35 U.S. Code § 261 - Ownership; assignment

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Subject to the provisions of this title, patents shall have the attributes of personal property.
Applications for patent, patents, or any interest therein, shall be assignable in law by an instrument in writing. The applicant, patentee, or his assigns or legal representatives may in like manner grant and convey an exclusive right under his application for patent, or patents, to the whole or any specified part of the United States.
A certificate of acknowledgment under the hand and official seal of a person authorized to administer oaths within the United States, or, in a foreign country, of a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States or an officer authorized to administer oaths whose authority is proved by a certificate of a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States, or 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, shall be prima facie evidence of the execution of an assignment, grant or conveyance of a patent or application for patent.
An assignment, grant or conveyance shall be void as against any subsequent purchaser or mortgagee for a valuable consideration, without notice, unless it is recorded in the Patent and Trademark Office within three months from its date or prior to the date of such subsequent purchase or mortgage.

Source

(July 19, 1952, ch. 950, 66 Stat. 810; Pub. L. 93–596, § 1,Jan. 2, 1975, 88 Stat. 1949; Pub. L. 97–247, § 14(b),Aug. 27, 1982, 96 Stat. 321; Pub. L. 112–211, title II, § 201(d),Dec. 18, 2012, 126 Stat. 1535.)
Amendment of Section

Pub. L. 112–211, title II, §§ 201(d), 203,Dec. 18, 2012, 126 Stat. 1535, 1536, provided that, effective on the date that is 1 year after Dec. 18, 2012, applicable to patents issued before, on, or after that effective date and patent applications pending on or filed after that effective date, and not effective with respect to patents in litigation commenced before that effective date, this section is amended as follows: (1) in the first undesignated paragraph, by adding at the end “The Patent and Trademark Office shall maintain a register of interests in patents and applications for patents and shall record any document related thereto upon request, and may require a fee therefor.”; and (2) in the fourth undesignated paragraph, by substituting “An interest that constitutes an assignment” for “An assignment”. See 2012 Amendment note below.
Historical and Revision Notes

Based on Title 35, U.S.C., 1946 ed., § 47 (R.S. 4898, amended (1) Mar. 3, 1897, ch. 391, § 5,29 Stat. 93, (2) Feb. 18, 1922, ch. 58, § 6,42 Stat. 391, (3) Aug. 18, 1941, ch. 370, 55 Stat. 634).
The first paragraph is new but is declaratory only. The second paragraph is the same as in the corresponding section of existing statute. The third paragraph is from the existing statute, a specific reference to another statute is omitted. The fourth paragraph is the same as the existing statute but language has been changed.
Amendments

2012—Pub. L. 112–211inserted “The Patent and Trademark Office shall maintain a register of interests in patents and applications for patents and shall record any document related thereto upon request, and may require a fee therefor.” at end of first par. and substituted “An interest that constitutes an assignment” for “An assignment” in fourth par.
1982—Pub. L. 97–247inserted “, or 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”.
1975—Pub. L. 93–596substituted “Patent and Trademark Office” for “Patent Office”.
Effective Date of 2012 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 112–211effective on the date that is 1 year after Dec. 18, 2012, applicable to patents issued before, on, or after that effective date and patent applications pending on or filed after that effective date, and not effective with respect to patents in litigation commenced before that effective date, see section 203 ofPub. L. 112–211, set out as an Effective Date note under section 27 of this title.
Effective Date of 1982 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 97–247effective Aug. 27, 1982, see section 17(a) ofPub. L. 97–247, set out as a note under section 41 of this title.
Effective Date of 1975 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 93–596effective Jan. 2, 1975, see section 4 ofPub. L. 93–596, set out as a note under section 1111 of Title 15, Commerce and Trade.

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35 USCDescription of ChangeSession YearPublic LawStatutes at Large
§ 2612012112-211 [Sec.] 201(d)126 Stat. 1535

 

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