If an inventor originated with all the ideas, and another individual who is a-part of the development had the role of only analyzing and criticizing the idea(for it's failures & successes) without contributing any intellectual development, only stating the obvious. Aside from the inventor,does that person have any legal or financial right to the patent?


There are two separate concepts, inventorship and ownership. An inventor is someone that contributes something material that shows up in at least one claim of the patent application. I tell clients that if they cannot put a finger on something inventive that shows up as text in at least one claim and link this to a team member, then that team member is not an inventor. This may change over time as claims are added and dropped (particularly when there is a restriction requirement). Sometimes it is difficult to sort out what ideas came from whom when there was a lot of brainstorming sessions and not much documentation so folks err on including an active team member or supervisor as a co-inventor as the patent process is more forgiving of erring on the side of being expansive than erring on the side of leaving off a true inventor. This decision gets complicated where there are financial consequences within a company or university from adding a peripheral person to be an inventor as there may be splits in royalties et cetera. It is a recurring problem in universities that have a totally different regime for deciding who gets named as a co-author to a paper than the proper process to sort out who is an inventor.

Ownership starts with the co-inventors but most inventors do their work while under contract to an employer or a client and the ownership rights pass to the entity that paid for the work. Ownership rights can move around later as patent rights can be sold (assigned).

If there is a dispute on who is a true inventor, the patent attorney handling this needs to sort through the process. But do not be surprised if the attorney errs on being over-inclusive to avoid leaving out a peripheral player that can at least make a credible argument for being included as a co-inventor.

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