European and Chartered Patent Attorneys

If there are multiple applicants, decide which should be named first.

PB Shorts:


Who To Name First?

PB Shorts: Who To Name First?

One seldom commented upon peculiarity of the Unitary patent regime is that where there are more than one applicants, it will be the nationality of the first-named applicant on the European Patent Register which will determine which law will apply to the Unitary patent as an object of property. 

Therefore, because national laws in Europe differ on the ability of co-owners to assign their rights without the consent of the other, this previously inconsequential decision now has significance. 

For instance, a joint owner in England cannot assign its rights in a patent without the consent of the other, while a joint owner in Germany can transfer its rights in a patent without the permission of the other joint owner.

Therefore, the apparently trivial decision as to whom to list first on a patent application can potentially have a major impact on the rights of joint owners.

Fortunately, some of these issues can be addressed contractually:


  • Agree which applicant will be listed first.


  • Agree which applicant will direct prosecution and validation of any European patent application.


  • Agree that a joint-applicant cannot assign without the mutual consent of the other or without offering the other co-applicant the first right to acquire.


As applications filed now may ultimately become Unitary patents, this is another important issue which should be considered before filing an application or entering into a development agreement. 

If you have any questions in relation to this or any other matter, feel free to contact any member of our team who will be more than happy to advise you. Email: info@patent.boutique

PB Shorts:


Who To Name First?

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