MPEP 600

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Chapter 600 Parts, Form, and Content of Application

Contents


601 Content of Provisional and Nonprovisional Applications[edit | edit source]

35 U.S.C. 111. Application

(a) IN GENERAL.—

(1) WRITTEN APPLICATION.—An application for patent shall be made, or authorized to be made, by the inventor, except as otherwise provided in this title, in writing to the Director.

(2) CONTENTS.—Such application shall include—

(A) a specification as prescribed by section 112 of this title;

(B) a drawing as prescribed by section 113 of this title; and

(C) an oath by the applicant as prescribed by section 115 of this title.

(3) FEE AND OATH.—The application must be accompanied by the fee required by law. The fee and oath may be submitted after the specification and any required drawing are submitted, within such period and under such conditions, including the payment of a surcharge, as may be prescribed by the Director.

(4) FAILURE TO SUBMIT.—Upon failure to submit the fee and oath within such prescribed period, the application shall be regarded as abandoned, unless it is shown to the satisfaction of the Director that the delay in submitting the fee and oath was unavoidable or unintentional. The filing date of an application shall be the date on which the specification and any required drawing are received in the Patent and Trademark Office.

(b) PROVISIONAL APPLICATION.—

(1) AUTHORIZATION.—A provisional application for patent shall be made or authorized to be made by the inventor, except as otherwise provided in this title, in writing to the Director. Such application shall include—

(A) a specification as prescribed by the first paragraph of section 112 of this title; and

(B) a drawing as prescribed by section 113 of this title.

(2) CLAIM.—A claim, as required by the second through fifth paragraphs of section 112, shall not be required in a provisional application.

(3) FEE.—

(A) The application must be accompanied by the fee required by law.

(B) The fee may be submitted after the specification and any required drawing are submitted, within such period and under such conditions, including the payment of a surcharge, as may be prescribed by the Director.

(C) Upon failure to submit the fee within such prescribed period, the application shall be regarded as abandoned, unless it is shown to the satisfaction of the Director that the delay in submitting the fee was unavoidable or unintentional.

(4) FILING DATE.—The filing date of a provisional application shall be the date on which the specification and any required drawing are received in the Patent and Trademark Office.

(5) ABANDONMENT.—Notwithstanding the absence of a claim, upon timely request and as prescribed by the Director, a provisional application may be treated as an application filed under subsection (a). Subject to section 119(e)(3) of this title, if no such request is made, the provisional application shall be regarded as abandoned 12 months after the filing date of such application and shall not be subject to revival after such 12-month period.

(6) OTHER BASIS FOR PROVISIONAL APPLICATION.— Subject to all the conditions in this subsection and section 119(e) of this title, and as prescribed by the Director, an application for patent filed under subsection (a) may be treated as a provisional application for patent.

(7) NO RIGHT OF PRIORITY OR BENEFIT OF EARLIEST FILING DATE.—A provisional application shall not be entitled to the right of priority of any other application under section 119 or 365(a) of this title or to the benefit of an earlier filing date in the United States under section 120, 121, or 365(c) of this title.

(8) APPLICABLE PROVISIONS.—The provisions of this title relating to applications for patent shall apply to provisional applications for patent, except as otherwise provided, and except that provisional applications for patent shall not be subject to sections 115, 131, 135, and 157 of this title.


37 CFR 1.51. General requisites of an application.

(a) Applications for patents must be made to the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

(b) A complete application filed under § 1.53(b) or § 1.53(d) comprises:

(1) A specification as prescribed by 35 U.S.C. 112, including a claim or claims, see §§ 1.71 to 1.77;

(2) An oath or declaration, see §§ 1.63 and 1.68;

(3) Drawings, when necessary, see §§ 1.81 to 1.85; and

(4) The prescribed filing fee, search fee, examination fee, and application size fee, see § 1.16.

(c) A complete provisional application filed under § 1.53(c) comprises:

(1) A cover sheet identifying:

(i) The application as a provisional application,

(ii) The name or names of the inventor or inventors, (see § 1.41(a)(2)),

(iii) The residence of each named inventor,

(iv) The title of the invention,

(v) The name and registration number of the attorney or agent (if applicable),

(vi) The docket number used by the person filing the application to identify the application (if applicable),

(vii) The correspondence address, and

(viii) The name of the U.S. Government agency and Government contract number (if the invention was made by an agency of the U.S. Government or under a contract with an agency of the U.S. Government);

(2) A specification as prescribed by the first paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112, see § 1.71;

(3) Drawings, when necessary, see §§ 1.81 to 1.85; and

(4) The prescribed filing fee and application size fee, see § 1.16.

(d) Applicants are encouraged to file an information disclosure statement in nonprovisional applications. See § 1.97 and § 1.98. No information disclosure statement may be filed in a provisional application.


