知財コラム

7) 出願人・宣誓書に関する要件の緩和

これまで米国における出願人は基本的に発明者でなければなりませんでしたが、今回の改正により、権利の譲受人が出願できるようになりました(§118)。

また、宣誓書(oath又はdeclaration)についての要件も見直されています(§115)。
例えば、これまで発明者は自己の国籍を述べなければなりませんでしたが、今回の改正では自己の国籍を述べる必要がなくなりました。
また、(1)発明者が死亡、法律上の能力がない、又はどうしても見つからない場合や(2)権利を譲渡する義務があるのに署名するのを拒否した場合には、宣誓書に代えて代用陳述書(Substitute Statement)を提出すればよいことになりました。
また、提出期間もこれまでよりも緩和されており、特許の許可通知(notice of allowance)がなされるまでに必要な書類を提出すればよいことになりました。

この改正事項は、2012年9月16日以降に提出される出願に適用されます。

§115. Inventor’s oath or declaration
(a) NAMING THE INVENTOR; INVENTOR’S OATH OR DECLARATION. An application for patent that is filed under section 111(a) or commences the national stage under section 371 shall include, or be amended to include, the name of the inventor for any invention claimed in the application. Except as otherwise provided in this section, each individual who is the inventor or a joint inventor of a claimed invention in an application for patent shall execute an oath or declaration in connection with the application.
(b) REQUIRED STATEMENTS. An oath or declaration under subsection (a) shall contain statements that
(1) the application was made or was authorized to be made by the affiant or declarant; and
(2) such individual believes himself or herself to be the original inventor or an original joint inventor of a claimed invention in the application.
(c) ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS. The Director may specify additional information relating to the inventor and the invention that is required to be included in an oath or declaration under subsection (a).
(d) SUBSTITUTE STATEMENT.
(1) IN GENERAL. In lieu of executing an oath or declaration under subsection (a), the applicant for patent may provide a substitute statement under the circumstances described in paragraph (2) and such additional circumstances that the Director may specify by regulation.
(2) PERMITTED CIRCUMSTANCES.-A substitute statement under paragraph (1) is permitted with respect to any individual who
(A) is unable to file the oath or declaration under subsection (a) because the individual
(i) is deceased;
(ii) is under legal incapacity; or
(iii) cannot be found or reached after diligent effort; or
(B) is under an obligation to assign the invention but has refused to make the oath or declaration required under subsection (a).
(3) CONTENTS. A substitute statement under this sub section shall
(A) identify the individual with respect to whom the statement applies;
(B) set forth the circumstances representing the permitted basis for the filing of the substitute statement in lieu of the oath or declaration under subsection (a); and
(C) contain any additional information, including any showing, required by the Director.
(e) MAKING REQUIRED STATEMENTS IN ASSIGNMENT OF RECORD. An individual who is under an obligation of assignment of an application for patent may include the required statements under subsections (b) and (c) in the assignment executed by the individual, in lieu of filing such statements separately.
(f) TIME FOR FILING. A notice of allowance under section 151 may be provided to an applicant for patent only if the applicant for patent has filed each required oath or declaration under subsection (a) or has filed a substitute statement under subsection (d) or recorded an assignment meeting the requirements of subsection (e).
….
§118. Filing by other than inventor
A person to whom the inventor has assigned or is under an obligation to assign the invention may make an application for patent. A person who otherwise shows sufficient proprietary interest in the matter may make an application for patent on behalf of and as agent for the inventor on proof of the pertinent facts and a showing that such action is appropriate to preserve the rights of the parties. If the Director grants a patent on an application filed under this section by a person other than the inventor, the patent shall be granted to the real party in interest and upon such notice to the inventor as the Director considers to be sufficient.

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