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  • Ownership requires a high degree of certainty. Do not assume ownership.
  • Determine ownership using a chain of rights analysis.
  • Chain of rights analysis requires working forward from each inventor to the acquirer’s rights or interest.
  • At each link obtain and analyze the document that provides for the transfer of rights. Ownership determination is a two-part process: (1) identifying all inventors and (2) determining that each inventor has transferred rights in the invention.

(1) Identify all inventors

  • Invention disclosure memos
  • Inventor publications
  • Discussion with inventors

(2) Have all inventors transferred rights?

  • Need executed assignment or license
  • Bad practice to rely only on employment agreements to effectuate transfer
  • Check recording with USPTO and foreign authorities
  • Check USPTO and foreign authority files for claims of ownership by others

(3) Was invention made under a government grant and/or SRA?

  • Locate grants and SRAs that cover inventions during relevant time period
  • Was title taken under Bayh-Dole Act?
  • Document timely election of title
  • Are there NIH regulatory issues (i.e., regulations on licensing research tools)
  • Analyze possibility of march-in rights

Contact us for more information.