MPEP 602

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602 Original Oath or Declaration[edit | edit source]

35 U.S.C. 25. Declaration in lieu of oath.

(a) The Director may by rule prescribe that any document to be filed in the Patent and Trademark Office and which is required by any law, rule, or other regulation to be under oath may be subscribed to by a written declaration in such form as the Director may prescribe, such declaration to be in lieu of the oath otherwise required.

(b) Whenever such written declaration is used, the document must warn the declarant that willful false statements and the like are punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both (18 U.S.C. 1001).


35 U.S.C. 26. Effect of defective execution.

Any document to be filed in the Patent and Trademark Office and which is required by any law, rule, or other regulation to be executed in a specified manner may be provisionally accepted by the Director despite a defective execution, provided a properly executed document is submitted within such time as may be prescribed.


35 U.S.C. 115. Oath of applicant.

The applicant shall make oath that he believes himself to be the original and first inventor of the process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or improvement thereof, for which he solicits a patent; and shall state of what country he is a citizen. Such oath may be made before any person within the United States authorized by law to administer oaths, or, when made in a foreign country, before any diplomatic or consular officer of the United States authorized to administer oaths, or before any officer having an official seal and authorized to administer oaths in the foreign country in which the applicant may be, whose authority is proved by certificate of a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States, or apostille of an official designated by a foreign country which, by treaty or convention, accords like effect to apostilles of designated officials in the United States. Such oath is valid if it complies with the laws of the state or country where made. When the application is made as provided in this title by a person other than the inventor, the oath may be so varied in form that it can be made by him. For purposes of this section, a consular officer shall include any United States citizen serving overseas, authorized to perform notarial functions pursuant to section 1750 of the Revised Statutes, as amended (22 U.S.C. 4221).


37 CFR 1.63. Oath or declaration.

(a) An oath or declaration filed under § 1.51(b)(2) as a part of a nonprovisional application must:

(1) Be executed, i.e., signed, in accordance with either § 1.66 or § 1.68. There is no minimum age for a person to be qualified to sign, but the person must be competent to sign, i.e., understand the document that the person is signing;

(2) Identify each inventor by full name, including the family name, and at least one given name without abbreviation together with any other given name or initial;

(3) Identify the country of citizenship of each inventor; and

(4) State that the person making the oath or declaration believes the named inventor or inventors to be the original and first inventor or inventors of the subject matter which is claimed and for which a patent is sought.

(b) In addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, the oath or declaration must also:

(1) Identify the application to which it is directed;

(2) State that the person making the oath or declaration has reviewed and understands the contents of the application, including the claims, as amended by any amendment specifically referred to in the oath or declaration; and

(3) State that the person making the oath or declaration acknowledges the duty to disclose to the Office all information known to the person to be material to patentability as defined in § 1.56.

(c) Unless such information is supplied on an application data sheet in accordance with § 1.76, the oath or declaration must also identify:

(1) The mailing address, and the residence if an inventor lives at a location which is different from where the inventor customarily receives mail, of each inventor; and

(2) Any foreign application for patent (or inventor’s certificate) for which a claim for priority is made pursuant to § 1.55, and any foreign application having a filing date before that of the application on which priority is claimed, by specifying the application number, country, day, month, and year of its filing.

(d)

(1) A newly executed oath or declaration is not required under § 1.51(b)(2) and § 1.53(f) in a continuation or divisional application, provided that:

(i) The prior nonprovisional application contained an oath or declaration as prescribed by paragraphs (a) through (c) of this section;

(ii) The continuation or divisional application was filed by all or by fewer than all of the inventors named in the prior application;

(iii) The specification and drawings filed in the continuation or divisional application contain no matter that would have been new matter in the prior application; and

(iv) A copy of the executed oath or declaration filed in the prior application, showing the signature or an indication thereon that it was signed, is submitted for the continuation or divisional application.

