Question: Patent Pending Query?
If a patent was filed by a person for design and use of a product that is manufactured and sold, but the company who manufactures and sells it pays the patent filing fees, does the company hold any rights to the patent?
It was only just recently discovered that the patent did not include the company’s name. It should also be stated that the person who filed is the majority member of the LLC in question. The patent was recently declined with the option to refile with amendments. This has also been done.
Answer: Initially, the inventors of the patent have the rights to it. However, those rights can change by contract and/or employment status. Therefore, whether the payment of fees changes the inventor’s ownership rights are determined based on any agreement between the company who paid the fees and the inventor, and the employment status, if any, of the inventor.
If the inventor was an employee who conceived the invention within the scope of the inventor’s employment, then it is likely that that company owns the patent, regardless of who paid the fees.