TMEP 803.03: Legal Entity of Applicant

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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803.03    Legal Entity of Applicant

Immediately after the applicant’s name, the application should set out the applicant’s form of business, or legal entity, for example, partnership, joint venture, corporation, or association.  The words "company" and "firm" are indefinite for purposes of designating a domestic applicant’s legal entity, because those words do not identify a particular type of legal entity in the United States. (However, the word "company" is acceptable to identify an entity that, under the laws of a foreign country, is equivalent or analogous to a corporation or association in the United States. See TMEP §803.03(i).)

Whether the USPTO will accept the identification of an applicant’s entity depends on whether that entity is recognized under the laws of applicant’s place of domicile.

If other material in the record indicates that the applicant is a different type of entity than is set out in the written application, the examining attorney must ask for an explanation, and require amendment if necessary.  However, in view of the broad definition of a "person properly authorized to sign on behalf of the owner" in 37 C.F.R. §2.193(e)(1) ( see TMEP §§611.03(a), 804.04), an explanation is usually not necessary when the person signing a declaration has a title that refers to a different type of entity.  See TMEP §§803.06 and 1201.02(c) regarding USPTO policies governing correction of an applicant’s name.