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Keeping the sharks at bay

Jane Lambert
Jane Lambert
Jane LambertBarrister at 4-5 Gray's Inn Square

How to avoid and resolve disputes with co-inventors, investors, licensees and third parties. Presentation given to Leeds Inventors Club 21 July 2010.

Keeping the sharks at bay

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Keeping the Sharks at Bay,[object Object],Resolving Disputes with Co-Inventors, Investors, Licensees and Third Parties,[object Object],Jane Lambert,[object Object],Leeds Inventors Group,[object Object],21 July 2010,[object Object]
Co-Inventors,[object Object],Investors,[object Object],Licensees,[object Object],Third Parties,[object Object]
Co-Inventors,[object Object],An  inventor  who had spent a lifetime in textile manufacturing and had lectured on the subject at a local university acted as a consultant for local manufacturers after he retired. ,[object Object],One of his clients won a contract to make components for a large US manufacturer and asked him to help it to meet the order.,[object Object],In carrying out his instructions he invented a machine that he and his client decided to patent. ,[object Object],He and his client agreed orally that they should jointly apply for a patent.,[object Object],However, unbeknown to the inventor, his client applied for the patent in its own name stating incorrectly on the application that it had acquired all the rights to the invention,[object Object]
Co-Inventors,[object Object],S.7 (2) Patents Act,[object Object],A patent for an invention may be granted -,[object Object],(a) primarily to the inventor or joint inventors;,[object Object],(b) in preference to the foregoing, to any person or persons who, by virtue of any enactment or rule of law, or any foreign law or treaty or international convention, or by virtue of an enforceable term of any agreement entered into with the inventor before the making of the invention, was or were at the time of the making of the invention entitled to the whole of the property in it (other than equitable interests) in the United Kingdom;,[object Object],(c) in any event, to the successor or successors in title of any person or persons mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b) above or any person so mentioned and the successor or successors in title of another person so mentioned; and to no other person.,[object Object]
Co-Inventors,[object Object],S.8 (1) Patents Act 1977,[object Object],At any time before a patent has been granted for an invention (whether or not an application has been made for it) -,[object Object],(a) any person may refer to the comptroller the question whether he is entitled to be granted (alone or with any other persons) a patent for that invention or has or would have any right in or under any patent so, granted or any application for such a patent; or,[object Object],(b) any of two or more co-proprietors of an application for a patent for that invention may so refer the question whether any right in or under the application should be transferred or granted to any other person;. ,[object Object],and the comptroller shall determine the question and may make such order as he thinks fit to give effect to the determination.,[object Object]
Co-Inventors,[object Object],S.8 (2) Patents Act,[object Object],Where a person refers a question relating to an invention under subsection (1)(a) above to the comptroller after an application for a patent for the invention has been filed and before a patent is granted in pursuance of the application, then, unless the application is refused or withdrawn before the reference is disposed of by the comptroller, the comptroller may, without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) above and subject to subsection (6) below -,[object Object],(a) order that the application shall proceed in the name of that person, either solely or jointly with that of any other applicant, instead of in the name of the applicant or any specified applicant;,[object Object],(b) where the reference was made by two or more persons, order that the application shall proceed in all their names jointly; ,[object Object],(c) refuse to grant a patent in pursuance of the application or order the application to be amended so as to exclude any of the matter in respect of which the question was referred;,[object Object],(d) make an order transferring or granting any licence or other right in or under the application and give directions to any person for carrying out the provisions of any such order.,[object Object]
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Keeping the sharks at bay

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6.
  • 7.
  • 8.
  • 9.
  • 10.
  • 11.
  • 12.
  • 13. 0ne of the parties dies or falls ill
  • 14. one of the parties loses interest
  • 15. the parties disagree how the invention is to be exploited
  • 16. the invention is a success
  • 17. 0ne of the parties wants to introduce another collaborator
  • 18. one of the parties wants to exploit the invention but other does not
  • 19. athird party infringes the patent or other IPR
  • 20.
  • 21.
  • 22.
  • 23. the shares each party should hold
  • 24. what is to happen if a third party wants to exploit the invention
  • 25. who is to own any improvements to the invention
  • 26.
  • 27.
  • 28.
  • 29.
  • 30.
  • 31. he could not speak for the patent’s validity without knowing all the prior art
  • 32. the costs could be over £1 million in the Patents Court
  • 33.
  • 34.
  • 35.
  • 36.
  • 37. US counsel are prepared to take cases on a contingency fee,
  • 38. Damages are set by juries
  • 39. Liability and quantum decided at the same trial, and
  • 40.
  • 41.

Editor's Notes

  1. RemediesConsider an application to the IPO for an advisory opinion on infringement under s.74A 0f the Patents Act 1977 for £200:(1) The proprietor of a patent or any otherperson may request the comptroller to issue anopinion –(a) as to whether a particular act constitutes,or (if done) would constitute, aninfringement of the patent;(b) as to whether, or to what extent, theinvention in question is not patentablebecause the condition in section.If corresponding patent has been infringed abroad, consider proceedings abroad: costs €50,000 in Continental Europe; costs the same or greater in the USA but loser does not usually have to pay the winner’s costs, counsel are prepared to take cases on a contingency fee, damages are set by juries, proceedings are in one stage and law more favourable to patentees.