Does it matter which one of the co-owners of a patent application/patent is named first on the application?

The nationality of the applicant determines which national law applies to the application and granted assets as property. If a UP has joint owners of different nationality, the law of the state of the applicant named first on the application will be the one to apply. This will therefore require careful thought before the application is lodged since different legal systems confer different rights and obligations on co-owners, particularly with regard to the extent to which one owner can exploit, assign, license or defend its rights independently of the other(s).

If a collaboration agreement contemplating jointly-owned project results is entered into, it should address how this decision is made in advance of any inventions being generated. Furthermore, any uncertainty can be reduced by detailing specific contractual rights and obligations regarding exploitation and enforcement in the agreement.

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