"Who is an inventor?"
One who conceives of an invention as it is ultimately reduced to practice.
"Who are co-inventors or joint inventors?"
Two or more persons who materially contribute to the conception of an idea are co-inventors or joint inventors. Naming the correct inventors is a requirement under federal law in order for a patent to be valid. Identifying the correct legal inventors of an invention can be difficult in some circumstances. Not everyone who works on a research project is necessarily an inventor legally. It is important to understand that the identification of inventors is not a matter to be determined by consensus. Responsibility for this legal determination usually falls upon the patent attorney.
"How does an inventor document and prove inventorship of patentable ideas?"
It is recommended that individuals with this question contact the Office of Innovation & Technology Commercialization for guidelines on how to keep laboratory notebooks for patent purposes. Specific rules apply.