IP Essentials: Q&A Series

Q What is an invention? A An invention is any new and useful process (way of doing or making things), machine, manufacture, design, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, or any variety of plant, which is or may be patentable under the patent laws of the United States. It is important to remember that one must first identify the “invention” in order to be able to identify the “inventors.” Q Who is considered an inventor? A An inventor is defined as someone who has substantially contributed to the conception of an invention, or the mental part of invention. Conception of an invention requires two steps: it must exist, and it must be complete. Persons involved in both steps are inventors. Note that conception may exist and be complete even though experimentation continues, for example when a concept is proven yet modifications are still being made, e.g. for optimization.

Inventorship has a strict legal definition under U.S. Patent Law. The law stipulates that only those who have made contributions to the conception of an invention are inventors. This notion of conception is the touchstone of inventorship. INVENTORSHIP



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