MPEP 602.04
Foreign Executed Oath

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

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602.04    Foreign Executed Oath [R-07.2015]

37 C.F.R. 1.66  Statements under oath.

[Editor Note: Applicable only to patent applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), 363, or 385 on or after September 16, 2012. See 37 CFR 1.66 (pre-AIA) for the rule otherwise in effect.]

An oath or affirmation may be made before any person within the United States authorized by law to administer oaths. An oath made in a foreign country may be made before any diplomatic or consular officer of the United States authorized to administer oaths, or before any officer having an official seal and authorized to administer oaths in the foreign country in which the applicant may be, whose authority shall be proved by a certificate of a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States, or by an apostille of an official designated by a foreign country which, by treaty or convention, accords like effect to apostilles of designated officials in the United States. The oath shall be attested in all cases in this and other countries, by the proper official seal of the officer before whom the oath or affirmation is made. Such oath or affirmation shall be valid as to execution if it complies with the laws of the State or country where made. When the person before whom the oath or affirmation is made in this country is not provided with a seal, his official character shall be established by competent evidence, as by a certificate from a clerk of a court of record or other proper officer having a seal.

An oath executed in a foreign country must be properly authenticated.

I.    HAGUE CONVENTION APOSTILLE

On October 15, 1981, the Hague "Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents" entered into force between the United States and 28 foreign countries as parties to the Convention. Subsequently, additional countries have become parties to the Convention. The Convention applies to any document submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for filing or recording, which is sworn to or acknowledged by a notary public in any one of the member countries. The Convention abolishes the certification of the authority of the notary public in a member country by a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States and substitutes certification by a special certificate, or apostille, executed by an officer of the member country.

Accordingly, the Office will accept for filing or recording a document sworn to or acknowledged before a notary public in a member country if the document bears, or has appended to it, an apostille certifying the notary’s authority. The requirement for a diplomatic or consular certificate, specified in 37 CFR 1.66, will not apply to a document sworn to or acknowledged before a notary public in a member country if an apostille is used.

A list of the current member countries that are parties to the Hague Convention can be obtained from the Internet website of the Hague Conference on Private International Law at www.hcch.net/index_en.php by selecting "Apostille Section" under "International Legal Co-operation and Litigation" and then selecting "Status table of the Apostille Convention" under "Contracting States."

The Convention prescribes the following form for the apostille:

Model of Certificate

The certificate will be in the form of a square with sides at least 9 centimeters long.

APOSTILLE

II.    CERTIFICATE OF DIPLOMATIC OR CONSULAR OFFICER

When the oath is made in a foreign country not a member of the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, the authority of any officer other than a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States authorized to administer oaths must be proved by certificate of a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States. See 37 CFR 1.66. This proof may be through an intermediary, e.g., the consul may certify as to the authority and jurisdiction of another official who, in turn, may certify as to the authority and jurisdiction of the officer before whom the oath is taken.

Where the oath is taken before an officer in a foreign country other than a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States and whose authority is not authenticated or accompanied with an apostille certifying the notary’s authority, the application is nevertheless accepted for purposes of examination. Applicant should submit a new oath properly authenticated by an appropriate diplomatic or consular officer, the filing of proper apostille, or a declaration (37 CFR 1.68 ). The Office does not return improperly authenticated oaths for proper authentication.