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primary assignee

Posted: Mon May 11, 2020 11:37 pm
by Darwin

I am confused about who is the primary assignee of a patent? Is it the inventor or the applicant?

Besides, does PATSTAT has variable identify who contribute more to an invention?
Could you please give me some suggestions about this?

Thanks in advance.

Re: primary assignee

Posted: Tue May 12, 2020 9:45 am
by EPO / PATSTAT Support
Hello Darwin,
PATSTAT does not have an indicator that can quantify the contribution of an assignee to an invention.

As far as I am aware:
On applicant/assignee/inventor: the term "assignee" is only used for applications filed at the USPTO. (Is there a legal definition of "primary assignee" ?)
Other authorities use applicants/inventors. The assignee has the property right to the patent and I think that by default (for US applications) the "inventor" is also an assignee, until the assignee/inventor has transferred the rights to the applicant - in most cases the employer of the applicant. This data is then collected from the USPTO assignee files and used by the PATSTAT team to better distinguish -where possible - between applicants and inventors.
This becomes also visible when one creates tables of US applicants and find rather many physical persons in the list due to the fact that they are "assignee".
About the "order" of applicant and inventors, for EP applications (and many other patent authorities), the order is irrelevant. For US applications, the PATSTAT team maintains (where possible) the order as provided by the USPTO. For applications filed in Germany, the order is also important, and checking a couple of applications, it looks like the order is kept. In principle, EPO will upload the data using the order as provided by the patent office that provides the data.
Maybe PATSTAT users more familiar working with US data can give better solutions (or correct the above).