All Substantial Rights Doctrine, patent licensing, patent assignment, patent law, patent ownership, standing, Federal Circuit


This Article provides an overview of the Federal Circuit’s all substantial rights doctrine. Surveying decades of case law, this Article seeks to clarify this confusing area of the law and set out the essential rules for those engaged in patent licensing, patent assignment, and patent litigation. This Article begins by explaining why effective ownership of a patent is critical to standing, and then describes the framework through which courts determine whether a party is, in fact, in possession of all substantial rights and is therefore the effective owner. While there are many factors that courts may consider, certain rights take priority in this analysis, the right to enforce being the most important. This Article concludes by providing guidance on how to structure an agreement to ensure that these rights are allocated predictably and reliably to convey effective ownership of the patent.