There have been several recent questions in the form of “My [family member] was granted patent [x]. How can I claim it?”. So far, these patents have all been long since expired or assigned to companies, not individuals, and so the possibility of getting them revived or reassigned was not even an option.
I'll provide a few of those questions here for reference:
- Is US 4,915,276 A still owned by Ermin Devito?
- My grandfathers patent, expired?
- Information regarding my father’s invention?
- My Grandfathers Patent - D94036
So now, this has me wondering about the case where a patent is currently enforceable. I feel that my own answers to the above questions are not fully satisfactory for those asking the question. I hope that asking the following questions directly will provide the missing piece:
- Is inheritance of a patent (assigned to an individual) possible?
- What part of the U.S. legal Code covers the inheritance of a patent?
- Would patent inheritance need to be recorded as a re-assignment by the USPTO?
A satisfactory answer to this question would include references to the legal code, and any publicly available resources that could serve as starting points for someone who finds themselves in the above situation.