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Hotline Tip: Can I notarize a document describing a new invention?

New Hotline Resized 3A customer came in with a handwritten document stating that he had created a new product and containing a short, detailed description of the item
he created. He asked to have the document notarized. Am I authorized to do so? 
— C.N., Spokane, WA

Yes, you can certainly notarize this document. In order to notarize such a document you must have three elements present:

  • The Statement: The customer is making a statement regarding a new product in this situation, but it really is not the concern of the Notary to go into the detail of the customer’s statement.
  • The Signature: The customer must provide his signature.
  • The Certificate: You need a notarial certificate such as an acknowledgment or jurat to accompany the document. With handwritten statements, the notarial certificate element is what is often missing. If that is the case, simply ask the customer whether they would like an acknowledgment or jurat, and then attach whichever certificate the customer chooses. Keep in mind that the decision over which type of certificate to use must always come from the signer, not the Notary.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. –The Editors

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call (888) 876-0827Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

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Add your comment

Dianne D. Carter

12 Aug 2014

I have yet to see a signer who knows whether they need a jurat or acknowledgment...I would be interested to hear others' comments.

Ahmad Tariq Urfanzada

12 Aug 2014

Actuly notary public can't read the contain of the document. Notary public only Check her or his ID's and sign in the present of notary public.

June Benson

12 Aug 2014

If it were up to me, I would attach a jurat, give him the oath and, of course, fingerprint him---it might deter a fraudulent signing.

Don Wilkins

13 Aug 2014

In response to Dianne Carter, I do as was explained above -- explain the two certificates and let them choose. They usually opt for the jurat, even though in most cases the acknowledgment would work.

Mary Aldrigde

08 Jan 2021

Can a motorized document keep someone from stealing your prototype

National Notary Association

12 Jan 2021

Hello. Notarization verifies the identity of a document signer. You would need to contact a qualified attorney for assistance answering your question.

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