Dacula, GA asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Georgia

Q: What are the laws concerning marketing products from said patent without both inventors signing the other rights?

If one of the inventors listed on the patent has died. Are his rights transferable to his heirs or does the other listed inventor have sole marketing rights?

1 Lawyer Answer
Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Pittsboro, NC

A: Patent rights start with the inventors. The rights can be moved in their entirety through a type of contract known as an assignment. Many inventors are paid to invent by their employers and assign their inventions over to their employer. Rights can also be given to use the invention through a type of contract known as a license.

If contracts have not been put in place to move the rights around then the rights are with the original inventors. If more than one inventor is listed then each has the right to use the patent (including licensing others to use it). None of the inventors needs to account (share) profits with the other inventors. This is a messy situation that is normally avoided by agreement but without any agreements, it is what you have.

You should ask someone that knows Georgia law about where the rights went when the one inventor died. These rights DO NOT disappear under patent law so someone owns rights that belonged to the inventor on the day the inventor died.

NOTE--patent rights do not last forever so you need to check to ensure that this patent is still in force.

If you found this answer helpful, you may want to look at my answers to other questions about patent law are available at the bottom of my profile page at


Kevin E Flynn

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