My name was missed in several patents issued by a Company with whom I was in the past. I contacted a very experienced Attorney in Employer-Employee Relations for an advice. His belief was that I cannot do anything if the Company does not want to add my name as an Author of a patent owned by The Company. However, this is a matter of Authorship but not a matter of Ownership. In Authorship it is only the Person (the Author) who matter. A Company may own the Patent but they do not own the persons names.

I gave the Attorney the following example: I own a Mercedes car and in my garage I replaced all the car signs of Mercedes with those of GM. I can do that because I own the car, but I cannot drive such a car on the street - It is illegal to change the Authorship (in that case Mercedes). He said "Very interesting example - I have not thought about such situation" but he remained firm on the belief that I cannot do anything to protect my name as an Author if the patent is owned by a Company, and the Company does not want to include my name regardless that the key idea of the patent is mine.

In other words, I think it is illegal to ignore an Author of a patent, and it is a personal care of the missing Author in the list this to be corrected. It is not a Company care. I believe that a Person do not need an agreement by the Company to file a claim for Patent Authorship and support his claim with enough evidences.

  • Your example would be more appropriate if you filed the patent yourself and then sold the patent to the company and they subsequently removed your name from the patent as the author. You are not going to get your name added to the patent. You might be able to get the patent invalidated if you can show that you did the work before the patent was applied for by claiming prior art.
    – Chad
    Sep 21, 2016 at 17:58
  • Please state your jurisdiction. Sep 21, 2016 at 18:51
  • 1
    The car example doesn't seem either correct or relevant. Changing the insignia on your car from Mercedes to GM might violate GM's trademark, but I don't think Mercedes would have any claim against you. As far as I know, you could legally remove all the Mercedes insignia, or replace them with a hammer and sickle, or a logo of your own design. It's your car. Mercedes lost the right to control what insignia are on it when they sold it to you. Anyway, this has nothing at all to do with patents. Sep 21, 2016 at 18:53
  • 1
    And I know of no law that would forbid you from driving the car with the modified insignia. You seem to think there's a fundamental right of "author credit" in all areas of law, but I don't think there is. Sep 21, 2016 at 18:55
  • 1
    @Chezare: "Jurisdiction" means the body of laws that you are subject to. Usually this is defined by the country where you live. So I'm asking, in order to determine what the law requires, we need to know which set of laws to look at. The US? France? Paraguay? They may all give different answers to your question. Sep 21, 2016 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


You will want to speak with a patent attorney, not a labor attorney. Some of the facts you are presenting are entirely wrong.

Patents have inventors, copyrights have authors. Inventorship has strict rules.

Inventorship cannot be denied without consequence in almost any jurisdiction, but you'll need to get local legal advice. In the US, "A patent is invalid unless it lists the first and true inventor or inventors of the claimed invention." (See Stark v. Advanced Magnetics, 119 F.3d 1551, 1553, 1556 (Fed. Cir. 1997); 35 U.S.C. § 102(f) (“A person shall be entitled to a patent unless . . . he did not himself invent the subject matter sought to be patented). See also 35 U.S.C. §§ 111, 115-16, 256.)

Assignment--the "ownership" of the patent--is different. It's very common to have you sign an agreement as a condition of your employment that you grant full assignment to your company for any patentable material created under their employ. If you did not, it is possible that the company would need to give you consideration for the right to assignment, e.g., they would have to pay you something to own the patent. If you are no longer there, that "something" can be substantial, because the patent is invalid without it, and they have little leverage over you.

Bring all written records, emails, etc. to a licensed attorney who specializes in patent litigation.

  • Thank you Jim. Your answer is of great value to my case (thump up !) @ihtkwot
    – Chezare
    Sep 21, 2016 at 20:21
  • I am taking the chance to share my personal opinion with those who has jurisdictional power that the Authors of a patent are not awarded if the Company owns the patent/invention. Indeed the law allows Employees to negotiate the conditions for patent/invention that originate from them however who is going to hire us even we ask for 0.01% of a patent which can bring millions in profit?-I think there should be a law that Authors of a patent must get %( form -to) of the profit due to the patent realization in the market by the Company owning the patent, but not a subject of a special agreement.
    – Chezare
    Sep 21, 2016 at 20:45
  • 1
    @Chezare That is more complicated than one might expect--cross-licensing deals and bulk negotiations between large companies make it hard to determine the true value, and those figures are often not disclosed for good reason. You also don't normally see a percentage of profits for physical or software products, where the value is much more straightforward. And what about defensive patents that don't generate revenue, but save incalculable sums? Fact is, most patents in a large company don't generate revenue. A law here would create a mess.
    – jimm101
    Sep 21, 2016 at 21:09
  • 1
    @Chezare : Your bt-isotopes.com example looks like snake oil of the highest order, by the way. The invention is patented outside the US because it's nonsense, not because of unfavorable IP laws Sep 22, 2016 at 1:25
  • 1
    @Chezare I don't know. The law firm representing the company represents the company, so that's not likely to be fruitful. Your own law firm may be necessary to have your word taken seriously. However, you have no upside--if the company left your name off, they likely invalidated the patent, and your attorney can't negotiate a threat to expose them because he will have an obligation to report this to the USPTO. It's not ethical. If they license the patent to a competitor, the competitor may have some interest in pursuing things and compensating you for it. There's no easy win here for you.
    – jimm101
    Oct 27, 2017 at 19:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .