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.
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
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.
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