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1820    Signature of Applicant [R-08.2012]

PCT Article 14

Certain Defects in the International Application

  • (1)
    • (a) The receiving Office shall check whether the international application contains any of the following defects, that is to say
      • (i) it is not signed as provided in the Regulations;

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PCT Rule 4

The Request (Contents)

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4.15. Signature

  • (a) Subject to paragraph (b), the request shall be signed by the applicant or, if there is more than one applicant, by all of them.
  • (b) Where two or more applicants file an international application which designates a State whose national law requires that national applications be filed by the inventor and where an applicant for that designated State who is an inventor refused to sign the request or could not be found or reached after diligent effort, the request need not be signed by that applicant if it is signed by at least one applicant and a statement is furnished explaining, to the satisfaction of the receiving Office, the lack of the signature concerned.

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PCT Rule 26

Checking by, and Correcting Before, the Receiving Office of Certain Elements of the International Application

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26.2 bis .  Checking of Requirements Under Article 14(1)(a)(i) and (ii)

  • (a) For the purposes of Article 14(1)(a)(i) , if there is more than one applicant, it shall be sufficient that the request be signed by one of them.
  • (b) For the purposes of Article 14(1)(a)(ii) , if there is more than one applicant, it shall be sufficient that the indications required under Rule 4.5(a)(ii) and (iii) be provided in respect of one of them who is entitled according to Rule 19.1 to file the international application with the receiving Office.

  SIGNATURE OF APPLICANT OR AGENT

Pursuant to PCT Rule 4.15 , the international application must be signed in Box No. X of the request by the applicant, or, where there are two or more applicants, by all of them. However, under PCT Rule 26.2bis , which is applicable to international applications having an international filing date on or after January 1, 2004, it is sufficient for purposes of PCT Article 14(1)(a)(i) that the application is signed by only one of the applicants. Thus, for international applications having an international filing date on or after January 1, 2004, the United States Receiving Office will not issue an invitation to applicants to furnish missing signatures where the request is signed by at least one of the applicants. Notwithstanding PCT Rule 26.2 bis , any designated/elected office, in accordance with its national law, can still require confirmation of the international application by the signature of any applicant for such designated state who has not signed the request. PCT Rule 51 bis .1(a)(vi) . Pursuant to 37 CFR 1.4 (d), the request filed may be either an original, or a copy thereof.

The international application may be signed by an agent.

For international applications having an international filing date on or after January 1, 2004, the requirement for the submission of a separate power of attorney may be waived by the receiving Office. The United States Receiving Office will, in most cases, waive the requirement for a separate power of attorney. See MPEP § 1807 .

If the international application has an international filing date before January 1, 2004, then the agent must be appointed as such by the applicant in a separate power of attorney signed by the applicant. If there are two or more applicants, the request may be signed by an agent on behalf of all or only some of them; in that case the agent must be appointed as such in one or more powers of attorney signed by the applicants on whose behalf the agent signs the application. Where a power of attorney appointing an agent who signs an international application having an international filing date prior to January 1, 2004 is missing, the signature is treated as missing until the power of attorney is submitted.

The signature should be executed in black indelible ink. The name of each person signing the international application should be indicated (preferably typewritten) next to the signature. Where a person signs on behalf of a legal entity (an organization such as a corporation, university, nonprofit organization, or governmental agency), his or her name and the capacity in which he or she signs should be indicated. Proof of the person’s authority to sign on behalf of the legal entity will be required if that person does not possess apparent authority to sign on behalf of the legal entity and that person has not submitted a statement that he or she is authorized to sign on behalf of the legal entity (discussed below). An officer (President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer or Chief Financial Officer) of an organization is presumed to have authority to sign on behalf of that organization. The signature of the chairman of the board is also acceptable, but not the signature of an individual director. Variations of these titles (such as vice-president for sales, executive vice-president, assistant treasurer, vice-chairman of the board of directors) are acceptable. In general, a person having a title (manager, director, administrator, general counsel) that does not clearly set forth that person as an officer of the organization is not presumed to be an officer or to have the authority to sign on behalf of the organization. However, an exception is made with respect to foreign juristic applicants. This is because in foreign countries, a person who holds the title “Manager” or “Director” is normally an officer or the equivalent thereof; therefore, those terms are generally acceptable as indicating proper persons to sign applications for foreign applicants. However, titles such as “Manager of Patents,” suggesting narrowly limited duties, are not acceptable. An attorney does not generally have apparent authority to sign on behalf of an organization.

Proof that a person has the authority to sign on behalf of a legal entity may take the form of a copy of a resolution of the board of directors, a provision of the bylaws, or a copy of a paper properly delegating authority to that person to sign the international application on behalf of the legal entity.

It is acceptable to have a person sign the international application on behalf of a legal entity if that person submits a statement that the person has the authority to sign the international application on behalf of the legal entity. This statement should be on a separate paper and must not appear on the Request (or Demand) form itself. The statement must include a clause such as “The undersigned (whose title is supplied below) is empowered to sign the Request on behalf of the applicant.”

The international application can be filed without applicant’s signature on the request. The lack of any required signature on the request is a correctable defect under PCT Article 14(1)(a)(i) and (b), and can be remedied by filing a copy of the request (or, where the request has been signed by an agent, of a power of attorney) duly signed by the applicant within the time limit fixed by the receiving Office for the correction of this defect.

  APPLICANT INVENTOR UNAVAILABLE OR UNWILLING TO SIGN THE INTERNATIONAL APPLICATION

PCT Rule 4.15(b) provides that, where an applicant inventor for the designation of a State whose national law requires that national applications be filed by the inventor (the United States of America is the only Contracting State to have such a requirement in its national law) refused to sign the request or could not be found or reached after diligent effort, the request need not be signed by that applicant inventor if it is signed by at least one applicant and a statement is furnished explaining, to the satisfaction of the receiving Office, the lack of the signature concerned. The significance of PCT Rule 4.15 (b) has been greatly diminished with respect to international applications having an international filing date on or after January 1, 2004, in light of PCT Rule 26.2 bis (a), which provides that where there is more than one applicant, the signature requirements for purposes of PCT Article 14 (1)(a)(i) will be considered to have been satisfied if the request is signed by one of the applicants.

For international applications having an international filing date prior to January 1, 2004, if the requisite statement under PCT Rule 4.15 (b) is furnished to the satisfaction of the receiving Office, the international application complies with the requirements of PCT Article 14(1)(a)(i) for the purposes of all designated States (including the United States of America) without adverse consequences in the international phase. However, additional proofs may be required by the United States Patent and Trademark Office after entry into the national phase if the required oath or declaration by the inventor is not signed by all the applicant inventors.

  INVENTOR DECEASED

37 C.F.R. 1.422  When the inventor is dead.

In case of the death of the inventor, the legal representative (executor, administrator, etc.) of the deceased inventor may file an international application which designates the United States of America.

A legal representative of a deceased inventor may be indicated in the international application as an applicant for the purposes of the United States. In such case, the indication in the request (in Box II or III, as appropriate) for the legal representative should be made as follows: SMITH, Alfred, legal representative of JONES, Bernard (deceased), followed by indications of the address, nationality and residence of the legal representative. The legal representative should be indicated as an “applicant only” except where the legal representative is also an inventor, in which case the legal representative should be indicated as an “applicant and inventor.” The name of the deceased inventor should also appear in a separate box (in Box III) with the indication of “deceased” (e.g., “JONES, Bernard (deceased))” and identified as an “inventor only” and not as an applicant.

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Last Modified: 03/27/2014 10:10:33