I.GUIDELINES FOR DRAFTING A NONPROVISIONAL PATENT APPLICATION UNDER 35 U.S.C. 111(a)

The following guidelines illustrate the preferred layout and content of patent applications. If an application data sheet (37 CFR 1.76) is used, data supplied in the application data sheet need not be provided elsewhere in the application except that the citizenship of each inventor must be provided in the oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 even if this information is provided in the application data sheet. If the information in the application data sheet and the information submitted elsewhere, the application data sheet will control except for the naming of the inventors and the citizenship of the inventors.


A complete application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) comprises a specification, including claims, as prescribed by 35 U.S.C. 112, drawings as prescribed by 35 U.S.C. 113, an oath or declaration as prescribed by 35 U.S.C. 115, and the prescribed filing fee, search fee, examination fee and application size fee.


Arrangement and Contents of the Specification

The following order of arrangement is preferable in framing the specification. Each of the lettered items should appear in upper case, without underlining or bold type, as section headings.

(A)Title of the invention. (See MPEP § 606).
(B)Cross-reference to related applications. (See MPEP § 201.11).
(C)Statement regarding federally sponsored research or development. (See MPEP § 310).
(D)The names of the parties to a joint research agreement (see 37 CFR 1.71(g)).
(E) Reference to a “Sequence Listing,” a table, or a computer program listing appendix submitted on compact disc and an incorporation-by-reference of the material on the compact disc. For computer listings filed on or prior to March 1, 2001, reference to a “Microfiche appendix” (see former 37 CFR 1.96(c) for Microfiche appendix).
(F) Background of the invention. (See MPEP § 608.01(c)).
  1. Field of the invention.
  2. Description of related art including information disclosed under 37 CFR 1.97 and 1.98.
(G) Brief summary of the invention. (See MPEP § 608.01(d)).
(H) Brief description of the several views of the drawing. (See MPEP § 608.01(f)).
(I) Detailed description of the invention. (See MPEP § 608.01(g)).
(J) Claim(s) (commencing on a separate sheet). (See MPEP § 608.01(i)-(p)).
(K) Abstract of the Disclosure (commencing on a separate sheet). (See MPEP § 608.01(b)).
(L) Sequence Listing, if on paper (see 37 CFR 1.821 through 1.825).

II.GUIDELINES FOR DRAFTING A PROVISIONAL APPLICATION UNDER 35 U.S.C. 111(b)

A provisional application should preferably conform to the arrangement guidelines for nonprovisional applications. The specification must, however, comply with the first paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112 and refer to drawings, where necessary for an understanding of the invention. A provisional application does not need claims, oath or declaration. See MPEP § 201.04(b).

A cover sheet providing identifying information is required for a complete provisional application. The cover sheet must state the following:

  • it is for a provisional application
  • Identify and give the residence of the inventor or inventors
  • Title of the invention
  • Name and registration number of the attorney or agent (if applicable)
  • Docket number used by the person filing the application (if applicable)
  • Correspondence address
  • If there is a governmental interest, the cover sheet must include a statement as to rights to inventions made under Federally sponsored research and development (See MPEP § 310). 37 CFR 1.51(c)(1)(viii) requires the name of the Government agency and the contract number, if the invention was developed by or while under contract with an agency of the U.S. Government.


Provisional applications should not include an information disclosure statement. Since no substantive examination is made, such statements are unnecessary. The Office will not accept an information disclosure statement in a provisional application. Any such statement received, will be returned or disposed of at the convenience of the Office.

This cover sheet information enables the Office to prepare a proper filing receipt and provides the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) with most of the information needed to process the provisional application. See MPEP § 201.04(b) for a sample cover sheet.

III.THE APPLICATION

The parts of the application may be included in a single document.

The paper standard requirements for papers submitted as part of the record of a patent application is covered in MPEP § 608.01 under the heading “Paper Requirement.”

Determination of completeness of an application is covered in MPEP § 506 and § 601.01 - § 601.01(g).

The elements of the application are secured together in a file wrapper, bearing appropriate identifying data including the application number and filing date (MPEP § 719).

A model, exhibit, or specimen is normally not admitted as part of the application, although it may be required in the prosecution of the application (37 CFR 1.91 and 1.93, MPEP § 608.03).

Copies of an application will be provided by the USPTO upon request and payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b) unless the application has been disposed of (see 37 CFR 1.53(e), (f) and (g)).

All applicants are requested to include a preliminary classification on newly filed patent applications. The preliminary classification, preferably class and subclass designations, should be identified in the upper right-hand corner of the letter of transmittal accompanying the application papers, or in the application data sheet after the title of the invention (see 37 CFR 1.76(b)(3)), for example “Proposed Class 2, subclass 129.”

