MPEP 602.01
Inventorship

This is the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 08.2017, Last Revised in Januay 2018

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602.01    Inventorship [R-07.2015]

The inventor, or each individual who is a joint inventor of a claimed invention, in an application for patent (other than a provisional application) must execute an oath or declaration directed to the application, except as provided for in 37 CFR 1.64. See MPEP § 602.01(a) for the requirements of an inventor’s oath or declaration in an application filed on or after September 16, 2012. See MPEP § 602.01(b) for the requirements of an original oath or declaration in an application filed before September 16, 2012.

See MPEP § 602.09 for a discussion of joint inventorship. See MPEP § 2137.01 for the definition of, and requirements for, inventorship.

I.    Naming Inventorship in application filed on or after September 16, 2012

[Editor Note: See subsection II., below, for naming inventorship in applications filed before September 16, 2012.]

37 C.F.R. 1.41  Applicant for patent.

  • (a) An application must include, or be amended to include, the name of the inventor for any invention claimed in the application.
  • (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 § 1.76 filed before or concurrently with the inventor's oath or declaration. If an 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 provided for in §§ 1.53(d)(4) and 1.63(d). 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 § 1.48. If neither an application data sheet nor the inventor's oath or declaration is filed during the pendency of a nonprovisional application, the inventorship is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in the application papers filed pursuant to § 1.53(b), unless the applicant files a paper, including the processing fee set forth in § 1.17(i), supplying the name or names of the inventor or joint inventors.
  • (c) The inventorship of a provisional application is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in the cover sheet as prescribed by § 1.51(c)(1). Once a cover sheet as prescribed by § 1.51(c)(1) is filed in a provisional application, any correction of inventorship must be pursuant to § 1.48. If a cover sheet as prescribed by § 1.51(c)(1) is not filed during the pendency of a provisional application, the inventorship is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in the application papers filed pursuant to § 1.53(c), unless applicant files a paper including the processing fee set forth in § 1.17(q), supplying the name or names of the inventor or joint inventors.
  • (d) In a nonprovisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) filed without an application data sheet or the inventor’s oath or declaration, or in a provisional application filed without a cover sheet as prescribed by § 1.51(c)(1), the name and residence of each person believed to be an actual inventor should be provided when the application papers pursuant to § 1.53(b) or § 1.53(c) are filed.
  • (e) The inventorship of an international application entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in the application data sheet in accordance with § 1.76 filed with the initial submission under 35 U.S.C. 371. Unless the initial submission under 35 U.S.C. 371 is accompanied by an application data sheet in accordance with § 1.76 setting forth the inventor or joint inventors, the inventorship is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in the international application, which includes any change effected under PCT Rule 92bis.
  • (f) The inventorship of an international design application designating the United States is the creator or creators set forth in the publication of the international registration under Hague Agreement Article 10(3). Any correction of inventorship must be pursuant to § 1.48.

An application must include, or be amended to include, the name of the inventor for any invention claimed in the application (the inventorship). See 35 U.S.C. 115(a) and 37 CFR 1.41(a).

As provided in 37 CFR 1.41(b), the applicant may name the inventorship of a nonprovisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) in the application data sheet in accordance with 37 CFR 1.76 or the inventor’s oath or declaration. 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. An application data sheet must be signed to comply with 37 CFR 1.76. An unsigned application data sheet is treated as only a transmittal letter. See 37 CFR 1.76(e). If an 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 provided in 37 CFR 1.53(d)(4) (continued prosecution applications for designs) and 37 CFR 1.63(d) (continuing applications). 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). If neither an application data sheet nor inventor’s oath or declaration is filed during the pendency of a nonprovisional application, the inventorship is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in the application papers filed pursuant to 37 CFR 1.53(b), unless the applicant files a paper, including the processing fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(i), supplying the name or names of the inventor or joint inventors.

