Provisional Application FAQs
What if the inventor does not own the invention?
All patent applications must be filed in the name of the actual inventor(s). As often happens, however, the owner of the invention may be another person or entity. This would occur, for example, if the invention was created as part of one's employment or if it was sold or transferred by the inventor to somebody else.
If an inventor has assigned or agreed to assign an invention to someone else, the inventor can still apply in his or her own name for the patent, and then execute an assignment and file an Assignment Recordation with the USPTO either when the patent application is filed or anytime after that to inform the PTO of the change in ownership. For additional information, please contact the Assignment Branch of the USPTO at (571) 272-3350.
HOWEVER, PLEASE NOTE THAT, beginning September 16, 2012, the law will change to the following:
In most circumstances, a patent application must be filed by the inventor. If, however, the inventor has assigned, or has agreed to assign the invention to another person or entity, then that person or entity may make an application for patent. Also, anyone who otherwise shows “sufficient proprietary interest” in the matter may make an application for patent on behalf of and as agent for the inventor on proof that such action is appropriate to preserve all parties’ rights" (if, for example, the inventor is deceased, legally incapacitated or is obliged to assign the invention but has refused to sign the inventor's oath as required).