For those who are new to the patent process, the concept of inventorship can be challenging. This article seeks to answer common questions surrounding this subject for those considering or preparing for a provisional or non-provisional patent filing:
Who is the inventor? An inventor is an actual person (as opposed to a company) who contributed a concrete element or step to the invention at hand.
Can an invention have multiple inventors? Yes, all people who came up with the idea and it’s underlying details should be listed as inventors.
To whom is the patent granted when a patent application lists multiple inventors? If each individual shared in forming the ideas which are listed in the claims, both individuals should be listed on the application as inventors and the patent will be issued to them jointly.
What if one of the inventors contributed more ideas to the claims than the other inventor? As long as an inventor had a share in any idea defined in the claims – even just one of the claims – he is considered a joint inventor and should be listed on the patent application.
If two people work together to furnish an invention, but only one contributes the idea while the second follows instructions, are they both considered inventors? No, the person who contributed the ideas is the sole inventor and should be listed alone on the patent application.
Is an individual who provides the financing and resources for an idea considered an inventor? No, only the true inventor(s) (i.e. the person(s) who furnished the idea) should be listed on the patent application. Their employers, for example, are not the inventors, even if they provided the resources for developing the innovation.
Does it matter in which order I list the inventors? No, the order in which inventors are listed on an application has no legal significance. However, some consider it an honor to be listed as the first inventor on a patent application and this is sometimes bestowed on the individual who made the largest or most important contributions.
Can I use tools such as PatentFiler for an application if I am not the inventor? Yes, representatives may file on behalf of the inventor if they are authorized to do so by applicable laws.