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Patent Rights are a Marital Asset and Non-Inventing Spouse is a Co-Owner, by Dennis Crouch, Patently-O Blog


James Taylor v Taylor Made Plastics (Fed. Cir. 2014)

I should note here that this case is neither about the musician or the golf club company. Rather, it is about the now fractured Taylor family and their patented pipe plugs. I discussed the district court decision earlier here.

Several years ago James T. invented storm drain equipment and obtained a patent in his name only. U.S. Patent No. 5,806,566. When he and his wife Mary T. later divorced, the divorce court ordered “equitable distribution of marital property” with Mary T. receiving 60% of proceeds from the patent and James T. receiving 40%. The divorce court seemingly only dealt with equitable title in the form of rights-to-proceeds and not with legal title to the patent itself. And, in particular, the divorce court did not identify who held the exclusive rights associated with the patent. . . .