Declaration to Disqualify Law and Legal Definition

A declaration to disqualify may be used for different purposes, depending on the context. A declaration to disqualify may be a written statement made in support of a motion to disqualify a judge from being assigned to a case. In patent law, a declaration to disqualify is often used to prevent an application for a patent being rejected on the basis of being "prior art". The declaration to disqualify as prior art states that the application or patent under reexamination and patent or published application are currently owned by the same party, and that the inventor named in the application or patent under reexamination is the prior inventor.

The following is a patent rule governing declarations to disqualify:

Affidavit or declaration to disqualify commonly owned patent or published application as prior art.

(a) When any claim of an application or a patent under reexamination is rejected under 35 U.S.C. 103 on a U.S. patent or U.S. patent application publication which is not prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(b), and the inventions defined by the claims in the application or patent under reexamination and by the claims in the patent or published application are not identical but are not patentably distinct, and the inventions are owned by the same party, the applicant or owner of the patent under reexamination may disqualify the patent or patent application publication as prior art. The patent or patent application publication can be disqualified as prior art by submission of:

(1) A terminal disclaimer in accordance with § 1.321(c); and

(2) An oath or declaration stating that the application or patent under reexamination and patent or published application are currently owned by the same party, and that the inventor named in the application or patent under reexamination is the prior inventor under 35 U.S.C. 104.

(b) When an application or a patent under reexamination claims an invention which is not patentably distinct from an invention claimed in a commonly owned patent with the same or a different inventive entity, a double patenting rejection will be made in the application or a patent under reexamination. A judicially created double patenting rejection may be obviated by filing a terminal disclaimer in accordance with § 1.321(c).