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Who counts as an inventor?

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2020 | Patent Law

Driving innovation is at the core of what patents represent, and those that do the driving earn their credit. Being listed as an inventor on a patent isn’t taken lightly, especially when there are strict rules for who qualifies.

Inventors named on patents can enjoy lifelong perks, from professional acclaim to larger lifetime earnings. But the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) doesn’t let everyone put their name down as such. Ownership of an invention can go to a controlling entity, but earning a spot as a novel propagator takes special considerations.

Novel naming

Inventors are essential to the patent process. Novel ideas can’t exist without an inventor, and without novel ideas, there is no patent. It might be just your name or a whole slew of contributors, but you’ll all have to come up with a share of the concept.

Earning credits

Every person that contributes to a project doesn’t qualify as an inventor, even if they helped in other ways:

  • Identifies the problem but doesn’t help in finding a solution
  • Theorizes on the solution but without adding specific contributions
  • Contributes obvious additions as opposed to novel ideas
  • Practically implements the finished process but doesn’t work on development
  • Advances the idea in a novel way that isn’t claimed in the patent

Failing qualifiers

No matter the external pressure, there could be consequences for listing unqualified names as inventors. Your employers and benefactors alike can qualify for ownership, but they’ll still have to meet the standards before making it as an inventor.

If a name makes it under the inventor title that shouldn’t be there, then there’s a chance the application won’t succeed. The USPTO could reject the patent if you don’t correct inaccuracies.

Patents have a range of benefits, but the details must be in order. It isn’t easy to get it all right, but doing so can help ensure you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.