Walnut Creek, CA asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) and Intellectual Property for California

Q: Three named inventors on a patent...what are the rights of these named inventors?

If a patent is assigned to three named inventors, does each inventor have the right to do what they please without approval or profit share to the other inventors?

A California LLC was in place but terminated in 2021 before being granted the patent. It was agreed upon that the patent would be assigned to inventors and not the company.

2 Lawyer Answers
Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Moorestown, NJ

A: Yes, that is correct: each of the inventors has a right to do with the patent rights as he pleases, without accounting or profit sharing with others.

In this case, though, you do have to be very careful that the rights were not actually assigned to the California LLC, and that if there was such paperwork, that rights were somehow assigned back to the inventors.

Just a side note on terminology, which may cause confusion when talking with patent attorneys: patent rights are not assigned to the inventor, but originate with the inventor. When the inventor invents a patentable invention, the inventor is the owner. The inventor may then assign the invention to others.

David Aldrich agrees with this answer

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under U.S. patent law, each co-inventor, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, has the right to make, use, and sell the patented invention without the consent of, and without accounting to, the other co-inventors. However, this also means each co-inventor can grant licenses to third parties without the consent of the other inventors, though profits from such licenses must be shared. To prevent potential disputes, co-inventors often enter into agreements outlining their respective rights, obligations, and profit-sharing arrangements regarding the patented invention.

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.