601.01 Complete Application[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.53. Application number, filing date, and completion of application.

(a) Application number. Any papers received in the Patent and Trademark Office which purport to be an application for a patent will be assigned an application number for identification purposes.

(b) Application filing requirements - Nonprovisional application. The filing date of an application for patent filed under this section, except for a provisional application under paragraph (c) of this section or a continued prosecution application under paragraph (d) of this section, is the date on which a specification as prescribed by 35 U.S.C. 112 containing a description pursuant to § 1.71 and at least one claim pursuant to § 1.75, and any drawing required by § 1.81(a) are filed in the Patent and Trademark Office. No new matter may be introduced into an application after its filing date. A continuing application, which may be a continuation, divisional, or continuation-in-part application, may be filed under the conditions specified in 35 U.S.C. 120, 121 or 365(c) and § 1.78(a).

(1) A continuation or divisional application that names as inventors the same or fewer than all of the inventors named in the prior application may be filed under this paragraph or paragraph (d) of this section.

(2) A continuation-in-part application (which may disclose and claim subject matter not disclosed in the prior application) or a continuation or divisional application naming an inventor not named in the prior application must be filed under this paragraph.

(c) Application filing requirements - Provisional application. The filing date of a provisional application is the date on which a specification as prescribed by the first paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112, and any drawing required by § 1.81(a) are filed in the Patent and Trademark Office. No amendment, other than to make the provisional application comply with the patent statute and all applicable regulations, may be made to the provisional application after the filing date of the provisional application.

(1) A provisional application must also include the cover sheet required by § 1.51(c)(1), which may be an application data sheet (§ 1.76), or a cover letter identifying the application as a provisional application. Otherwise, the application will be treated as an application filed under paragraph (b) of this section.

(2) An application for patent filed under paragraph (b) of this section may be converted to a provisional application and be accorded the original filing date of the application filed under paragraph (b) of this section. The grant of such a request for conversion will not entitle applicant to a refund of the fees that were properly paid in the application filed under paragraph (b) of this section. Such a request for conversion must be accompanied by the processing fee set forth in § 1.17(q) and be filed prior to the earliest of:

(i) Abandonment of the application filed under paragraph (b) of this section;

(ii) Payment of the issue fee on the application filed under paragraph (b) of this section;

(iii) Expiration of twelve months after the filing date of the application filed under paragraph (b) of this section; or

(iv) The filing of a request for a statutory invention registration under § 1.293 in the application filed under paragraph (b) of this section.

(3) A provisional application filed under paragraph (c) of this section may be converted to a nonprovisional application filed under paragraph (b) of this section and accorded the original filing date of the provisional application. The conversion of a provisional application to a nonprovisional application will not result in either the refund of any fee properly paid in the provisional application or the application of any such fee to the filing fee, or any other fee, for the nonprovisional application. Conversion of a provisional application to a nonprovisional application under this paragraph will result in the term of any patent to issue from the application being measured from at least the filing date of the provisional application for which conversion is requested. Thus, applicants should consider avoiding this adverse patent term impact by filing a nonprovisional application claiming the benefit of the provisional application under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) (rather than converting the provisional application into a nonprovisional application pursuant to this paragraph). A request to convert a provisional application to a nonprovisional application must be accompanied by the fee set forth in § 1.17(i) and an amendment including at least one claim as prescribed by the second paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112, unless the provisional application under paragraph (c) of this section otherwise contains at least one claim as prescribed by the second paragraph of 35 U.S.C.112. The nonprovisional application resulting from conversion of a provisional application must also include the filing fee, search fee, and examination fee for a nonprovisional application, an oath or declaration by the applicant pursuant to §§ 1.63, 1.162, or 1.175, and the surcharge required by § 1.16(f) if either the basic filing fee for a nonprovisional application or the oath or declaration was not present on the filing date accorded the resulting nonprovisional application (i.e., the filing date of the original provisional application). A request to convert a provisional application to a nonprovisional application must also be filed prior to the earliest of:

(i) Abandonment of the provisional application filed under paragraph (c) of this section; or

(ii) Expiration of twelve months after the filing date of the provisional application filed under paragraph (c) of this section.

(4) A provisional application is not entitled to the right of priority under 35 U.S.C. 119 or 365(a) or § 1.55, or to the benefit of an earlier filing date under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121 or 365(c) or § 1.78 of any other application. No claim for priority under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) or § 1.78(a)(4) may be made in a design application based on a provisional application. No request under § 1.293 for a statutory invention registration may be filed in a provisional application. The requirements of §§ 1.821 through 1.825 regarding application disclosures containing nucleotide and/or amino acid sequences are not mandatory for provisional applications.

(d) Application filing requirements - Continued prosecution (nonprovisional) application.

