Who must sign the power of attorney for applications filed on or after September 16, 2012?
For applications filed on or after September 16, 2012, a power of attorney must be signed by the applicant for patent or the patent owner (for reissue applications, reexamination proceedings and supplemental examination proceedings).
An assignee who is not an applicant cannot revoke or appoint power of attorney in a patent application. “Applicant” refers to the inventor or all of the joint inventors or to the person applying for a patent. If a person is applying for a patent, that person (which may be a juristic entity), and not the inventor, is the applicant. In this situation the Office would not accept a power of attorney from the inventor. An assignee who is not the applicant may sign a power of attorney only if the assignee becomes the applicant.
The answer to this question can be found in chapter 400 of the MPEP. This chapter covers Representative of inventor or owner.
The answer is from the 9th Edition, Revision 07.2015. Depending on future changes to the MPEP, the question and answer may be applicable in later Editions or revisions.
This question and answer comes from section 402.02(b) of the MPEP. The following is a brief summary of section 402.02(b).
402.02(b) Appointment in Application Filed Before September 16, 2012
This section discusses the appointment of a power of attorney in an application filed before September 16, 2012.