A U.S. patent is a contract between an inventor and the government. The inventor discloses an invention to the public, and in return the government gives the patent owner (usually the inventor’s assignee) the right to exclude others from practicing the invention for a limited period of time (currently 20 years after the first effective filing date of the application for patent).
A challenge faced by every owner of an invention is selecting a suitable patent law firm to prepare, file, and prosecute a patent application on the invention. Finding the names of patent law firms is as easy as a using your favorite internet search engine. But once you find a list of firm names – then what?
The answer to who owns “your” software is important in a number of everyday business circum-stances. As the title of the article rhetorically suggests, the answer to “Who owns ‘your’ software?” might be, “not you”. Consider the following 5 scenarios: