Hopkins, MN asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) and Business Law for Minnesota

Q: If I have an investor , and the patentholder dies, is it possible for the investor to file claim to that patent?

1 Lawyer Answer
Stephen E. Zweig
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  • Patents Lawyer
  • Los Gatos, CA

A: It depends on how ownership of the patent is structured, and the terms of the investment.

For example, investors often require that the inventor assign the patent to a company. The inventor will presumably own shares in the company. When the investor invests, then the investor owns shares in the company as well. If the inventor dies, the inventors heirs will own the investor's shares, and the investor will continue to own their shares.

Alternatively, the investor may have required that the inventor assign some or all of the patent to the investor. Again, if the inventor dies, the inventor's heirs will own the inventor's percentage ownership, and the investor will continue to own their percentage ownership.

If things are informal, it gets more confusing. However it is possible that the investor may still have a claim on at least part of the invention as well.

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