The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued final rules, effective September 16, 2012, that implement provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act related to an inventor’s oath or declaration. See 77 Fed. Reg. 48776 (2012). The rules streamline the statements required in an inventor’s oath or declaration and permit these statements to be included in an assignment. In lieu of an inventor’s oath or declaration, a substitute statement can be filed in certain circumstances. Further, the filing of the inventor’s oath or declaration can now be delayed until an application is in condition for allowance. The rules also modify existing practice by relaxing the requirement that only inventors may be an applicant for a patent application and now permitting an assignee to be an applicant for a patent application.
Under Rule 1.63, the inventor’s oath or declaration must: (1) identify the inventor, using the inventor’s legal name; (2) identify the application; (3) include a statement that the inventor believes to be the original or joint inventor of a claimed invention in the application; and (4) state that the application was made or authorized to be made by the inventor. The inventor may not execute the oath unless the person has reviewed and understands the contents of the application and is aware of the duty of disclosure under Rule 1.56. For an inventor declaration, the declaration needs to additionally indicate that the inventor acknowledges that any willful false statements made in the declaration is punishable by fine or imprisonment of not more than five years.
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