Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

Can a patent be granted to more than one person?

Patenting an invention is one way New York residents can protect their intellectual property rights. By granting the inventor a property right, it allows the holder to exclude others from making, using, offering or selling the invention in the country, or exporting it outside the country.

As with many creative endeavors, people often collaborate on a project and give valuable input in a formula or process. The question that arises then is, can there be joint ownership in a patent?

The answer is "yes," two or even more than two people can own patents jointly. In addition to this, it is also possible to assign an interest in the patent to someone, no matter how small the interest may be. Once the patent is jointly granted, any joint owner can make, sell and perform any of the tasks of a patent holder without regard to the other joint owners. They can also grant licenses to other people.

Joint ownership of a patent can be useful, but it can also be detrimental in case the joint owners have a disagreement. Since the rights shared between the two are very broad, it often proves beneficial for the joint owners to enter into a definite agreement about the rights and obligations each rights owner has towards the other one. This contract, outlining the relationship they have with one another, can be very beneficial and can help avoid situations where one owner takes steps without the other's approval. Getting the right information about intellectual property rights can guide New York residents through the process of protecting their rights effectively in order to avoid any dispute.

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