Q: Do I have any recourse if the design team I am working with excludes me from a patent?
I am a CAD designer for a large company and was instrument in contributing to the patent IP. There are multiple patents I have been excluded from.
A: If you made an inventive contribution to a patent, then you cannot be excluded from it. However, improper inventorship on an issued patent can cause the patent to be unenforceable. For that reason, patent attorneys and companies generally try to make sure all inventors are included on an application. If you have been excluded, and you truly believe you contributed to an INVENTIVE element of the patent/application (i.e. not just working on some aspect of it, but actually discovered something), I suggest you speak with a patent attorney to evaluate your options. 35 USC 116 is to correct inventorship in pending applications, while 35 USC 256 is to correct inventorship in issued patents. If there is any adversity between you and the company or joint inventors, litigation will almost be a certainty, and will be very costly. Good luck!
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