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Patenting & Licensing Process


Inventorship is an important legal principle often invoked when applying for patents and enforcing patent rights. The first individual or group to make an invention that is new, useful, and non-obvious is termed an inventor, and under U.S. patent law only inventors are permitted to receive a patent on an invention.

Inventorship in the context of patents is not the same as authorship in the context of peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals. Inventors as defined by patent law are those who contribute to the conception of the discovery. An inventor is strictly someone who made identifiable contributions to the patentable elements of an invention. Thus, even someone who actively participated in the research project still might not be a co-inventor for patent purposes. Those who conduct experiments or provide funding or tools for the study might be authors, but they are not inventors. To put it another way, inventorship is legal. Authorship is collegial. If a person listed as an inventor is not truly an inventor, or if an inventor is left off the patent application, the patent could be ruled invalid.

Inventorship can come from more than one institution. Each institution may have its own set of rules and regulations involving intellectual property. The MCW Office of Technology Development will execute an Inter-Institutional Agreement with the other institution to bring all the inventors and rights together to make licensing the invention possible.

For a more comprehensive discussion of inventorship, please see the USPTO website.


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Office of Technology Development

8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226


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Main Office Phone:   414-955-4362
Main Office Fax:       414-955-6619


Joseph Hill, PhD
Vice President
Office of Technology Development


Kalpa Vithalani, PhD
Licensing Manager
Office of Technology Development


James Antczak, PhD
Licensing Manager
Office of Technology Development