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Listing all Co-Inventors
Fed. Circ. Axes Dog Aid Patent That Omitted Inventor’s Vet
Law360 (May 4, 2018, 9:22 PM EDT) — The Federal Circuit ruled Thursday that a man who claimed to be the sole inventor doomed his chances of obtaining a patent on a device to help dogs walk after surgery by failing to name his dog’s veterinarian as a co-inventor, because she came up with a key aspect of the invention.
The appeals court affirmed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s decision to reject Jeff H. VerHoef’s patent application under a law that requires patents to name the correct inventors of the invention and bars…
Comments from Don Debelak
USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) has always required that all inventors are listed on a patent application, even if they provide a small part of the invention. The impetus to be sure that co-inventors are properly listed today is greater than ever as in 2013 the patent office has provided additional ways for people to challenge patents. These ways include post grant review, inter-parties review and ex-parte reexamination.
I’m not positive what happened in this case, but in similar cases it is possible for a disgruntled co-inventor to challenge your patent, or another interested party, for example a potential competitor, to challenge your patent and invalidate it if co-inventors are not listed.
How to Protect Yourself Financially
Just because you list someone as a co-inventor does not mean that they own a percentage of the invention or entitled to profit from it. But you are wise to have a co-inventor sign some documents when the application is being prepared that keep you in control of your inventions.
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