MPEP Section 409.03(b), No Inventor Available
This document contains one section of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (the "M.P.E.P."), Eighth Edition, Fifth Revision (August 2006). This page was last updated in July 2007. You may return to the section index to find a particular section. Alternatively, you may search the MPEP use the search box that appears on the bottom of every page of BitLaw--be sure to restrict your search to the MPEP in the pop-up list.
409.03(b) No Inventor Available
Filing under 37 CFR 1.47(b) and 35 U.S.C. 118 is permitted only when no inventor is available to make application. These provisions allow a "person" with a demonstrated proprietary interest to make application "on behalf of and as agent for" an inventor who "cannot be found or reached after diligent effort" or who refuses to sign the application oath or declaration. The word "person" has been construed by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to include juristic entities, such as a corporation. Where 37 CFR 1.47(a) is available, application cannot be made under 37 CFR 1.47(b).
(A) The 37 CFR 1.47(b) applicant must make the oath required by 37 CFR 1.63 and 1.64 or 1.175. Where a corporation is the 37 CFR 1.47(b) applicant, an officer (President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, or Chief Executive Officer) thereof should normally sign the necessary oath or declaration. A corporation may authorize any person, including an attorney or agent registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, to sign the application oath or declaration on its behalf. Where an oath or declaration is signed by a registered attorney or agent on behalf of a corporation, either proof of the attorney"s or agent"s authority in the form of a statement signed by an appropriate corporate officer must be submitted, or the attorney or agent may simply state that he or she is authorized to sign on behalf of the corporation. Where the oath or declaration is being signed on behalf of an assignee, see MPEP § 324. An inventor may not authorize another individual to act as his or her agent to sign the application oath or declaration on his or her behalf. Staeger v. Commissioner, 189 USPQ 272 (D.D.C. 1976), In re Striker, 182 USPQ 507 (Comm"r Pat. 1973). Where an application is executed by one other than the inventor, the declaration required by 37 CFR 1.63 must state the full name, residence, post office address, and citizenship of the nonsigning inventor. Also, the title or position of the person signing must be stated if signing on behalf of a corporation under 37 CFR 1.47(b).
(C) The application must be accompanied by proof that the inventor (1) cannot be found or reached after a diligent effort or (2) refuses to execute the application papers. See MPEP § 409.03(d).
(D) The last known address of the inventor must be stated. See MPEP § 409.03(e).
(E) The 37 CFR 1.47(b) applicant must make out a prima facie case (1) that the invention has been assigned to him or her or (2) that the inventor has agreed in writing to assign the invention to him or her or (3) otherwise demonstrate a proprietary interest in the subject matter of the application. See MPEP § 409.03(f).