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StoneEagle v. Gillman ? Patent Inventorship, Authorship, and Ownership
March 31, 2014

In StoneEagle Services, Inc.,v. Gillman the Federal Circuit confirmed that assistance in reducing aninvention to practice generally does not contribute to inventorship. In this case, the issue centered on whether there was a sufficient controversy regarding inventorship for the case to remain in federal court. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant had "falsely claimed that it is his patent, that he wrote the patent, that it is on his computer, and that he ‘authored’ or ‘wrote’ it, or words to that effect.”

The court determined that the most favorable possible inference in favor of the plaintiff only indicated that the defendant assisted in constructively reducing an invention to practice by drafting the patent application. The court confirmed that those activities confer no more rights of inventorship than activities in furtherance of an actual reduction to practice, which is usually insufficient to rise to the level of inventorship. As the court concluded, if they were to hold otherwise, "patent attorneys and patent agents would be co-inventors on nearly every patent. Of course, this proposition cannot be correct."

The full decision is available here.

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