(1) A continuation or divisional application (but not a continuation-in-part) of a prior nonprovisional application may be filed as a continued prosecution application under this paragraph, provided that:

(i) The application is for a design patent;

(ii) The prior nonprovisional application is a design application that is complete as defined by § 1.51(b); and

(iii) The application under this paragraph is filed before the earliest of:

(A) Payment of the issue fee on the prior application, unless a petition under § 1.313(c) is granted in the prior application;

(B) Abandonment of the prior application; or

(C) Termination of proceedings on the prior application.

(2) The filing date of a continued prosecution application is the date on which a request on a separate paper for an application under this paragraph is filed. An application filed under this paragraph:

(i) Must identify the prior application;

(ii) Discloses and claims only subject matter disclosed in the prior application;

(iii) Names as inventors the same inventors named in the prior application on the date the application under this paragraph was filed, except as provided in paragraph (d)(4) of this section;

(iv) Includes the request for an application under this paragraph, will utilize the file jacket and contents of the prior application, including the specification, drawings and oath or declaration from the prior application, to constitute the new application, and will be assigned the application number of the prior application for identification purposes; and

(v) Is a request to expressly abandon the prior application as of the filing date of the request for an application under this paragraph.

(3) The filing fee, search fee, and examination fee for a continued prosecution application filed under this paragraph are the basic filing fee as set forth in § 1.16(b), the search fee as set forth in § 1.16 (l), and the examination fee as set forth in § 1.16(p).

(4) An application filed under this paragraph may be filed by fewer than all the inventors named in the prior application, provided that the request for an application under this paragraph when filed is accompanied by a statement requesting deletion of the name or names of the person or persons who are not inventors of the invention being claimed in the new application. No person may be named as an inventor in an application filed under this paragraph who was not named as an inventor in the prior application on the date the application under this paragraph was filed, except by way of correction of inventorship under § 1.48.

(5) Any new change must be made in the form of an amendment to the prior application as it existed prior to the filing of an application under this paragraph. No amendment in an application under this paragraph (a continued prosecution application) may introduce new matter or matter that would have been new matter in the prior application. Any new specification filed with the request for an application under this paragraph will not be considered part of the original application papers, but will be treated as a substitute specification in accordance with § 1.125.

(6) The filing of a continued prosecution application under this paragraph will be construed to include a waiver of confidentiality by the applicant under 35 U.S.C. 122 to the extent that any member of the public, who is entitled under the provisions of § 1.14 to access to, copies of, or information concerning either the prior application or any continuing application filed under the provisions of this paragraph, may be given similar access to, copies of, or similar information concerning the other application or applications in the file jacket.

(7) A request for an application under this paragraph is the specific reference required by 35 U.S.C. 120 to every application assigned the application number identified in such request. No amendment in an application under this paragraph may delete this specific reference to any prior application.

(8) In addition to identifying the application number of the prior application, applicant should furnish in the request for an application under this paragraph the following information relating to the prior application to the best of his or her ability:

(i) Title of invention;

(ii) Name of applicant(s); and

(iii) Correspondence address.

(9) See § 1.103(b) for requesting a limited suspension of action in an application filed under this paragraph.

(e) Failure to meet filing date requirements.

(1) If an application deposited under paragraph (b), (c), or (d) of this section does not meet the requirements of such paragraph to be entitled to a filing date, applicant will be so notified, if a correspondence address has been provided, and given a period of time within which to correct the filing error. If, however, a request for an application under paragraph (d) of this section does not meet the requirements of that paragraph because the application in which the request was filed is not a design application, and if the application in which the request was filed was itself filed on or after June 8, 1995, the request for an application under paragraph (d) of this section will be treated as a request for continued examination under § 1.114.

(2) Any request for review of a notification pursuant to paragraph (e)(1) of this section, or a notification that the original application papers lack a portion of the specification or drawing( s), must be by way of a petition pursuant to this paragraph accompanied by the fee set forth in § 1.17(f). In the absence of a timely (§ 1.181(f)) petition pursuant to this paragraph, the filing date of an application in which the applicant was notified of a filing error pursuant to paragraph (e)(1) of this section will be the date the filing error is corrected.

(3) If an applicant is notified of a filing error pursuant to paragraph (e)(1) of this section, but fails to correct the filing error within the given time period or otherwise timely (§ 1.181(f)) take action pursuant to this paragraph, proceedings in the application will be considered terminated. Where proceedings in an application are terminated pursuant to this paragraph, the application may be disposed of, and any filing fees, less the handling fee set forth in 1.21(n), will be refunded.

(f) Completion of application subsequent to filing— Nonprovisional (including continued prosecution or reissue) application.

