Who are the patent inventors?

An inventor is an individual person (not a company or organization) who contributes to an invention as defined by the patent claims. In a design patent, the claim consists of the drawings so a design patent inventor would be anyone who contributed to a feature shown in the figures.

In a utility patent, however, the claims do not consist of the drawings or the detailed description. Utility patent inventors, therefore, are the ones who contributed to the invention as defined by the wordy claims.

How to correct inventorship

If an inventor was inadvertently omitted from or added to the list of inventors in a non-provisional patent application, inventorship may be corrected by filing a request to correct inventorship that includes an updated Application Data Sheet and a USPTO processing fee under 37 CFR § 1.17(i). [See MPEP 602.01(c), and 37 CFR 1.48].

What is a derivation proceeding?

For patent applications filed on or after March 16, 2013, a derivation proceeding may be available for a true inventor to challenge the inventorship of an issued patent. The alleged true inventor must not be the first to file a patent application (otherwise, the application by the true inventor may already qualify as prior art under 35 USC 102).

Can a US national stage application have different inventors than those in the PCT application?

Yes, a Preliminary Amendment can be filed with the initial filing of a US national stage application to cancel claims involving certain inventors. An Application Data Sheet (ADS) must also be filed with the national stage application identifying the remaining inventors and omitting the inventor(s) of the canceled claims.

37 CFR 1.41(e) states:

  • (e) The inventorship of an international application entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in the application data sheet in accordance with § 76 filed with the initial submission under 35 U.S.C. 371. Unless the initial submission under 35 U.S.C. 371 is accompanied by an application data sheet in accordance with § 1.76 setting forth the inventor or joint inventors, the inventorship is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in the international application, which includes any change effected under PCT Rule 92bis.
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Vic Lin

Vic Lin

Startup Patent Attorney | IP Chair at Innovation Capital Law Group
We love working with startups and small businesses. I help entrepreneurs protect their intellectual property so they can reach their business goals.