Q&A with NSP: Just because you pay for it doesn't mean you own it
Full ownership of your patent is important, especially if your company uses independent contractors, third party vendors, and/or employees. When any of these parties contribute to the conception of the invention, you are legally required to list them as a co-inventor on the patent. Just because you paid them for their work doesn't mean you own their IP.
Importantly, by default, each co-inventor has the right to practice the invention or license/sell the patent without permission from your company or the other co-inventors - unless the inventors have fully assigned their patent rights to your company . To avoid messy ownership issues down the road, the best practice is to obtain a full assignment of patent rights in writing from all potential co-inventors at the time of their engagement.
"Q&A with NSP " are blog posts that answer commonly asked questions about patents or trademarks. The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. If you wish to obtain legal advice for your specific case, please contact us to schedule a consultation.