Oath and Declaration
The inventor, or each joint inventor of a claimed invention, in an application for patent (other than a provisional application) must execute an oath or declaration directed to the application. Each oath or declaration for a patent application must be submitted no later than the date on which the issue fee associated therewith is paid.
An oath may be made before any person within the United States authorized by law to administer oaths. An oath made in a foreign country may be made before: (1) any diplomatic or consular officer of the United States authorized to administer oaths; or (2) any officer having an official seal and authorized to administer oaths in the foreign country in which the applicant may be, whose authority shall be proved by a certificate of a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States or by an 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. A seal is usually impressed on an oath.See, e.g., MPEP § 602(I).
Any document to be filed in the USPTO that is required by any law, rule, or other regulation to be under oath may be submitted by way of a written declaration. Accordingly, a declaration may be used in lieu of the oath, if, and only if, the declarant is: (1) on the same document; and (2) warned that willful false statements and the like are punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both, and may jeopardize the validity of the application or any patent issuing thereon.See, e.g., MPEP § 602(II).
A valid oath or declaration must: (1) identify the inventor or joint inventor executing the oath or declaration by his or her legal name; (2) identify the application to which it is directed; (3) include a statement that the person executing the oath or declaration believes the named inventor or joint inventors to be the original inventor or an original joint inventor of a claimed invention in the application for which the oath or declaration is being submitted; and (4) state that the application was made or authorized to be made by the person executing the oath or declaration. Unless supplied in an ADS, the oath or declaration must also identify for each inventor: his or her legal name; a mailing address where the inventor customarily receives mail or the residence of inventor if the inventor lives at a location that is different from where the inventor customarily receives mail. Furthermore, a person executing an oath or declaration must review and understand the contents of the application, and be aware of the duty to disclose information material to patentability; however, statements to such effect are not required.See, e.g., MPEP § 602.01(a)(I)(C).
An assignment document pertaining to the patent application may also serve as an oath or declaration in some cases. For example, an assignment qualifies as an acceptable oath or declaration if: (1) the assignment includes the information and statements required in an oath or declaration (see paragraph directly above); and (2) a copy of the assignment is recorded with the USPTO. The assignment must be executed by the individual who is under the obligation of assignment.See, e.g., MPEP § 602.01(a)(II).
An individual need not file an oath or declaration with respect to a patent application in which the individual is named as the inventor or a joint inventor and which claims the benefit of an earlier-filed application if: (1) a proper oath or declaration was filed in connection with the earlier-filed application and was executed by the individual; (2) a proper substitute statement was filed in connection with the earlier filed application with respect to the individual; or (3) an assignment that qualifies as an oath or declaration was recorded in connection with the earlier-filed application and was executed by the individual.See, e.g., MPEP § 602.01(a).