(1) If an application which has been accorded a filing date pursuant to paragraph (b) or (d) of this section does not include the basic filing fee, the search fee, or the examination fee, or if an application which has been accorded a filing date pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section does not include an oath or declaration by the applicant pursuant to §§ 1.63, 1.162 or § 1.175, and applicant has provided a correspondence address (§1.33(a)), applicant will be notified and given a period of time within which to pay the basic filing fee, search fee, and examination fee, file an oath or declaration in an application under paragraph (b) of this section, and pay the surcharge if required by § 1.16(f) to avoid abandonment.

(2) If an application which has been accorded a filing date pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section does not include the basic filing fee, the search fee, the examination fee, or an oath or declaration by the applicant pursuant to §§ 1.63, 1.162 or § 1.175, and applicant has not provided a correspondence address (§ 1.33(a)), applicant has two months from the filing date of the application within which to pay the basic filing fee, search fee, and examination fee, file an oath or declaration, and pay the surcharge required by § 1.16(f) to avoid abandonment.

(3) If the excess claims fees required by §§ 1.16(h) and (i) and multiple dependent claim fee required by § 1.16(j) are not paid on filing or on later presentation of the claims for which the excess claims or multiple dependent claim fees are due, the fees required by §§ 1.16(h), (i) and (j) must be paid or the claims canceled by amendment prior to the expiration of the time period set for reply by the Office in any notice of fee deficiency. If the application size fee required by § 1.16(s) (if any) is not paid on filing or on later presentation of the amendment necessitating a fee or additional fee under § 1.16(s), the fee required by § 1.16(s) must be paid prior to the expiration of the time period set for reply by the Office in any notice of fee deficiency in order to avoid abandonment.

(4) This paragraph applies to continuation or divisional applications under paragraphs (b) or (d) of this section and to continuation- in-part applications under paragraph (b) of this section. See § 1.63(d) concerning the submission of a copy of the oath or declaration from the prior application for a continuation or divisional application under paragraph (b) of this section.

(5) If applicant does not pay the basic filing fee during the pendency of the application, the Office may dispose of the application.

(g) Completion of application subsequent to filing—Provisional application.

(1) If a provisional application which has been accorded a filing date pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section does not include the cover sheet required by § 1.51(c)(1) or the basic filing fee (§ 1.16(d)), and applicant has provided a correspondence address (§ 1.33(a)), applicant will be notified and given a period of time within which to pay the basic filing fee, file a cover sheet (§ 1.51(c)(1)), and pay the surcharge required by § 1.16(g) to avoid abandonment.

(2) If a provisional application which has been accorded a filing date pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section does not include the cover sheet required by § 1.51(c)(1) or the basic filing fee (§ 1.16(d)), and applicant has not provided a correspondence address (§ 1.33(a)), applicant has two months from the filing date of the application within which to pay the basic filing fee, file a cover sheet (§ 1.51(c)(1)), and pay the surcharge required by § 1.16(g) to avoid abandonment.

(3) If the application size fee required by § 1.16(s) (if any) is not paid on filing, the fee required by § 1.16(s) must be paid prior to the expiration of the time period set for reply by the Office in any notice of fee deficiency in order to avoid abandonment.

(4) If applicant does not pay the basic filing fee during the pendency of the application, the Office may dispose of the application.

(h) Subsequent treatment of application - Nonprovisional (including continued prosecution) application. An application for a patent filed under paragraphs (b) or (d) of this section will not be placed on the files for examination until all its required parts, complying with the rules relating thereto, are received, except that certain minor informalities may be waived subject to subsequent correction whenever required.

(i) Subsequent treatment of application - Provisional application. A provisional application for a patent filed under paragraph (c) of this section will not be placed on the files for examination and will become abandoned no later than twelve months after its filing date pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 111(b)(1).

(j) Filing date of international application. The filing date of an international application designating the United States of America is treated as the filing date in the United States of America under PCT Article 11(3), except as provided in 35 U.S.C. 102(e).


37 CFR 1.53 relates to application numbers, filing dates, and completion of applications. An application number is assigned for identification purposes to any paper which purports to be an application for a patent, even if the application is incomplete or informal. The remaining sections of 37 CFR 1.53 treat nonprovisional applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) separately from provisional applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(b).

37 CFR 1.53(d) sets forth the filing date requirements for a continued prosecution application (CPA) which is a nonprovisional application which must be filed on or after December 1, 1997. Only a continuation or divisional application (but not a continuation-in-part) may be filed as a CPA. See MPEP § 201.06(d). Effective July 14, 2003, CPA practice under 37 CFR 1.53(d) does not apply to utility and plant applications. CPAs can only be filed in design applications.

