result of a lone inventor toiling away all by himself, but there are plenty of inventions that come as a team effort. When this happens, you and the other inventors need to pay close attention to the fine print of the patent application.

Inventorship v Ownership

When a team of inventors creates something patentable, one of the first things to understand is the difference between inventorship and ownership.

Inventorship refers to the credit given to each inventor involved in the process. It’s important to understand that inventorship cannot be changed, delegated, bought, or sold. If someone did not help on the project, they cannot be listed on the application. Likewise, if someone did help they must be listed on the application. One caveat to this rule is staff hired to either prototype or create the invention. Anyone who simply follows the instructions of the inventor(s) is not entitled to inventorship.

Ownership can be bought, sold, transferred and traded just like baseball cards. Transferring ownership of a patent is a fairly simple legal process that an Arizona patent attorney can take care of for you. Often times, a group of inventors will form an LLC or corporation and transfer ownership of the patent to the company.

Licensing and Selling

When multiple inventors have joint ownership of a patent, each inventor can legally market, grant rights, and license without consent from the other inventors. Inventors are also not obligated to split revenue gained by the previously listed activity.

Having more than one inventor on the patent application makes a complicated process more complicated. There are several pitfalls you can easily succumb to without the eye of a trained patent lawyer. At Parsons & Goltry we help solo inventors and teams of inventors successfully gain patent rights and offer guidance for steps to take in the future.

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"Mr. Goltry took a provisional patent that we'd filed ourselves, and quickly and professionally turned our innovation into U.S. and foreign applications. His [patent claims] were a thing of beauty, and I was amazed by how deftly he countered the inevitable office actions. His language held up, and the U.S. Patent just issued. He was easy and efficient to work with, and his fees were remarkably reasonable. We're not planning to go anywhere else, ever."

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"I applied for a patent through Parsons & Goltry. After being on the docket for 2 years at the USPTO, I received notification that my patent request had been denied. Michael Goltry contacted me immediately to review my options. After I informed him of my decision to move forward, he filed a response to the USPTO. In his response he got the examiner to fully understand the claims in the patent application and the "denied" decision was reversed. I was able to secure and receive a "patent granted" decision. Thank you, Michael Goltry."

- Kathy H., Inventor


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