Who Owns a Patent?

The person who created it? The person who filed the application? The person funding the project? Generally, the initial owner of a patent is the inventor of the claimed subject matter. An inventor can be one person or a group of people. However, an inventor must be a human being, whether dead or alive, and cannot be a corporation or other non-human entity. Oftentimes, when someone is employed, somewhere in the employment contract the employee has agreed to assign all of his or her patent rights to the employer. If the inventor is not contractually obligated to assign rights to a patent, he or she may still either assign or license all or part of the patent to a third party.