(2) The copy of the executed oath or declaration submitted under this paragraph for a continuation or divisional application must be accompanied by a statement requesting the deletion of the name or names of the person or persons who are not inventors in the continuation or divisional application.

(3) Where the executed oath or declaration of which a copy is submitted for a continuation or divisional application was originally filed in a prior application accorded status under § 1.47, the copy of the executed oath or declaration for such prior application must be accompanied by:

(i) A copy of the decision granting a petition to accord § 1.47 status to the prior application, unless all inventors or legal representatives have filed an oath or declaration to join in an application accorded status under § 1.47 of which the continuation or divisional application claims a benefit under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c); and

(ii) If one or more inventor(s) or legal representative(s) who refused to join in the prior application or could not be found or reached has subsequently joined in the prior application or another application of which the continuation or divisional application claims a benefit under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c), a copy of the subsequently executed oath(s) or declaration(s) filed by the inventor or legal representative to join in the application.

(4) Where the power of attorney or correspondence address was changed during the prosecution of the prior application, the change in power of attorney or correspondence address must be identified in the continuation or divisional application. Otherwise, the Office may not recognize in the continuation or divisional application the change of power of attorney or correspondence address during the prosecution of the prior application.

(5) A newly executed oath or declaration must be filed in a continuation or divisional application naming an inventor not named in the prior application.

(e) A newly executed oath or declaration must be filed in any continuation-in-part application, which application may name all, more, or fewer than all of the inventors named in the prior application.


37 CFR 1.68. Declaration in lieu of oath.

Any document to be filed in the Patent and Trademark Office and which is required by any law, rule, or other regulation to be under oath may be subscribed to by a written declaration. Such declaration may be used in lieu of the oath otherwise required, if, and only if, the declarant is on the same document, warned that willful false statements and the like are punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both (18 U.S.C. 1001) and may jeopardize the validity of the application or any patent issuing thereon. The declarant must set forth in the body of the declaration that all statements made of the declarant's own knowledge are true and that all statements made on information and belief are believed to be true.


18 U.S.C. 1001. Statements or entries generally.

Whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact, or makes any false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or representations, or makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or entry, shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.


A provisional application does not require an oath or declaration to be complete. See 37 CFR 1.51(c).

I.OATH

A seal is usually impressed on an oath. See 37 CFR 1.66, MPEP § 604 and § 604.01. Documents with seals cannot be adequately scanned for retention in an Image File Wrapper, and since the Office maintains patent applications in an image form, the Office strongly encourages the use of declarations rather than oaths. However, oaths executed in many states including Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia need not be impressed with a seal. See MPEP § 604 for execution of an oath, and MPEP § 604.01 and § 604.02 for information regarding seals and venue.

II.STATUTORY DECLARATIONS

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office personnel are authorized to accept a statutory declaration under 28 U.S.C. 1746 filed in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in lieu of an "oath" or declaration under 35 U.S.C. 25 and 37 CFR 1.68, provided that the statutory declaration otherwise complies with the requirements of law.

A 37 CFR 1.68 declaration need not be ribboned to the other papers, even if signed in a country foreign to the United States. When a declaration is used, it is unnecessary to appear before any official in connection with the making of the declaration. It must, however, since it is an integral part of the application, be maintained together therewith.

By statute, 35 U.S.C. 25, the Director has been empowered to prescribe instances when a written declaration may be accepted in lieu of the oath for “any document to be filed in the Patent and Trademark Office.”

The filing of a written declaration is acceptable in lieu of an original application oath that is informal.

III.EARLIER FOREIGN APPLICATIONS

Oaths and declarations must make reference to any foreign application for patent (or inventor’s certificate) for which priority is claimed and any foreign application filed prior to the filing date of an application on which priority is claimed, unless such information is included in an application data sheet. See 37 CFR 1.63(c)(2).

