Patents—entitlement and co-ownership
Patents—entitlement and co-ownership

The following IP practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Patents—entitlement and co-ownership
  • Why ownership of IP is important
  • Patent entitlement
  • The right to apply for and obtain a patent
  • The inventor of a patent
  • Employee inventions
  • Right to be named on the patent as an inventor
  • Patent co-ownership
  • Patent entitlement proceedings
  • Entitlement proceedings—who, when and where?
  • More...

Why ownership of IP is important

A single creation can result in a number of different IP rights but the owner of each right may be different and some of the rights may be jointly owned. In order to avoid disputes regarding IP ownership it is advisable to consider ownership at the outset before a creation is made or, if this has not been done, as soon as possible after creation. The rules on ownership are complex and differ for each IP right. For more information about ownership of copyright, trade marks and designs, see Practice Notes:

  1. Copyright—authorship and ownership

  2. UK registered and unregistered designs

  3. Community (EU) designs

  4. Trade mark registration—strategy

The basic purpose of the patent system is to encourage innovation. In return for disclosing the details of an invention to the world, a patent owner is given the right to exclude others from making commercial use of the patented invention (ie infringing the patent) for a certain period of time, in the UK this is generally 20 years from the date of filing. For more information, see Practice Notes:

  1. Patent infringement

  2. Indirect infringement of patents

  3. Patent term, renewal and restoration

Patents and patent applications are personal property and, as such, the owner (patentee) can assign, mortgage or licence them at any stage until the patent expires, see Practice Note: Transferring patent rights.

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