Dear Jim,in the US patent applications are filed in the name of the inventor(s) thus absent an agreement to the contrary the inventor(s) have ownership. The inventor may have a duty to assign. For example, if the inventor is an employee the employee agreement may require that the inventor assign to the employee. Similarly, there may have been a strategic alliance in place that set ownership for all resulting inventions to a certain party and required assignment by the inventor. Another example, is where the inventor sells the IP to a second pary - this purchase would include an assignment.Assignments are simply a contract transferring ownership.Given that there can be multiple inventors and different inventors can have different obligations multiple parties may together own the entire right, title and interest of the patent property. This occurs when any of the following cases exist:
(A) Multiple partial assignees of the patent property;
(B) Multiple inventors who have not assigned their right, title and interest; or
(C) A combination of partial assignee(s), and inventor(s) who have not assigned their right, title and interest.
All my best
If there is an assignment filed with the patent application, then the Assignee controls and owns the rights. If there is no assignment filed with the patent application, then the Inventors can control the application until an assignment is filed. Inventors control the patent application until or unless they sign a written agreement to assign their inventions to another. In the case of an assignment, title goes to the Assignee. In the case of a power of attorney it just affects who controls prosecution before the United States Patent Office and not who owns the resulting patent or patent application.
Bruce M. Winchell, J.D.
Licensed to practice law in Ohio & Tennessee
Rgistered Patent Attorney in the United States
Registered Patent Agent in Canada
Certified Licensing Professional in US/Canada
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