What Makes You an Inventor?

A new patent case raises the question of whether a contribution is "significant"

3 min read

Patent applicants often name someone as an inventor who isn’t—or they may fail to name someone who is. Some companies, as a matter of policy, list the CEO as an inventor in all their patents ”out of respect.” Sometimes colleagues are named because they will be rewarded monetarily for patents where they are listed as inventors. And conversely, actual inventors may be omitted, either accidentally or on purpose. When that happens, it can be hard to enforce patent rights.

Consider this scenario: Company A has a patent and sues Company B for infringing it. Company B then discovers that X should have been listed as an inventor, so B pays X for his rights in the patent. Now B owns the patent jointly with A and cannot be sued for infringement.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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