I mean if I patented something for example in the United States, then my invention could be said to be American? Something like "the airplane was patented in USA so now the airplane is American and belongs to USA and is an american invention" or "the car was patented in Germany and now the car belongs to Germany and is a German invention".

The United States Patent Office registers patents as American and US owned or patents have no nationality and belong to all the countries of the world?

And if a patent belongs to the US government then you could say that patent belongs to the US and is an American patent?

  • What do you mean by nationality? Because generally only legal persons have nationality. Patents are territorial in that they only apply to one country or region, but I'm not sure that's what you're referring to.
    – Maca
    Jul 27, 2017 at 5:42
  • "then my invention could be said to be American" much could be said about much, but there is no legal basis for saying an "invention is of this and that country". Hell, the car was invented in Russia. And in China. And in Japan. And in the US. Oh, it wasn't? To bad, sorry. - It's not like I broke a law by saying that ;-). A patent belongs to the owner and protects something in the country where it is registered, but the invention behind it was made by the inventor. Maybe. And if that's an english inventor in the US, who's to say if the invention was english or american?
    – user18033
    Jul 27, 2017 at 8:21

1 Answer 1


I think you are confused by the difference between an invention and a patent. A patent is a legal document that provides a limited duration protection to an invention in a specific jurisdiction. The same invention may be, and often is, patented in multiple jurisdictions. Having a US patent does not mean, in any way, that the invention is "American" as the inventor and the owner of the patent (which is often not the same) may be from some other country.

As for a patent "belonging to the US government", this is in general not the case for US patents. My US patents are owned by my employer. You can identify the owner of the patent by looking for who is listed as the assignee. However, if the invention was developed at a national laboratory or agency (such as Los Alamos or NASA) then it is likely the owner would be the US government. I guess you could consider those to be "American Invention", but even then it is possible that the inventor is not an American citizen.

If you insist on assigning a nationality to an invention (not a patent), then I suppose you could either refer to the inventor's nationality or perhaps the assignee's. This isn't altogether clean as there can be multiple inventors on the same patent and multinational companies can have facilities in several countries.

  • I think op could also be asking about where patent protection applies. Though the question is rather unclear, so I might be wrong.
    – user18033
    Jul 27, 2017 at 16:29
  • @DonQuiKong I'd hope my first paragraph covered that.
    – Eric S
    Jul 27, 2017 at 16:31
  • oh, I missed that.
    – user18033
    Jul 27, 2017 at 16:34
  • @Eric Shain Your answer is very clear, thanks for answering Jul 27, 2017 at 17:17
  • With the paragraph of "The United States Patent Office registers patents as American and US owned or patents have no nationality and belong to all the countries of the world?" I meant that if I register a patent in "X" country then the patent office will register that patent has a "X country patent" aka "X nationality". Jul 27, 2017 at 17:25

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