Q: Hello, If I'm wanting to file for a patent how can I protect it in case I have a divorce?
I'm in a marriage that is going to well but I have an idea for a patent and plan to file for a provisional patent in the next few days. Should I just get a friend of mine to take ownership until I'm sure I can own the patent safely.
A: This is an interesting question, that has more to do with family law than patent law. But here are a few points:
Once a patent issues, then the patent is considered a personal property, just like a bank account, a car, or an art collection. Whenever there is a divorce, the property is evaluated and is split between the parties, just like anything else. You'd probably get to keep the patent, but you'd have to offset it somewhere else.
Trying to hide an asset by having your friend take ownership, would be somewhat similar to trying to hide assets from the spouse (and the spouse's lawyer) during divorce proceedings. I don't know South Carolina laws, but I'd have a hard time thinking that this would go over very well for you. You really see a SC family law attorney.
And of course, from a practical point of view, there would not be much that you could do against your friend, if you give your patent to him, and he later sees that it is worth a lot of money and decides to just keep it. If he decides to screw you over and keep the patent, are you going to go to court and say "I conveyed the patent to my friend because I was trying to cheat my wife in the divorce court"? That ranks along the lines of calling the cops on your drug dealer because he stiffed you.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.