The AIA rules published August 14, 2012 gave a patent applicant a free pass on handing in the signed inventor declaration late, indeed extremely late. The 2012 rules permitted the applicant to postpone handing in the declaration until as late as the time of allowance.
But not for CPAs (continued prosecution applications) from design patent applications. Due to an oversight in the 2012 AIA rulemaking, this free pass was not extended to CPAs in that rulemaking. On March 5, 2014 the USPTO published a rule change correcting the oversight and extending the free pass to CPAs.
Before March 5, 2014, if you wanted to file a CPA in a design patent application, it was necessary that you had already handed in the signed inventor declaration in the parent case.
A Federal Register Notice dated March 5, 2014 amends 37 CFR § 1.53 so that so long as the inventor list has been provided in the parent case (and other formal requirements met), the CPA may be filed and will be released to the Examining Corps despite the lack of a signed inventor declaration in the parent case. The Notice states that the rule change is immediate, taking effect on March 5, 2014.
The Notice states that the public may file comments up until May 5, 2014. I don’t see anything about this rules change that a design patent applicant would object to. Its only effect is to make things easier, not harder, for design applicants. So I predict nobody will file comments.