601.01(a) Nonprovisional Applications Filed Under 35 U.S.C. 111(a)[edit | edit source]

The procedure for filing a nonprovisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) is set forth in 37 CFR 1.53(b) and 37 CFR 1.53(d). 37 CFR 1.53(b) may be used to file any original, reissue, or substitute nonprovisional application and any continuing application, i.e., continuation, divisional, or continuation-in-part. Under 37 CFR 1.53(b), a filing date is assigned to a nonprovisional application as of the date a specification containing a description and claim and any necessary drawings are filed in the USPTO. Failure to meet any of the requirements in 37 CFR 1.53(b) will result in the application being denied a filing date. The filing date to be accorded such an application is the date on which all of the requirements of 37 CFR 1.53(b) are met.

37 CFR 1.53(d) may be used to file either a continuation or a divisional application (but not a continuation-in-part) of a design application. The prior nonprovisional application must be a design application that is complete as defined by 37 CFR 1.51(b). Any application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(d) must disclose and claim only subject matter disclosed in the prior nonprovisional application and must name as inventors the same or less than all of the inventors named in the prior nonprovisional application. Under 37 CFR 1.53(d), the filing date assigned is the date on which a request, on a separate paper, for an application under 37 CFR 1.53(d) is filed. An application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(d) must be filed before the earliest of:

(A)payment of the issue fee on the prior application, unless a petition under 37 CFR 1.313(c) is granted in the prior application;
(B)abandonment of the prior application; or
(C)termination of proceedings on the prior application.

The filing fee , search fee and examination fee for an application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b) or 37 CFR 1.53(d) and the oath or declaration for an application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b) can be submitted after the filing date. However, no amendment may introduce new matter into the disclosure of an application after its filing date.

37 CFR 1.53(e) provides for notifying applicant of any application which is incomplete under 37 CFR 1.53(b) or 37 CFR 1.53(d) and giving the applicant a time period to correct any omission. If the omission is not corrected within the time period given, the application will be returned or otherwise disposed of and a handling fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.21(n) will be retained from any refund of a filing fee.

37 CFR 1.53(f) provides that, where a filing date has been assigned to an application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b) or 37 CFR 1.53(d), the applicant will be notified if a correspondence address has been provided and be given a period of time in which to file the missing fees, oath or declaration, and to pay any surcharge (37 CFR 1.16(f)) due in order to prevent abandonment of the application. The time period usually set is 2 months from the mailing date of notification by the USPTO. This time period may be extended under 37 CFR 1.136(a).

For applications filed on or after December 8, 2004 but prior to July 1, 2005, which have been accorded a filing date under 37 CFR 1.53(b) or (d), if the search and/or examination fees are paid on a date later than the filing date of the application, the surcharge under 37 CFR 1.16(f) is not required. For applications filed on or after July 1, 2005, which have been accorded a filing date under 37 CFR 1.53(b) or (d), if any of the basic filing fee, the search fee, or the examination fee are paid on a date later than the filing date of the application, the surcharge under 37 CFR 1.16(f) is required.

If the required basic filing fee is not timely paid, or the processing and retention fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.21(l) is not paid during the pendency of the application, the application will be disposed of. Effective July 1, 2005, the processing and retention fee (formerly 37 CFR 1.21(l)) practice has been eliminated. The basic filing fee (rather than just the processing and retention fee set forth in former 37 CFR 1.21(l)) must be paid within the pendency of a nonprovisional application in order to permit benefit of the application to be claimed under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c) in a subsequent nonprovisional or international application. The notification under 37 CFR 1.53(f) may be made simultaneously with any notification pursuant to 37 CFR 1.53(e). If no correspondence address is included in the application, applicant has 2 months from the filing date to file the fee(s), oath or declaration and to pay the required surcharge as set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(f) in order to prevent abandonment of the application.

Copies of an application will be provided by the USPTO upon request and payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b) unless the application has been disposed of (see 37 CFR 1.53(e) and (f)). Prior to July 1, 2005, the basic filing fee or the processing and retention fee must be paid in a nonprovisional application, if any claim for benefits under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c) based on that application is made in a subsequently filed copending nonprovisional application. Effective July 1, 2005, the basic filing fee must be paid within the pendency of a nonprovisional application in order to permit benefit of the application to be claimed under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121 or 365(c) in a subsequent nonprovisional or international application. See 37 CFR 1.78(a)(1).

37 CFR 1.53(h) indicates that a patent application will not be forwarded for examination on the merits until all required parts have been received. 37 CFR 1.53(j) indicates that international applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty which designate the United States of America are considered to have a United States filing date under PCT Article 11(3), except as provided in 35 U.S.C. 102(e), on the date the requirements of PCT Article 11(1)(i) to (iii) are met.

