Typically, a person or entity must materially contribute to the conception of a claimed invention. This seems to be a simple and straightforward rule; however, understanding the nuisances can mean the difference between owning the fruits of a joint research effort. For example, conception requires that an inventor appreciate and know what it is invented and how it works.
Thus, joint research efforts require an open dialogue, collaboration and a combined understanding and appreciation of the efforts to invent closely in time to the actual making of the invention. Understanding how to document these joint research efforts and recording the steps and processes involved can be crucial to being able to demonstrate joint inventorship. Having a good researching and recording policies can be crucial to reaping the profits from your invention.
Joint inventorship also requires the following: a) a significant contribution to the conception or reduction to practice of the invention; b) contribution must be significant in light of the breadth of the invention; and c) do more than explain general principles or the current state of the art.
Understanding the nuisances of joint ownership can be crucial to your research, patent prosecution and litigation efforts. In light of the collaborative efforts that most university and academics utilize-“joint inventorship” is a vital part of any patent management systems.