409.03(f) Proof of Proprietary Interest [R-08.2012]
[Editor Note: This MPEP section is not applicable to applications filed on or after September 16, 2012. See MPEP §§ 325, 409.05, and 605 for information pertaining to applications for patent filed on or after September 16, 2012 by an assignee, obligated assignee, or a person who otherwise shows sufficient proprietary interest in the matter.]
When an application is deposited pursuant to pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.47(b), the pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.47(b) applicant must prove that
- (A) the invention has been assigned to the applicant, or
- (B) the inventor has agreed in writing to assign the invention to the applicant, or
- (C) the applicant otherwise has sufficient proprietary interest in the subject matter to justify the filing of the application.
If the application has been assigned, a copy of the assignment (in the English language) must be submitted. The assignment must clearly indicate that the invention described in the pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.47(b) application was assigned to the pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.47(b) applicant. A statement under pre-AIA 37 CFR 3.73(b) by the assignee must also be submitted (see MPEP § 324). An assignment of an application and any “reissue, division, or continuation of said application” does not itself establish an assignment of a continuation-in-part application. In re Gray, 115 USPQ 80 (Comm’r Pat. 1956). An assignment to a pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.47(b) applicant for the sole purpose of obtaining a filing date for a pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.47(b) application is not considered an assignment within the meaning of pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 118 and pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.47(b).
When an inventor has agreed in writing to assign an invention described in an application deposited pursuant to pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.47(b), a copy of that agreement should be submitted. If an agreement to assign is dependent on certain specified conditions being met, it must be established by a statement of facts by someone with first hand knowledge of the circumstances in which those conditions have been met. A typical agreement to assign is an employment agreement where an employee (nonsigning inventor) agrees to assign to his or her employer (pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.47(b) applicant) all inventions made during employment. When such an agreement is relied on, it must be established by a statement of a person having firsthand knowledge of the facts that the invention was made by the employee while employed by the pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.47(b) applicant.
If the invention has not been assigned, or if there is no written agreement to assign, the pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.47(b) applicant must demonstrate that he or she otherwise has a sufficient proprietary interest in the matter.
A proprietary interest obtained other than by assignment or agreement to assign may be demonstrated by an appropriate legal memorandum to the effect that a court of competent jurisdiction (federal, state, or foreign) would by the weight of authority in that jurisdiction award title of the invention to the pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.47(b) applicant. The facts in support of any conclusion that a court would award title to the pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.47(b) applicant should be made of record by way of an affidavit or declaration of the person having firsthand knowledge of same. The legal memorandum should be prepared and signed by an attorney at law familiar with the law of the jurisdiction involved. A copy (in the English language) of a statute (if other than the United States statute) or a court decision (if other than a reported decision of a federal court or a decision reported in the United States Patents Quarterly) relied on to demonstrate a proprietary interest should be made of record.