35 U.S.C. § 116

Current through P.L. 117-57 (published on www.congress.gov on 11/12/2021)
Section 116 - Inventors
(a) JOINT INVENTIONS.-When an invention is made by two or more persons jointly, they shall apply for patent jointly and each make the required oath, except as otherwise provided in this title. Inventors may apply for a patent jointly even though (1) they did not physically work together or at the same time, (2) each did not make the same type or amount of contribution, or (3) each did not make a contribution to the subject matter of every claim of the patent.
(b) OMITTED INVENTOR.-If a joint inventor refuses to join in an application for patent or cannot be found or reached after diligent effort, the application may be made by the other inventor on behalf of himself and the omitted inventor. The Director, on proof of the pertinent facts and after such notice to the omitted inventor as he prescribes, may grant a patent to the inventor making the application, subject to the same rights which the omitted inventor would have had if he had been joined. The omitted inventor may subsequently join in the application.
(c) CORRECTION OF ERRORS IN APPLICATION.-Whenever through error a person is named in an application for patent as the inventor, or through error an inventor is not named in an application, the Director may permit the application to be amended accordingly, under such terms as he prescribes.

35 U.S.C. § 116

July 19, 1952, ch. 950, 66 Stat. 799; Pub. L. 97-247, §6(a), Aug. 27, 1982, 96 Stat. 320; Pub. L. 98-622, title I, §104(a), Nov. 8, 1984, 98 Stat. 3384; Pub. L. 106-113, div. B, §1000(a)(9) [title IV, §4732(a)(10)(A)], Nov. 29, 1999, 113 Stat. 1536, 1501A-582; Pub. L. 107-273, div. C, title III, §13206(b)(1)(B), Nov. 2, 2002, 116 Stat. 1906; Pub. L. 112-29, §20(a), Sept. 16, 2011, 125 Stat. 333.

HISTORICAL AND REVISION NOTESThe first paragraph is implied in the present statutes, and the part of the last paragraph relating to omission of an erroneously joined inventor is in the Patent Office rules. The remainder is new and provides for the correction of a mistake in erroneously joining a person as inventor, and for filing an application when one of several joint inventors cannot be found. This section is ancillary to section 256.


AMENDMENTS2011- Pub. L. 112-29 designated first to third pars. as subsecs. (a) to (c), respectively, inserted headings, and, in subsec. (c), struck out "and such error arose without any deceptive intention on his part," before "the Director".2002- Pub. L. 107-273 made technical correction to directory language of Pub. L. 106-113. See 1999 Amendment note below.1999- Pub. L. 106-113 as amended by Pub. L. 107-273 substituted "Director" for "Commissioner" in two places.1984- Pub. L. 98-622 amended first par. generally, striking out "and each sign the application" after "patent jointly" and inserting sentence beginning "Inventors may apply".1982- Pub. L. 97-247 substituted "Inventors" for "Joint inventors" as section catchline, and substituted "through error a person is named in an application for patent as the inventor, or through error an inventor is not named in an application" for "a person is joined in an application for patent as joint inventor through error, or a joint inventor is not included in an application through error".


EFFECTIVE DATE OF 2011 AMENDMENTAmendment by Pub. L. 112-29 effective upon the expiration of the 1-year period beginning on Sept. 16, 2011, and applicable to proceedings commenced on or after that effective date, see section 20(l) of Pub. L. 112-29 set out as a note under section 2 of this title.

EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1999 AMENDMENTAmendment by Pub. L. 106-113 effective 4 months after Nov. 29, 1999, see section 1000(a)(9) [title IV, §4731] of Pub. L. 106-113 set out as a note under section 1 of this title.

EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1984 AMENDMENTAmendment by Pub. L. 98-622 applicable to all United States patents granted before, on, or after Nov. 8, 1984, and to all applications for United States patents pending on or filed after that date, except as otherwise provided, see section 106 of Pub. L. 98-622 set out as a note under section 103 of this title.

EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1982 AMENDMENTAmendment by Pub. L. 97-247 effective six months after Aug. 27, 1982, see section 17(c) of Pub. L. 97-247 set out as an Effective Date note under section 294 of this title.

The term "invention" means invention or discovery.
The term "inventor" means the individual or, if a joint invention, the individuals collectively who invented or discovered the subject matter of the invention.
United States
The terms "United States" and "this country" mean the United States of America, its territories and possessions.
joint inventor
The terms "joint inventor" and "coinventor" mean any 1 of the individuals who invented or discovered the subject matter of a joint invention.