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US Patents Oaths or Declarations

Forms PTO/SB/01, PTO/SB/01A, PTO/SB/02, PTO/SB/02LR, PTO/SB/03, PTO/SB/03a, PTO/SB/04, PTO/SB/51, and PTO/SB/51S are made available by the Office for an applicant’s use. An oath or declaration is required for applications involving designs, plants, and utility inventions and for reissue applications, with PTO/SB/03 and PTO/SB/03a for plant applications and PTO/SB/51 and PTO/SB/51s for reissue applications. Each inventor must make an oath or declaration that he/she believes himself/herself to be the original and first inventor of the subject matter of the application, and he/she must make various other statements required by law and various statements required by the USPTO rules. If an application data sheet is filed, the USPTO rules require fewer statements in the oath or declaration. See Title 37, Code of Federal Regulations, Sections 1.63 and 1.76. The oath must be sworn to by the inventor before a notary public or other officer authorized to administer oaths. A declaration may be used in lieu of an oath. A declaration does not require any witness or person to administer or verify its signing. Thus, use of a declaration is preferable. When filing a continuation or divisional application, a copy of an earlier-filed oath or declaration from the parent application may be acceptable. The oath or declaration must be signed by the inventor in person, or by the person entitled by law to make application on the inventor’s behalf. A full first and last name with middle initial or name, if any, and the citizenship of each inventor are required. The mailing address of each inventor and foreign priority information (if any) is also required if an application data sheet is not used.

Any oath or declaration must be in a language the inventor understands. If the oath or declaration used is in a language other than English, and is not in a form provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office or provided in accordance with Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) Rule 4.17(iv), an English translation together with a statement that the translation is accurate is required. The USPTO provides forms PTO/SB/101-110, which are declaration forms in certain foreign languages with an English translation, for an applicant’s use.

If the person making the oath or declaration is not the inventor, the oath or declaration shall state the relationship of that person to the inventor, upon information and belief, the facts which the inventor would have been required to state, and the circumstances which render the inventor unable to sign, namely death, insanity or legal incapacity or unavailability/refusal to sign. (See 37 CFR §§1.42, 1.43, and 1.47.) If the inventor has refused or cannot be reached to sign the declaration, then a petition under 37 CFR §1.47 is required, and if there are inventors who have signed the oath or declaration, then the remaining inventors must sign the oath or declaration on behalf of the non-signing inventor. If none of the inventors will sign the oath or declaration because they refuse to do so or cannot be found or reached after diligent effort, then the oath or declaration must be signed by the party showing proprietary interest in the application, as shown in the petition under 37 CFR §1.47(b). If the inventor has died or is legally incapacitated, then the legal representative of the deceased or incapacitated inventor must sign the oath or declaration on behalf of the inventor.