In accordance with the provisions of 35 U.S.C. 111(a) and 37 CFR 1.53(b), a filing date is granted to a nonprovisional application for patent, which includes at least a specification containing a description pursuant to 37 CFR 1.71 and at least one claim pursuant to 37 CFR 1.75, and any drawing referred to in the specification or required by 37 CFR 1.81(a), which is filed in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. If an application which has been accorded a filing date does not include the appropriate filing fee, search fee, examination fee, or oath or declaration, applicant will be so notified and given a period of time within which to file the missing parts to complete the application and to pay the surcharge as set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(f) in order to prevent abandonment of the application.

Applicants should submit a copy of the notice(s) to file missing parts and the notice(s) of incomplete applications with the reply submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Applicants should also include the application number on all correspondence to the Office. These measures will aid the Office in matching papers to applications, thereby expediting the processing of applications.

In order for the Office to so notify the applicant, a correspondence address must also be provided in the application. The correspondence address may be different from the mailing (post office) address of the applicant. For example, the address of applicant’s registered attorney or agent may be used as the correspondence address. If applicant fails to provide the Office with a correspondence address, the Office will be unable to provide applicant with notification to complete the application and to pay the surcharge as set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(f). In such a case, applicant will be considered to have constructive notice as of the filing date that the application must be completed within 2 months from the filing date before abandonment occurs per 37 CFR 1.53(f). This time period may be extended pursuant to 37 CFR 1.136.

The oath or declaration filed in reply to such a notice under 37 CFR 1.53(f) must be executed by the inventors and must identify the specification and any amendment filed with the specification which includes subject matter not otherwise included in the specification (including claims) or drawings of the application as filed. See MPEP § 602. If an amendment is filed with the oath or declaration filed after the filing date of the application, it may be identified in the oath or declaration but may not include new matter. No new matter may be included after the filing date of the application. See MPEP §608.04(b). If the oath or declaration improperly refers to an amendment filed after the filing date of the application which contains new matter, a supplemental oath or declaration will be required pursuant to 37 CFR 1.67(b), deleting the reference to the amendment containing new matter. If an amendment is filed on the same day that the application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b) is filed it is a part of the original application papers and the question of new matter is not considered. Similarly, if the application papers are altered prior to execution of the oath or declaration and the filing of the application, new matter is not a consideration since the alteration is considered as part of the original disclosure.

601.01(b) Provisional Applications FiledUnder 35 U.S.C. 111 (b)[edit | edit source]

A provisional application will be given a filing date in accordance with 37 CFR 1.53(c) as of the date the written description and any necessary drawings are filed in the Office. The filing date requirements for a provisional application set forth in 37 CFR 1.53(c) parallel the requirements for a nonprovisional application set forth in 37 CFR 1.53(b), except that no claim is required. Amendments, other than those required to make the provisional application comply with applicable regulations, are not permitted after the filing date of the provisional application.

When the specification or drawing are omitted, 37 CFR 1.53(e) requires that the applicant be notified and given a time period in which to submit the missing element to complete the filing. See MPEP § 601.01(f) and § 601.01(g) for treatment of applications filed without drawings, or filed without all figures of drawings, respectively.

37 CFR 1.53(c)(1) requires all provisional applications be filed with a cover sheet, which may be an application data sheet (37 CFR 1.76) or a cover letter identifying the application as a provisional application. The Office will treat an application as having been filed under paragraph (b), unless the application is clearly identified as a provisional application. A provisional application, which is identified as such, but which does not have a complete cover sheet as required by 37 CFR 1.51(c)(1) will be treated as a provisional application. However, the complete cover sheet and a surcharge will be required to be submitted at a later date in conformance with 37 CFR 1.53(g).

When the provisional application does not have a complete cover sheet or the appropriate fee, the applicant will be notified pursuant to 37 CFR 1.53(g) and given a time period in which to provide the necessary fee or cover sheet and to pay the surcharge as set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(g) in order to avoid abandonment of the application. The time period will usually be set at 2 months from the date of notification. This time period may be extended under 37 CFR 1.136(a). If the filing fee is not timely paid, the Office may dispose of the provisional application. If no correspondence address has been provided, applicant has 2 months from the filing date to file the basic filing fee, cover sheet, and to pay the surcharge as set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(g) in order to avoid abandonment of the provisional application. Copies of a provisional application will be provided by the USPTO upon request and payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b) unless the provisional application has been disposed of (see 37 CFR 1.53(e) and (g)).

The basic filing fee must be paid in a provisional application on filing or within the time period set forth in 37 CFR 1.53(g), and the provisional application must be entitled to a filing date under 37 CFR 1.53(c), if any claim for benefits under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) based on that application is made in a subsequently filed nonprovisional application. 37 CFR 1.78(a)(4).

37 CFR 1.53(e)(2) requires that any request for review of a refusal to accord an application a filing date be made by way of a petition accompanied by the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f) (see MPEP § 506.02).

