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, only an inventor or an assignee can own a patent — and businesses cannot be listed as an inventor.
The Patent Assignment Database has all recorded patent information from August 1980 until now.
Any time someone adds information to one of the patent records, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) adds it to the database.
An investigator must contact each of them to get approval.
If a single person refuses, an affadavit could negate the entire patent.
But remember, assignment (or transfer of ownership) is a function of state law, so there might be some variation by state in how all this gets treated.
In simpler terms, the assignee receives the original owner's interest and gains the exclusive rights to pursue patent protection (through filing and prosecuting patent applications), and also to license and enforce the patent.
If you can’t get an inventor to sign an invention assignment, you can still move forward with a patent application — but you’ll need to document your ownership.
To document ownership, you can often rely on an But in some countries, the assignment might not be legally effective until the assignment has been recorded in that country — meaning that the assignee can’t enforce the patent rights, or claim damages for any infringement that takes place before the recordation.
The owner of the patent has to get approval from every inventor listed.
If this happens a long time after the invention, several of these employees might work for different companies now.