Who may file a patent application?

Only the true original inventor(s), or an authorized representative, such as an assignee or licensee, may file a patent application for an invention.

How can an inventor find out if the invention is original?

Before filing a patent application, it is wise to conduct a patent search to make sure the idea has not already been disclosed.

What rights does the inventor have in the invention?

The inventor may sell ownership interest (or title) in the invention to anyone through assignment, and the inventor may receive either a lump sum payment, and/or a royalty payment based on the future sales of the invention by the assignee. Frequently, an inventor may want to keep the title to the patent but allow others to use the invention through the grant of a license in exchange for a fixed fee or in conjunction with royalty payments.

After the inventor has submitted a patent application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the inventor may insert the notice ‘patent pending’ or ‘patent applied for’ onto the invention and accompanying material.

In which countries is the invention protected?

A U.S. patent is valid only within the United States. If one would like to have patent rights and protection in other countries, they will need to file a corresponding patent application in those countries. Note that this is generally a very expensive process.


Howard M. Cohn & Associates has extensive and varied experience in all aspects of Intellectual Property law, with a unique specialty in patent and trademark preparation and prosecution. Schedule an appointment or call us at 800-613-1067.