Why does CDC file patent applications?
The United States Government desires to see knowledge gained from tax-funded research disseminated and used. Federal laboratories have a statutory mandate to ensure that new technologies are transferred to the private sector and commercialized. Where an invention requires substantial investment to transition it from the laboratory into a commercial product, patent protection may be necessary in order to attract commercial partners.
What is the difference between a patent application and a patent?
A patent application is a request for a patent. Once examined and approved by the Patent Office, a patent will be issued. While the application is pending, the owner may inform the public that a patent is pending, however no action against infringement can be taken until a patent issues
How do I know who to name as an inventor?
Unlike authorship on a journal article, inventorship is a legal issue and must be determined according to patent law. The attorney drafting your patent application will make the final determination with regard to who will be named as an inventor.
What if one of my co-inventors is not a CDC employee?
Then the inventor or their employer will be a joint owner (with CDC) of any issued patent.
If CDC files a patent application on my invention, who owns it?
CDC employees are required by law to assign their ownership rights in work-related inventions to CDC. Not all individuals working at CDC fall within the realm of employee. Contact TTO for more information if you unsure of your status. If you are not a CDC employee, you (or your employer) may elect to retain ownership or assign ownership to CDC.
What if the non-CDC employee or employer elects to retain ownership?
Absent an alternative agreement, each joint owner owns 100% of the invention and may use and license the invention without consent of the other joint owners.
What if I am notified that one of my non-CDC collaborators is filing a patent application that names me as an inventor?
This makes CDC a joint owner of any issued patent. File an employee invention report and provide the patent advisor with the contact information of the filing party.
Can I send out materials claimed in a patent application by Material Transfer Agreement (MTA)?
No. If a patent application is pending, materials claimed in the application must be distributed by patent license. The license can be for minimal or no fee for non-commercial use, but an MTA will not suffice.
How do I know if the materials I want to distribute are claimed in the patent application?
Contact the patent advisor for assistance in making this determination.
What if TTO decides not to file a patent application?
If you feel this decision was based on inadequate information, contact the patent advisor with your concerns. Absent CDC interest, it may be possible issue a waiver to return title in the invention to the inventor. Conflict of interest laws may prohibit this while the inventor remains a CDC employee.
- Page last reviewed: November 3, 2013
- Page last updated: December 19, 2012
- Content source: Office of the Associate Director for Science