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Should a patent issue in my name or my company name?

I have received a USPTO notice of allowance. I've no assignee to register. Is there any advantage to me registering myself, or sole trader company name [Ed. similar to a LLC in the United States], as assignee? Or is it best to allow the patent to issue to me directly, with no registered assignee?

~ UK

The Assignee is the owner. When the USPTO provides you with a Notice of Allowance asking who the owner is, you do not have a choice about who to list there. You must list the owner. If you want to transfer ownership, you need to create the appropriate documentation and file the assignment paperwork to show a clear chain of title. Failure to do this properly can needlessly obscure the ownership of the patent.

The owner of the patent enjoys the rights and must satisfy the obligations. Where to hold title to a patent can be a complex question. It would consider factors such as:

  1. What is the plan for commercialization of the invention?
  2. Who is performing commercial activities that read on the patent claims?
  3. Is the patent potentially more valuable if the rights are held exclusively, or, if the rights are licensed to competitors?
  4. How likely is the competition to infringe the claims? Are enforcement activities are expected? Does any particular plaintiff have an advantage?
  5. If commercialization is risky or the startup effort underfunded, what is the likelihood of bankruptcy?
  6. What is the impact on taxation?

If you employed an attorney to help obtain your patent, you should have a discussion with your attorney. If you did not use an attorney, then you should review (at least) the following sections of the MPEP:

  1. MPEP 300 - Ownership and Assignment
  2. MPEP 1300 - Allowance and Issue

However, please understand, most factors related to where and how to hold title require at least some understanding of other areas of law: patent litigation, bankruptcy, taxation.

Congratulations on nearly obtaining a patent.

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