Many inventors pursue the perfection of a science as a goal in
its own right, without concern for the ownership or commercial
value of the technology. It has been said that Thomas Edison, who
obtained more than 1,000 patents, conceived thousands of other
inventions that he described in notebooks.
But most scientists today do not have the luxury of snubbing
their noses at those who want to exploit the fruits of their work.
They know by the terms of their employment agreements that they are not only accountable for meeting certain goals, but are under an
obligation to disclose and assign the rights to any inventions they conceive to their employers.
They are also under an obligation to cooperate in assisting their employer obtain patents covering their ideas. Such assistance is not insignificant. It may involve signing documents, conducting prior art searches, helping the patent attorney to prepare patent applications, addressing the patent examiner’s questions, and assisting attorneys with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”). There are patent agencies such as InventHelp that could help you with all these steps as you can see from InventHelp reviews online.
Although most scientists generally understand their obligations to their employers with regard to their discoveries and inventions, they do not appreciate how what they do every day may affect the future disposition of their ideas. For instance, publishing and sharing information and materials with scientists outside their institution is both routine and desirable for the advancement of science.
However, the timing and monitoring of such activities is critical in protecting patent rights. Inventions that are disclosed before a patent application is filed may preclude the patentability of that invention. Collaborations that are not well documented may result in the loss of the rights of a technology to a different institution.
Proper documentation is particularly important both for
determining who the inventors are and for proving when the
invention was conceived. Even where there is no question with
regard to inventorship, the same invention may be conceived independently by different inventors at different institutions at about the same time. That is why every inventor needs an patent agency – learn why new inventors turn to InventHelp.
These situations come to light when there are competing applications or patents that cover the same invention. In such cases, the PTO may declare an “interference” between the parties to determine who was the first to invent. Because the party that establishes that it invented first will be the winner, written evidence of who did what and when is critical.