Papers giving or revoking a power of attorney in an application generally require signature by all the applicants or owners of the application. Papers revoking a power of attorney in an application (or giving a power of attorney) will not be accepted by the Office when signed by less than all of the applicants or owners of the application unless they are accompanied by a petition under 37 CFR 1.36(a) and fee under 37 CFR 1.17(f) with a showing of sufficient cause (if revocation), or a petition under 37 CFR 1.183 and fee under 37 CFR 1.17(f) (if appointment) demonstrating the extraordinary situation where justice requires waiver of the requirement of 37 CFR 1.32(b)(4). The petition should be directed to the Office of Petitions. The appointment and/or revocation are not accepted until the petition under 37 CFR 1.36(a) or 1.183 is granted. Therefore, the attorney or agent newly appointed by such papers is not permitted to submit any documents (such as an information disclosure statement (IDS)) into the application file until the petition under 37 CFR 1.36(a) or 1.183 is granted. The acceptance of such papers by petition under 37 CFR 1.36(a) or 1.183 will result in more than one attorney, agent, applicant, or owner prosecuting the application at the same time. Therefore, each of these parties must sign all subsequent replies submitted to the Office. See In re Goldstein, 16 USPQ2d 1963 (Dep. Assist. Comm’r Pat. 1988). In an application filed under pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.47(a), an assignee of the entire interest of the available inventors (i.e., the applicant) who has signed the declaration may appoint or revoke a power of attorney without a petition under 37 CFR 1.36(a) or 1.183. See MPEP § 402.07. However, in applications accepted under pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.47, such a petition under 37 CFR 1.36(a) or 1.183 submitted by a previously nonsigning inventor who has now joined in the application will not be granted. See MPEP § 409.03(i). Upon accepting papers appointing and/or revoking a power of attorney that are signed by less than all of the applicants or owners, the Office will indicate to applicants who must sign subsequent replies. Dual correspondence will still not be permitted. Accordingly, when the acceptance of such papers results in an attorney or agent and at least one applicant or owner prosecuting the application, correspondence will be mailed to the attorney or agent. When the acceptance of such papers results in more than one attorney or agent prosecuting the application, the correspondence address will continue to be that of the attorney or agent first named in the application, unless all parties agree to a different correspondence address. Each attorney or agent signing subsequent papers must indicate whom he or she represents.
The following are examples of who must sign replies when there is more than one person responsible for prosecuting the application:
- (A) If coinventor A has given a power of attorney to a patent practitioner and coinventor B has not, replies must be signed by the patent practitioner of A and by coinventor B.
- (B) If coinventors A and B have each appointed their own patent practitioner, replies must be signed by both patent practitioners.