02 Jul 2013

Who is an inventor?

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A small client asked me this morning: “Who needs to be listed on the patent?”

It occurs to me that I am asked this question all the time. The answer is surprisingly simple. All inventors must be named on a United States application for patent.

Who is an inventor then? An inventor is any party who conceptually contributes to one or more of the claims. Conception is a higher threshold than merely implementing according to design requirements. But if any of other person’s ideas are claimed, then they should also be listed. It doesn’t matter what you put in the figures or the specification. What’s important is the subject matter actually recited in the numbered claims at the end of the application.

And if you have concerns regarding ownership of the rights in the patent, then be sure to prepare, file, and record an assignment  with the USPTO; preferably when you file the patent application.

All the best!

Spencer K. Hunter

Spencer specializes in Patent and Intellectual Property Law in Beaverton, Oregon and surrounding areas including Portland, Oregon.