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Everywhere I look I see the phrase "oath or declaration."

Yet when I look at the form provided by the patent office, it says only "declare."

Where is the optional/disjunctive "oath"?

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Oaths are typically sworn before some authority that is administering the oath and have the history of reference to a deity. Like the oath of office for federal officials or newly naturalized citizens.

A declaration is a signed statement not requiring the raising of the right hand before an official and importantly indicating the declaration is made under penalty of perjury.

From pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 115-

The applicant shall make oath that he believes himself to be the original and first inventor of the process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or improvement thereof, for which he solicits a patent; and shall state of what country he is a citizen. Such oath may be made before any person within the United States authorized by law to administer oaths, or, when made in a foreign country, before any diplomatic or consular officer of the United States authorized to administer oaths, or before any officer having an official seal and authorized to administer oaths in the foreign country in which the applicant may be, whose authority is proved by 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. Such oath is valid if it complies with the laws of the state or country where made. When the application is made as provided in this title by a person other than the inventor, the oath may be so varied in form that it can be made by him. For purposes of this section, a consular officer shall include any United States citizen serving overseas, authorized to perform notarial functions pursuant to section 1750 of the Revised Statutes, as amended (22 U.S.C. 4221).

And from 35 U.S.C. 25 -

Declaration in lieu of oath.

(a) The Director may by rule prescribe that any document to be filed in the Patent and Trademark Office and which is required by any law, rule, or other regulation to be under oath may be subscribed to by a written declaration in such form as the Director may prescribe, such declaration to be in lieu of the oath otherwise required. (b) Whenever such written declaration is used, the document must warn the declarant that willful false statements and the like are punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both (18 U.S.C. 1001).

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    As a practical matter, I gather that most cases involve declarations these days?
    – jordanpg
    Dec 20, 2021 at 11:10

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