One of the most common questions regarding obtaining a patent in the United States concerns which parties are allowed to do so. While the question’s answer may seem rather simple, there are several conditions that should be noted by anyone who has an invention that they want protected.

Who Can File for a Patent in the United States?

The simple answer to this question is that almost anyone can file for a patent if he or she has formulated an invention that has not yet been protected by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The Individual

Many inventions are formulated by one person who has an idea come to him or her in many different ways. Generally speaking, that person can file for a patent if that idea meets the criteria required by law. The only consideration in this situation is that the inventor must sign a statement that attests to the fact that he or she is not aware of any other patented product that could conflict with the current idea. As you can see, having professionals by your side, such as InventHelp patent invention agency, would be advisable.

The Employee

Many inventions are discovered in the course of employment, and when this occurs, a few basic questions must be answered. First, if the invention is in any way related to the employment situation, it’s likely that the invention will be the property of the employer. The reasoning is simple – if the employer is paying the employee for this sort of work, the employer should reap the benefits of the innovations that result.

However, if the invention has nothing to do with the usual course of employment or the invention is formulated in a setting that’s separate from his or her occupation, the question becomes more complicated. In many instances, the individual will own the intellectual property rights as opposed to the employer, but the ultimate answer will depend on the facts of the situation.

There are many people who can file for a patent, and these include an individual, an employee whose invention does not come in the scope of work and is not owned by the employer, and competing patent applications are usually decided on a first to file basis. Foreign citizens can file for a patent in the United States and an American citizen can file from abroad if he or she works with an official diplomat, but in order to get all the answers you need, contact the InventHelp patent attorney at InventHelp offices today to schedule an initial consultation.