If all foreign applications have been filed within 12 months of the U.S. filing date, applicant is required only to recite the first such foreign application of which priority is claimed, and it should be clear that the foreign application referred to is the first filed foreign application. The applicant is required to recite all foreign applications filed prior to the application on which priority is claimed. It is required to give the foreign application number and name of the country or office in which filed, as well as the filing date of the first filed foreign application.

IV.SOLE OR JOINT DESIGNATION

37 CFR 1.63 no longer requires the oath or declaration to state that the inventor is a sole or joint inventor of the invention claimed.

When joint inventors execute separate oaths or declarations, each oath or declaration should make reference to the fact that the affiant is a joint inventor together with each of the other inventors indicating them by name. This may be done by stating that he or she does verily believe himself or herself to be the original, first and joint inventor together with “A” or “A & B, etc.” as the facts may be.

V. NEW MATTER ISSUES

For applications filed on or after September 21, 2004, a preliminary amendment that is present on the filing date of the application is part of the original disclosure of the application. For applications filed before September 21, 2004, a preliminary amendment that is present on the filing date of the application is part of the original disclosure of the application if the preliminary amendment was referred to in the first executed oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 filed in the application. See MPEP § 608.04(b) and § 714.01(e).

If a preliminary amendment is present on the filing date of an application, and the oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 does not refer to the preliminary amendment, the normal operating procedure is to not screen the preliminary amendment to determine whether it contains subject matter not otherwise included in the specification or drawings of the application as filed (i.e., subject matter that is “new matter” relative to the specification and drawings of the application).

As a result, it is applicant’s obligation to review the preliminary amendment to ensure that it does not contain subject matter not otherwise included in the specification or drawings of the application as filed. If the preliminary amendment contains subject matter not otherwise included in the specification and drawings of the application, applicant must provide a supplemental oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.67 referring to such preliminary amendment.

During examination, if an examiner determines that a preliminary amendment that is present on the filing date of the application includes subject matter not otherwise supported by the originally filed specification and drawings, and the oath or declaration does not refer to the preliminary amendment, the examiner may require the applicant to file a supplemental oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.67 referring to the preliminary amendment.

In response to the requirement, applicant must submit (A) an oath or declaration that refers to the preliminary amendment, (B) an amendment that cancels the subject matter not supported by the originally filed specification and drawings, or (C) a request for reconsideration.

For applications filed prior to September 21, 2004, if the preliminary amendment was not referred to in the oath or declaration, applicant will be required to submit a supplemental oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.67 referring to both the application and the preliminary amendment filed with the original application. A surcharge under 37 CFR 1.16(f) will also be required unless it has been previously paid.

If an oath or declaration improperly refers to an amendment filed after the filing date of the application and containing new matter, a supplemental oath or declaration will be required pursuant to 37 CFR 1.67(b), deleting the reference to the amendment containing new matter. See also MPEP § 608.04.

If the application papers are altered prior to the execution of the oath or declaration and the filing of the application, new matter is not a consideration since the alteration is considered as part of the original disclosure.

If a claim is presented for matter not originally claimed or embraced in the original statement of invention in the specification a supplemental oath or declaration is required, 37 CFR 1.67, MPEP § 603.

VI. IDENTIFICATION OF APPLICATION

37 CFR 1.63 requires that an oath or declaration identify the specification to which it is directed, by giving information such as the names of the inventors, title of the invention, application number, attorney docket number, filing date, and foreign priority application information.

Filing dates are granted on applications filed without an oath or declaration in compliance with 37 CFR 1.63, the oath or declaration being filed later with a surcharge.

Any specification that is filed attached to an oath or declaration on a date later than the application filing date will not be compared with the specification submitted on filing. Absent any statement(s) to the contrary, the "attached" specification will be presumed to be a copy of the specification and any amendments thereto, which were filed in the USPTO in order to obtain a filing date for the application.

Any variance from the above guidelines will only be considered upon the filing of a petition for waiver of the rules under 37 CFR 1.183 accompanied by a petition fee (37 CFR 1.17(f)).

