Law - Intellectual Domination

Under U.S. patent law, in conceiving an invention an inventor can adopt ideas, suggestions or materials from others as long as he/she/they maintain "intellectual domination" over the making of the claimed invention. If this sounds confusing to you, consider what a court has said, "The exact parameters of what constitutes joint inventorship are quite difficult to define. It is one of the muddiest concepts in the muddy metaphysics of the patent law."

In general, if collaboration is absent, either derivation or intellectual domination must be present. Derivation of an invention from another negates inventorship. Adoption of ideas, suggestions or materials in a situation in which intellection domination is maintained does not rise to the level of invention. The reader is referred to the Examples section for further clarification of this muddy concept.

The position of the USPTO on this issue is described in the following section(s) of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP):

MPEP 2138.04 - "Conception"
MPEP 2137.01 - Inventorship
MPEP 605 - Applicant
MPEP 605.07 - Joint Inventors

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