The Office will issue a filing receipt listing the inventors identified at the time of filing of the application even if the application was filed without an executed oath or declaration.
A.Applications Filed on or After September 16, 2012
As provided in 37 CFR 1.41(b), the inventorship of a nonprovisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in the application data sheet in accordance with 37 CFR 1.76 filed before or concurrently with the inventor’s oath or declaration. If the application data sheet is not filed before or concurrently with the inventor’s oath or declaration, the inventorship is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in the inventor’s oath or declaration (except as otherwise provided in 37 CFR 1.41(b)). Once an application data sheet or the inventor’s oath or declaration is filed in a nonprovisional application, any correction of inventorship must be pursuant to 37 CFR 1.48(a).
As provided in 37 CFR 1.41(c), the inventorship of a provisional application is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in the cover sheet as prescribed by 37 CFR 1.51(c)(1). Once a cover sheet as prescribed by 37 CFR 1.51(c)(1) is filed in a provisional application, any correction of inventorship must be pursuant to 37 CFR 1.48.
See MPEP § 602.01, subsection I for information specific to naming inventorship in applications filed on or after September 16, 2012. See MPEP § 601.01(a), subsection II for information regarding completion of an nonprovisional application subsequent to the filing date pursuant to 37 CFR 1.53(f) (e.g., because the inventor’s oath or declaration was not present on filing date). See MPEP § 601.01(b) for information regarding completion of a provisional application subsequent to the filing date.
B.Applications Filed Before September 16, 2012
Pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.41(a)(1) defines the inventorship of a nonprovisional application as that inventorship set forth in the oath or declaration filed to comply with the requirements of pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.63, except as otherwise provided. For applications filed prior to September 16, 2012, where the first-filed executed oath or declaration sets forth an inventive entity which is different from the inventive entity initially set forth at the time of filing of the application, the actual inventorship of the application will be taken from the executed oath or declaration. See Pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.41(a)(1).
II.REQUESTS FOR CORRECTION OF INVENTORSHIP UNDER 37 CFR 1.48
For requests filed on or after September 16, 2012, under 37 CFR 1.48(f) to correct or update inventor names, or to change the order of inventor names, see MPEP § 602.01(c)(2). Note that requests under 37 CFR 1.48 filed on or after September 16, 2012 will be handled by the Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP).
For requests for correction of inventorship filed before September 16, 2012 (without regard to the filing date of the application), see MPEP § 602.01(c)(3).
37 CFR 1.48 does not apply to reissue applications as is noted in its title, whether correcting an inventorship error in the patent to be reissued or in the reissue application itself. Where an error in inventorship in a patent is to be corrected via a reissue application, see 37 CFR 1.171– 37 CFR 1.175 and MPEP § 1412.04. Where such an error is to be corrected via a certificate of correction under 37 CFR 1.324, see MPEP § 1481. See 37 CFR 1.48(i) for correction of inventorship in interferences and contested cases before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.
A request under 37 CFR 1.48 will not be required:
(A)Where an application is to issue with the correct inventorship based on the allowed claims even though the application may have been filed with an incorrect inventorship based on the claims as originally submitted; and
(B)Where a court has issued an order under 35 U.S.C. 256 for correction of the inventorship of a patent. Such request should be submitted directly to the Certificate of Correction Division along with form PTO/SB/44 (see MPEP § 1485).
III.CORRECTION OF INVENTORSHIP BY FILING CONTINUING APPLICATION
Correction of inventorship may also be obtained by the filing of a continuing application under 37 CFR 1.53 without the need for filing a request under 37 CFR 1.48, although it should be noted that the requirements for a request under 37 CFR 1.48 filed on or after September 16, 2012 are minimal.
35 U.S.C. 120 permits a continuing application to claim the benefit of the filing date of a copending, previously filed, parent application provided there is inventorship overlap between the continuing application and the parent application. If the inventive entity of a continuing application includes an inventor named in the parent application, the inventorship overlap required by 35 U.S.C. 120 is met. However, refiling to change inventorship could result in the loss of a benefit claim if there is no overlap in inventorship between the two applications.
Note that a correction of inventorship may result in the loss of power of attorney. For applications filed on or after September 16, 2012, 37 CFR 1.32(e) provides that if the power of attorney was granted by the originally named inventive entity, and an added inventor pursuant to 37 CFR 1.48 does not provide a power of attorney consistent with the power of attorney granted by the originally named inventive entity, the addition of the inventor results in the loss of that power of attorney upon grant of the 37 CFR 1.48 request. This provision does not preclude a practitioner from acting in a representative capacity pursuant to 37 CFR 1.34, if applicable.
For applications filed on or after September 16, 2012, the inventorship in the continuing application is the inventor or joint inventors specified in the ADS filed before or with the copy of the inventor’s oath or declaration from the earlier-filed application. If an ADS is not filed before or with the copy of the inventor’s oath or declaration, then the inventorship is the inventorship in the copy of the inventor’s oath or declaration from the earlier-filed application, unless accompanied by a statement, signed by a 37 CFR 1.33(b) party, stating the name of each inventor in the continuing application. Any new joint inventor named in the continuing application must execute an inventor’s oath or declaration, except as provided for in37 CFR 1.64.