2.29.10 Signature Requirements for Received Documents

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Many documents and forms completed by applicants and attorneys, for actions under the Act, require a signature.  However, there are certain situations where the typed name of a relevant person may be used in place of a signature.  

Note: Digital or electronic signatures are an acceptable means for signing documents (see sec 10 of the Electronic Transactions Act 1999).

Documents Requiring a Signature

Under the legislation, there are a number of provisions that explicitly require a signature. Declarations made under the Act, or other relevant legislation, always require a signature. Documents relevant to examination that require a signature include the following:

  • Certificate of verification statements;
  • Deposit receipts under the Budapest Treaty;
  • Patent assignment forms (sec 14); and
  • Notice of withdrawal of a patent application (sec 141).

In order to comply with the legislation, a signature must be present on these documents.

Under reg 22.25, if a person is required to sign a document and the Commissioner is reasonably satisfied that the person cannot comply with the requirement, the Commissioner may dispense with the requirement.  Where this appears to be the case, examiners should refer the matter to Patent Oppositions.

Prescribed Forms

Where the requirement for a signature arises solely from a prescribed form, the typed name of the person completing the form, or the typed name of the person who is their agent, may be used in place of a signature. In this context, the person who has applied their name, or approved someone else to apply their name, is taken to have approved the content of the form.

Examples of prescribed forms include the patent request.

It is also appropriate to apply this principle to other correspondence, e.g. responses to examination reports.

Note: The typed name of an attorney firm, or any other business name, is not acceptable.