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We have a situation where 3 people worked on an idea. We suspect that one of the people may have applied for a patent without informing or acknowledging the contributions of the others.

I am a newbie at the patent process.

How would the other two contributors determine whether this has been done?

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The 'invention' is defined by the patent claims. Joint inventorship also is a claim by claim analysis. In other words, dick and jane invent AB, but jane only invented B, so dick can claim only A and is not required to include jane as inventor, but if a claim to AB is made then dick and jane both must be named as inventors.

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  • You can watch for the application to be published, but that could take a while.
  • You could inform the person in question that not listing all inventors will essentially invalidate the application
  • "Worked on an idea" will need some clarification. Did all the parties participate with meaningful conceptual input?
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    The problem here is that one of the contributors is wealthier , can afford expensive lawyers and has a convenient memory. Once a patent is granted, it can be expensive legally for the other contributors to appeal - which is probably part of the strategy. So apart from a "please do not do this" letter to him, is there any action the other contributors can take to prevent this person from walking away with the sole rights to a possible patent. Is there some way to notify the USPTO - so the examiner will at least contact the others during application review ? Commented Jan 8, 2014 at 19:18
  • Sounds like you guys are telling the OP that he is in a bad way? Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 21:57

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