« on: 08-06-10 at 06:55 pm »
I need a little clarification on the meanings of conception and inventorship. A friend with a marketing background has approached me (an engineer) with a business proposition: she has some ideas for new inventions and wants me to develop them. In general, I think she would have little or no concept about how to implement her ideas; in essence, she would identify market opportunities (problems) and I would define the solutions, or in other words, she would identify the purpose of the invention (what it does), and I would identify how it accomplishes that purpose. My question is, who would be the inventor in this scenario? My understanding is that the inventor is the person who conceives the idea, but conception (as far as patent law goes) requires a fully formed notion of the invention. I also understand that inventorship must be tied to the claims. So... my first guess would be that I would be the inventor, but I wonder if she might be a co-inventor? Any insights would be appreciated.
Also -- and this is probably outside the bounds of this forum, but I'll ask anyway -- is there any reasonable chance of defining an equitable a priori cost/profit-sharing agreement for such an amorphous situation, given all the variables, including cost & time to develop, cost to patent, marketing strategies, business options (licensing, outsourcing, self-producing, etc.), and given that we don't know what the ideas are beforehand? The only approach I've come up with so far is that we use a non-disclosure agreement, she presents each idea, and then we work out an equitable arrangement on a case-by-case basis. Anyone have a better approach?