Answered By: Farha Hasan
Last Updated: Sep 12, 2019     Views: 17

Patent terminology: Inventor, Applicant, and Assignee

What is the difference between "inventor", "applicant",  and "assignee"?  How can these fields be used?


Inventor: individual(s) who have contributed to the claimed invention. However, they may or may not have an ownership interest in the legal rights of the patent.

Assignee: Organization(s) and individual(s) that have an ownership interest in the legal rights a patent offers. There may or may not be an assignee.  An assignee is often the organization employing the inventor of the technology.  An assignee can also change at a later date.

Applicant: Organization or individual that files the patent application is called the “applicant.” This could be the original inventor, or it could be the assignee.

Strategic application:

  • Identify inventors to recruit for your company, or identify company to acquire
  • Track competitor’s R&D strategies
  • Identify and assess competitors, partners and collaborators 
  • Identify related patent classification codes including patent family codes