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Implications of joint ownership of patents in the USA

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As collaboration between companies and research institutions increases, joint ownership of patents resulting from collaboration also increases. The agreement to own patents jointly is often entered into casually by parties who are unaware of the implications of joint ownership. Those implications are far from casual. It has been said that ‘joint owners of patents are at the mercy of each other’. Before agreeing to joint ownership, companies and research institutions should be aware of the procedural difficulties in obtaining a joint patent and that each owner is free to use or license the patent without consulting with or sharing the proceeds with the other owners.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 1999

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  • Industry and Higher Education, published six times a year, is dedicated to all aspects of the relationship and interaction between higher education institutions and business and industry. With a strong emphasis on practical experience, this peer-reviewed journal covers strategic, organizational, economic, political, legal, and social issues relating to the developments in education-industry collaboration. Topics such as knowledge transfer, regional development and entrepreneurship education are key concerns. For more details, see

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