Can an inventor apply for a patent jointly even when they did not physically work together or at the same time?
The inventive entity for a particular application is based on some contribution to at least one of the claims made by each of the named inventors. “Inventors may apply for a patent jointly even though:
- they did not physically work together or at the same time,
- each did not make the same type or amount of contribution, or
- each did not make a contribution to the subject matter of every claim of the patent.”
The answer to this question can be found in chapter 2100 of the MPEP. This chapter covers Patentability.
The answer is from the 9th Edition, Revision 10.2019. Depending on future changes to the MPEP, the question and answer may or may not be applicable in later Editions or revisions.
This question and answer come from section 2109 of the MPEP. The following is a brief summary of section 2109.
This section covers the details of inventorship including a brief discussion on naming inventorship, and how an inventor must contribute to the conception of the invention. As long as the inventor maintains intellectual domination over making the invention, ideas, suggestions, and materials may be adopted from others.
This section also briefly touches on how the inventor is not required to reduce the invention to practice. He or she merely could have supervised the reduction to practice. Lastly, this section outlines the requirements for joint inventorship. Inventors may apply for a patent jointly even if they did not physically work together or at the same time.