Which employer, licensing, IP or R&D department of a
company has never been faced with the difficult task of
designating the inventors when filing a patent
An invention to be exploited is generally the fruit of a
collaboration chain in which each participant has made his/her
own contribution to the final work.
Distinguishing between them comes down to separating the
different participants in this value chain, and is directly
related to human resource management in the corporation.
Basically, according to article L611-6 of
the intellectual property code (IPC), "the right to
the industrial property title belongs to the inventor or
his/her successor in right".
Determining the true inventor/s is therefore an essential
part of ensuring property of the invention. This measure is
essential to ensure that the inventor or any successor in right
will be properly identified as such in the patent application
and, as applicable, can claim his rights within the context of
a collaboration contract. Otherwise, article L.
611-8 IPC allows the true inventor or successor
in right to claim ownership of the patent.
The designation of the inventor is mandatory,
article L611-9 CPI stating in this
respect that "the inventor, an employee or otherwise,
shall be mentioned as such in the patent". Such a
designation, in the case of employed inventors, gives rise to
the obligation to pay an additional remuneration or a fair
price (article L611-7 CPI), which is a potential source
of dispute between employer and employee.
An invention is above all an intellectual conception which
is the fruit of the reflexion of one or several individuals. It
is therefore a question of facts in respect of the role of each
individual in the conception of the invention, and of his/her
intellectual and technical contribution.
This question of facts cannot be pre-defined by law or
Thus, in France, there is no legal definition of an
Nevertheless, an inventor designated as such in a patent
application is legally presumed to be the true inventor. The
burden of the proof to reverse such a presumption is
particularly heavy, and will be even more difficult when the
presumed inventor has also been designated as such in other
patent applications such as, for example, in the United
It is therefore essential have a "canvas"
available from the start, which will allow decision makers to
distinguish inventors from other participants in developing and