Further an oath or declaration attached to a cover letter referencing an incorrect application may not become associated with the correct application and, therefore, could result in the abandonment of the correct application.

Supplemental oaths or declarations in accordance with 37 CFR 1.67 will be required in applications in which the oaths or declarations are not in compliance with the other requirements of 37 CFR 1.63 but contain sufficient information to identify the specifications to which they apply as detailed above.

602.01 Oath Cannot Be Amended[edit | edit source]

The wording of an oath or declaration cannot be amended, altered or changed in any manner after it has been signed. If the wording is not correct or if all of the required affirmations have not been made, or if it has not been properly subscribed to, a new oath or declaration must be required. However, in some cases, a deficiency in the oath or declaration can be corrected by a supplemental paper such as an application data sheet (see 37 CFR 1.76 and MPEP § 601.05) and a new oath or declaration is not necessary. See 37 CFR 1.63(c)(1) and (c)(2).

602.02 New Oath or Substitute for Original[edit | edit source]

Where neither the original oath or declaration, nor the substitute oath or declaration is complete in itself, but each oath or declaration names all of the inventors and the two taken together give all the required data, no further oath or declaration is needed.

602.03 Defective Oath or Declaration[edit | edit source]

In the first Office action the examiner must point out every deficiency in a declaration or oath and require that the same be remedied.

When an application is otherwise ready for issue, an examiner with full signatory authority may waive minor deficiencies in the body of the oath or declaration where the deficiencies are self-evidently cured in the rest of the oath or declaration.

Of course, requirements of the statute, e.g., that the applicant state his or her citizenship or believes himself or herself to be the original and first inventor or that the oath be administered before a person authorized to administer oaths or that a declaration pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 25 or contain the language required therein, cannot be waived.

602.04 Foreign Executed Oath[edit | edit source]

An oath executed in a foreign country must be properly authenticated. See 37 CFR 1.66 and MPEP § 604.

602.04(a) Foreign Executed Oath Is Ribboned to Other Application Papers[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.66. Officers authorized to administer oaths.
.          .          .

(b)When the oath is taken before an officer in a country foreign to the United States, any accompanying application papers, except the drawings, must be attached together with the oath and a ribbon passed one or more times through all the sheets of the application, except the drawings, and the ends of said ribbon brought together under the seal before the latter is affixed and impressed, or each sheet must be impressed with the official seal of the officer before whom the oath is taken. If the papers as filed are not properly ribboned or each sheet impressed with the seal, the case will be accepted for examination, but before it is allowed, duplicate papers, prepared in compliance with the foregoing sentence, must be filed.


U.S. ACCESSION TO HAGUE CONVENTION ABOLISHING THE REQUIREMENT OF LEGALIZATION FOR FOREIGN PUBLIC DOCUMENTS

The Office will accept for filing or recording a document sworn to or acknowledged before a notary public in a member country if the document bears, or has appended to it, an apostille certifying the notary’s authority. The requirement for a diplomatic or consular certificate, specified in 37 CFR 1.66, will not apply to a document sworn to or acknowledged before a notary public in a member country if an apostille is used.

602.05 Oath or Declaration — Date of Execution[edit | edit source]

The Office no longer checks the date of execution of the oath or declaration and the Office will no longer require a newly executed oath or declaration based on an oath or declaration being stale (that is when the date of execution is more than 3 months prior to the filing date of the application) or where the date of execution has been omitted. However, applicants are reminded that they have a continuing duty of disclosure under 37 CFR 1.56.

602.05(a) Oath or Declaration in Continuation and Divisional Applications[edit | edit source]

A continuation or divisional application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b) (other than a continuation-in-part (CIP)) may be filed with a copy of the oath or declaration from the prior nonprovisional application. See 37 CFR 1.63(d)(1)(iv).

