Should I apply for a patent in the name of my company or in my name?

Several start-ups, smaller companies and family owned companies among others, have asked us whether they should apply for a patent in the name of their company or in the founder’s name. Well, even though there is no single correct answer, several factors can be considered, and a decision that suits the situation, can be taken. Some of the factors that can be considered while taking the decision are listed below:

1.      Costs involved in the patenting process
2.      Enforcement of the patent on potential infringers
3.      Investor perspective
4.      Protecting the inventor’s interest 
Now let’s discuss each of the factors in a little more detail: 
1.      Costs involved in the patenting process 
The table below provides an overview of some of the costs involved during the patenting process in India for different categories of applicants:

Sl. No.


Patent office fee (INR)  (e-filing)

Natural Person (individuals)/ Startups

Other than individuals

Small entity

Other than small entity


 Application for grant of patent





 Early publication fee (Optional)





 Request for examination of patent application





 Extra pages – After 30 sheets





 Extra claims – After 10 claims






Further, it shall be noted that, once the patent is granted, yearly renewal fee has to be paid. Even the renewal fee is discounted if the applicant is a natural person/startup.
We have often observed that cost considerations often drive founders of early stage companies to file the patent applications in their name, as opposed to filing under the company’s name. However, with the introduction of a new type of applicant as Startup, startups can file as startups and avail discounted patent office fee, along with other benefits.
 2.       Enforcement of the patent on potential infringers

The primary objectives for obtaining a patent are to establish monopoly using the patented technology and gain monetary benefits from patent infringers. Both the objectives, if they were to be achieved, may require initiation of patent infringement suits. Hence, we will analyze some of the outcome of such suits from the perspective of patent being owned by individual(s) or company.

In the event of a patent infringement suit, if the court decides that the patent has been infringed, then relief will be provided to the patent owner. The relief can include, granting injunction, and EITHER damages or an account of profits. The relevant section of the Indian Patent Act is reproduced below:
108(1) The reliefs which a court may grant in any suit for infringement include an injunction (subject to such terms, if any, as the court thinks fit) and, at the option of the plaintiff, either damages or an account of profits.

If the patent owner prefers “damages” instead of “account of profits”, then it is preferable to have the patent owned by the company, as damages can be relatively easily calculated and the size of the damages can also be substantially large, as compared to a scenario wherein the patent is owned by individuals.

On the other hand, patent owner may prefer “account of profits”, if the infringer is a large company. In this scenario, whether the patent owner should ideally be individuals or a company, may be of little relevance in the context of this discussion.
The dilemma of patent ownership generally occurs when the startup has a potential to grow rapidly and foresees potential infringement of patent.
It shall be noted that, patent is just like any other property. Hence, even if one applies for a patent in the name of individuals, it can be assigned or licensed to the company at a later stage.
3.      Investor perspective
If you are going to have your company funded, then the investors would like to have the patent assigned to the company. Even if you have applied for patent in the name of individuals, the investors would insist on transferring the patent application to the company.
Our opinion from the investor perspective is very clear. At the time of investment, the investor would like to have the Intellectual Property assigned to the company.
4.      Protecting inventor’s  and company's interest  
There can be a scenario wherein one of the founders is an inventor. In such a scenario, the inventor would like to apply for a patent in his name, as it gives him immense control over the technology, thereby also giving control over commercial aspects of the company. On the other hand, the company would ideally like have the patent application assigned to them, thereby preventing a situation wherein, the inventor is in a position to dictate terms.
In addition to this, please note that, any invention which has been conceived by an employee during the course of his work for the company and relates to his field of work in the company, may always belong to the company, in light of the employment agreement that might be in place.
We hope that, this article will help you in deciding the applicant of your patent application.
We hope you found this article useful. You can download the article here
If you have any queries, you can reach us at [email protected]
Team InvnTree | [email protected] | +91-80-65700262
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