Forcing Patent Owners to Fess Up: Proposed PTO Rules Regarding “Attributable Owners”

06/20/2014

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is considering new rules requiring the disclosure of the “attributable owner” of patents and patent applications. (Changes to Require Identification of Attributable Owner, 79 Fed. Reg. 4,105 (proposed Jan. 24, 2014) (to be codified at 37 C.F.R. pt. 1).) These proposed rules are intended to provide the PTO and the public with more complete information regarding patent ownership. While the PTO sought comments on this topic as early as November 2011 (Request for Comments on Eliciting More Complete Patent Assignment Information, 76 Fed. Reg. 72,372 (Nov. 23, 2011)), it did not receive a strong endorsement of its efforts until June 2013, when the White House issued a set of Executive Actions directing the PTO to “begin a rulemaking process to require patent applicants and owners to regularly update ownership information when they are involved in proceedings before the PTO, specifically designating the ‘ultimate parent entity’ in control of the patent or application.”

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