Patent Assignment Agreement

By Shelly Morgan

Patents are valuable because they give the inventor the right to exclude others from making or using the patented invention. This right can be transferred to others through an assignment. Agreements to assign patents are common in industries that engage in research and development.

Patents are valuable because they give the inventor the right to exclude others from making or using the patented invention. This right can be transferred to others through an assignment. Agreements to assign patents are common in industries that engage in research and development.

Employment Agreements

Most employment contracts with universities and tech companies include a provision that requires employees to assign the rights to anything they invent during the duration of their employment to the employer. These agreements often include inventions made by the inventor on her own time. Such far-reaching assignment agreements prevent employees from competing with their employer. Industry would have less incentive to produce new products if employees retained the rights to the inventions.

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Formalities During Filing

The inventor -- or more commonly his employer -- files Form 1595 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office listing particular patents or patent applications that are subject to the assignment agreement. This record puts the world on notice that ownership of the rights to the intellectual property has been assigned to a particular company.

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Ownership vs. Inventorship of a Patent

References

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A patent is a personal property right granted to an inventor under federal law through the U.S Patent and Trademark Office. To obtain a patent, the inventor must apply to the PTO for one. If the PTO approves the patent, the PTO issues a certificate of patent to the inventor. The holder of a patent may then license the patent to other users, granting them the right to use the patented idea or technology.

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In the U.S., a patent for an invention can be granted only by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Washington, D.C. Once granted, the patent gives an inventor the exclusive right to manufacture, use and sell his invention, as well as legally prevent others from doing so. The patent holder also has the right to license others to use his invention, typically for payment of a royalty fee. A patent license is a private agreement between the inventor and a licensee, and does not involve the USPTO.

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