The owner of a patent has a number or rights to her patent she can exploit and control how that patent is used for example. She can decide on the assigning, leasing or even mortgage of the patent. The issues that surround who has been granted the patent will tell us or at least bring us a step closer towards finding out who actually owns the patent.
The granting of a patent is generally to the inventors, however, there are a number of ways in which the inventors may not be granted the patent. Employees frequently crop up in practice where the patent will be granted to the employer unless there is an agreement to the contrary or where the patent has been transferred to another.
Section 7(4) of the Patents Act 1977(the Act) is the first port of call when assessing whether a person is entitled to be granted a patent – there is a presumption that the person applying is the person entitled to make such an application, this presumption is of course rebuttable.
Interestingly, pursuant to section 8(1) of the Act before the granting of a patent anyone may ask the comptroller whether they individually or with others have a right to be granted the patent. Equally, under section 37(8) a person can challenge another’s entitlement to the grant after that grant has been made.
In part II we take a look at the issues of entitlement of a grant within the European context.