A copy of the oath or declaration from a prior nonprovisional application may be filed in a continuation or divisional application even if the specification for the continuation or divisional application is different from that of the prior application, in that revisions have been made to clarify the text to incorporate amendments made in the prior application, or to make other changes provided the changes do not constitute new matter relative to the prior application. See 37 CFR 1.52(c)(3).

If the examiner determines that the continuation or divisional application contains new matter relative to the prior application, the examiner should so notify the applicant in the next Office action. The examiner should also (A) require a new oath or declaration along with the surcharge set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(f); and (B) indicate that the application should be redesignated as a continuation- in-part.

A continuation or divisional application of a prior application accorded status under 37 CFR 1.47 will be accorded status under 37 CFR 1.47 if a copy of the decision according 37 CFR 1.47 status in the prior application is filed in the continuation or divisional application, unless an oath or declaration signed by all of the inventors is included upon filing the continuation or divisional application. An oath or declaration in an application accorded status under 37 CFR 1.47is generally not signed by all of the inventors.

Accordingly, if a copy of an oath or declaration of a prior application is submitted in a continuation or divisional application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b) and the copy of the oath or declaration omits the signature of one or more inventors, the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) should send a “Notice to File Missing Parts” requiring the signature of the nonsigning inventor, unless a copy of the decision according status under 37 CFR 1.47 is also included at the time of filing of the continuation or divisional application. If OIPE mails such a Notice, a copy of the decision according status under 37 CFR 1.47, together with a surcharge under 37 CFR 1.16(f) for its late filing, will be an acceptable reply to the Notice. Alternatively, applicant may submit an oath or declaration signed by the previously nonsigning inventor together with the surcharge set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(f) in reply to the Notice.

If an inventor named in a prior application is not an inventor in a continuation or divisional application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b), the continuation or divisional application may either be filed (A) with a copy of an oath or declaration from a prior application and a statement requesting the deletion of the name or names of the person or persons who are not inventors of the invention being claimed in the continuation or divisional application (see 37 CFR 1.63(d)), or (B) with a newly executed oath or declaration naming the correct inventive entity. If an inventor named in a prior application is not an inventor in a continuation or divisional application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(d), the request for filing the continuation or divisional application must be accompanied by a statement requesting the deletion of the name or names of the person or persons who are not inventors of the invention being claimed in the continuation or divisional application (see 37 CFR 1.53(d)(4)).

A continuation or divisional application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b) of a prior application in which a petition (or request) under 37 CFR 1.48 to add an inventor was filed should be filed with a copy of the executed declaration naming the correct inventive entity from the prior application or a newly executed declaration naming the correct inventive entity. A copy of any decision under 37 CFR 1.48 from the prior application is not required to be filed in the continuation or divisional application.

602.06 Non-English Oath or Declaration[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.69. Foreign language oaths and declarations.

(a)Whenever an individual making an oath or declaration cannot understand English, the oath or declaration must be in a language that such individual can understand and shall state that such individual understands the content of any documents to which the oath or declaration relates.

(b)Unless the text of any oath or declaration in a language other than English is in a form provided by the Patent and Trademark Office or in accordance with PCT Rule 4.17(iv), it must be accompanied by an English translation together with a statement that the translation is accurate, except that in the case of an oath or declaration filed under § 1.63, the translation may be filed in the Office no later than two months from the date applicant is notified to file the translation.


37 CFR 1.69 requires that oaths and declarations be in a language which is understood by the individual making the oath or declaration, i.e., a language which the individual comprehends. If the individual comprehends the English language, he or she should preferably use it. If the individual cannot comprehend the English language, any oath or declaration must be in a language which the individual can comprehend. If an individual uses a language other than English for an oath or declaration, the oath or declaration must include a statement that the individual understands the content of any documents to which the oath or declaration relates. If the documents are in a language the individual cannot comprehend, the documents may be explained to him or her so that he or she is able to understand them.

The Office will accept a single non-English language oath or declaration where there are joint inventors, of which only some understand English but all understand the non-English language of the oath or declaration.