It may be a silly question, but I cannot answer to myself. Let's say I have a big invention in my hands and I am working as engineer in a company.

Are opening two main scenarios:

  1. Finalize the invention and make the patent within the company. In the contract, is stated that the credit may be assigned to the inventor, but the owner is still the company. Are existing cases in which the name of the inventor is completely hidden?
  2. In order to be sure that the attribution missing is avoided, I will patent as a private person. It will cost to me the whole patent, without actually doing anything with it. This is odd, because, translating, with this approach while you are in a company and you have an idea, you save it for yourself and patenting outside such a company, which translates again in NOT doing useful work in the company. You became frustrated and go to the #1 of this itemlist or you start your own business.

As you may see, I don't have clear ideas. My purpose is not to gain money from such a patent, but have all the attribution as a person.

Some examples: to made an extremization, let's consider Jack Kilby, the inventor if the integrated circuit technology: he did it within Texas Instruments, which hold the patent, but here there is attribution. As a plus, in average if someone thinks who invented the IC, thinks to Kilby, not to Texas Instruments. But if I think to who invented the pitch to zoom technique on smartphones, one may think to Apple, not to the person (assuming that is Apple).

Maybe the answer is in the company's respect towards their employees.

2 Answers 2


The inventor has to be named on the patent, so there's that.

But I think your question relates more to the scientific acknowledgment of an invention. Your example shows one great scientific invention (inventor known) and one great idea which didn't contribute to science (maybe a little, but not like the blue diode or relativity theory -> inventor unknown).

I don't think anyone can tell you what exactly makes an inventor famous, maybe writing a paper after the patent helps, maybe not. In the end, I think it boils down to the scientific community noticing you.

The chance is there, you have to be listed as an inventor, but nobody can promise that you will be noticed.

If you don't care about the money, patenting yourself shouldn't be an option - it doesn't matter if your name is on the patent once or twice and you'll spare yourself the trouble and money.


In every company I've worked for, if I invent something as a part of my employment, the company owns the rights to the patent. I simply would not have the option of patenting it myself. If I were to invent something outside of my job then I might have the rights to the patent, but it may get a bit tricky if the knowledge that lead to the invention is due to my employment. It all depends on your employment agreement, but what I'm describing is the standard in the US. Many companies reward their inventors with some sort of monetary reward when a patent is granted.

In any case, I as the inventor, will be listed on the patent as the inventor. The company simply doesn't have the option of leaving the true inventor's name off the patent. While you may not know the inventor at Apple who came up with pinch to zoom, that person's name will be on the patent. There are cases where the patent attorneys have to determine who will be listed as inventors, but if you are actually the inventor your name will be on the patent.

Ownership and inventorship are not the same thing. If you look at the first page of any patent, you will see the inventor and assignee listed. They may or may not be the same.

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