Who Can Be Considered an Inventor on My Patent Application?
In general, it’s good practice to list everyone that has made a contribution to a substantive or significant portion of the invention as an inventor. Legally, an inventor is anyone who has contributed to the conception of what is claimed as the invention you wish to protect. Conception is the key to inventorship — it is only those who make a contribution particularly to the substantive and novel aspects of an invention you seek to protect that need to be listed as inventors.
Note, you can always add or remove inventors from the listing as necessary, so long as you had no “deceptive intent” in improperly listing the inventorship initially. The following scenarios may help you better understand who to list as an inventor.
Inventor Scenario One
When a first-team member has provided all of the ideas for the invention, and the second team member has only followed instructions in making the invention, the patent application should only list the first team member as an inventor.
Inventor Scenario Two
If each team member contributed to the ideas forming the invention they may be considered joint inventors and a patent may be issued to them jointly.
INVENTOR Scenario Three
If an employee provides all of the ideas for conceiving and developing the invention and his employer provides all of the financial support in realizing the invention, only the employee shall be considered an inventor.
However, in this scenario, the employee may be obligated by Employment Contract, or other legal instruments, to assign his patent rights for the invention to his employer. In this instance, the employer may be considered an ‘assignee’ of the invention, but is still not an inventor.
If you are interested in more detail related to your situation it is best to speak with an attorney.