Law - Suggestions of Others

Under U.S. patent law, in conceiving an invention the true inventor(s) can adopt ideas, suggestions or materials from others whose contribution is insufficient to qualify them as inventors. Only if the subject matter contributed makes a claimed invention patentable (useful, novel an non-obvious over the prior art) does the contribution rise to the level of invention. Thus, an inventor may use general information and suggestions derived from others and still be considered the sole, true inventor. In the words of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, "[a]n inventor may use the services, ideas and aid of others in the process of perfecting his invention without losing his right to a patent."

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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