Applicants who wish to take advantage of the ability to name the inventors in an application data sheet rather than the inventor’s oath or declaration should take care to ensure that an application data sheet under 37 CFR 1.76 that is signed in compliance with 37 CFR 1.33(b) is present on filing, or at least prior to the filing of any inventor’s oath or declaration in the application. If an inventor’s oath or declaration is filed in the application prior to the filing of an application data sheet under 37 CFR 1.76 that is signed in compliance with 37 CFR 1.33(b), the inventorship named in the inventor’s oath or declaration controls. For example, if an inventor’s oath or declaration naming only inventor "A" is present on filing without an accompanying application data sheet, and a signed application data sheet is filed naming inventors "A" and "B" is subsequently filed in the application, the application will be treated as naming only inventor "A" (the inventor provided in the inventor’s oath or declaration) until the inventorship is corrected under 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. If a cover sheet as prescribed by 37 CFR 1.51(c)(1) is not filed during the pendency of a provisional application, the inventorship is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in the application papers filed pursuant to 37 CFR 1.53(c), unless the applicant files a paper including the processing fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(q), supplying the name or names of the inventor or joint inventors.

37 CFR 1.41(d) provides that in either a nonprovisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) filed without an application data sheet or the inventor’s oath or declaration, or in a provisional application filed without a cover sheet as prescribed by 37 CFR 1.51(c)(1), the name and residence of each person believed to be an actual inventor should be provided when the application papers filed pursuant to 37 CFR 1.53(b) or (c) are filed. Naming the individuals known to be inventors or the persons believed to be the inventors may enable the Office to identify the application, if applicant does not know the application number. Where no inventor(s) is known and applicant cannot name a person believed to be an inventor on filing, the Office requests that an alphanumeric identifier be submitted for the application. The use of very short identifiers should be avoided to prevent confusion. Without supplying at least a unique identifying name the Office may have no ability or only a delayed ability to match any papers submitted after filing of the application and before issuance of an identifying application number with the application file. Any identifier used that is not an inventor’s name should be specific, alphanumeric characters of reasonable length, and should be presented in such a manner that it is clear to application processing personnel what the identifier is and where it is to be found. Failure to apprise the Office of an application identifier such as the names of the inventors or the alphanumeric identifier being used may result in applicants having to resubmit papers that could not be matched with the application and proof of the earlier receipt of such papers where submission was time dependent.

37 CFR 1.41(e) provides that the inventorship of an international application entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in the application data sheet in accordance with 37 CFR 1.76 filed with the initial submission under 35 U.S.C. 371. Thus, the applicant in an international application may change inventorship as to the U.S. at the time of national stage entry by simply filing an application data sheet in accordance with 37 CFR 1.76 with the initial submission under 35 U.S.C. 371 naming the inventor or joint inventors. Unless the initial submission under 35 U.S.C. 371 is accompanied by an application data sheet in accordance with 37 CFR 1.76 setting forth the inventor or joint inventors, the inventorship is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in the international application, which includes any change effected under PCT Rule 92bis. 37 CFR 1.41(e) does not provide the ability to name the inventor or joint inventors via the inventor’s oath or declaration even when an application data sheet in accordance with 37 CFR 1.76 is not provided.

37 CFR 1.41(f) was added to set forth the inventorship in an international design application designating the United States. Specifically, the inventorship of an international design application designating the United States is the creator or creators set forth in the publication of the international registration under Hague Agreement Article 10(3). 37 CFR 1.41(f) further provides that any correction of inventorship must be pursuant to 37 CFR 1.48.

II.    Naming Inventorship in an Application filed Before September 16, 2012

[Editor Note: See subsection I., above, for naming inventorship in applications filed on or after 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 provided for in 37 CFR 1.53(d)(4) and pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.63(d). See MPEP §§ 602.08(b) and 605.02 for additional information.

III.    Correction of Inventorship

For correction of inventorship, see MPEP § 602.01(c) et seq. Note that requests to correct the inventorship under 37 CFR 1.48 filed on or after September 16, 2012 (regardless of the application filing date) are treated by OPAP. If the request is granted, OPAP will correct the Office records and send a corrected filing receipt.