601.01(c) Conversion to or From a Provisional Application[edit | edit source]

I.CONVERSION FROM A NONPROVISIONAL APPLICATION TO A PROVISIONAL APPLICATION[edit | edit source]
37 CFR 1.53. Application number, filing date, and completion of application.
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(c)(2) An application for patent filed under paragraph (b) of this section may be converted to a provisional application and be accorded the original filing date of the application filed under paragraph (b) of this section. The grant of such a request for conversion will not entitle applicant to a refund of the fees that were properly paid in the application filed under paragraph (b) of this section. Such a request for conversion must be accompanied by the processing fee set forth in § 1.17(q) and be filed prior to the earliest of:

(i) Abandonment of the application filed under paragraph (b) of this section;

(ii) Payment of the issue fee on the application filed under paragraph (b) of this section;

(iii) Expiration of twelve months after the filing date of the application filed under paragraph (b) of this section; or

(iv) The filing of a request for a statutory invention registration under § 1.293 in the application filed under paragraph (b) of this section.


An application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b) may be converted to a provisional application in accordance with the procedure described in 37 CFR 1.53(c)(2). The procedure requires the filing of a request for conversion and the processing fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(q). Filing of the request in the nonprovisional application is required prior to the abandonment of the 37 CFR 1.53(b) application, the payment of the issue fee, the expiration of 12 months after the filing date of the 37 CFR 1.53(b) application, or the filing of a request for a statutory invention registration under 37 CFR 1.293, whichever event is earlier. The grant of any such request does not entitle applicant to a refund of the fees properly paid in the application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b).

Converting a nonprovisional application to a provisional application will not avoid the publication of the nonprovisional application unless the request to convert is recognized in sufficient time to permit the appropriate officials to remove the nonprovisional application from the publication process. The Office cannot ensure that it can remove an application from publication or avoid publication of application information any time after the publication process for the application has been initiated. For information on procedures for removing an application from publication, see MPEP § 1120.

A provisional application is not entitled to claim priority to or benefit of a prior-filed application under 35 U.S.C. 119, 120, 121, or 365. See MPEP § 201.04(b). After the nonprovisonal application has been converted to a provisional application, any priority or benefit claims submitted in the nonprovisional application will be disregarded.

Applicants who wish to file a request for conversion under 37 CFR 1.53(c)(2) by mail should designate “Mail Stop Conversion” as part of the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office address.

II. CONVERSION FROM A PROVISIONAL APPLICATION TO A NONPROVISIONAL APPLICATION[edit | edit source]
37 CFR 1.53. Application number, filing date, and completion of application.
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(3) A provisional application filed under paragraph (c) of this section may be converted to a nonprovisional application filed under paragraph (b) of this section and accorded the original filing date of the provisional application. The conversion of a provisional application to a nonprovisional application will not result in either the refund of any fee properly paid in the provisional application or the application of any such fee to the filing fee, or any other fee, for the nonprovisional application. Conversion of a provisional application to a nonprovisional application under this paragraph will result in the term of any patent to issue from the application being measured from at least the filing date of the provisional application for which conversion is requested. Thus, applicants should consider avoiding this adverse patent term impact by filing a nonprovisional application claiming the benefit of the provisional application under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) (rather than converting the provisional application into a nonprovisional application pursuant to this paragraph). A request to convert a provisional application to a nonprovisional application must be accompanied by the fee set forth in § 1.17(i) and an amendment including at least one claim as prescribed by the second paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112, unless the provisional application under paragraph (c) of this section otherwise contains at least one claim as prescribed by the second paragraph of 35 U.S.C.112. The nonprovisional application resulting from conversion of a provisional application must also include the filing fee, search fee, and examination fee for a nonprovisional application, an oath or declaration by the applicant pursuant to §§ 1.63, 1.162, or 1.175, and the surcharge required by § 1.16(f) if either the basic filing fee for a nonprovisional application or the oath or declaration was not present on the filing date accorded the resulting nonprovisional application (i.e., the filing date of the original provisional application). A request to convert a provisional application to a nonprovisional application must also be filed prior to the earliest of:

(i) Abandonment of the provisional application filed under paragraph (c) of this section; or

(ii) Expiration of twelve months after the filing date of the provisional application filed under paragraph (c) of this section.


An application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(c) may be converted to a nonprovisional application in accordance with the procedure described in 37 CFR 1.53(c)(3). Applicants should carefully consider the patent term consequences of requesting conversion rather than simply filing a nonprovisional application claiming the benefit of the filing date of the provisional application under 35 U.S.C. 119(e). Claiming the benefit of the provisional application under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) is less expensive and will result in a longer patent term. The procedure requires the filing of a request for the conversion of the provisional application to a nonprovisional application and the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(i) as well as the basic filing fee , search fee, and examination fee for the nonprovisional application. In addition, if the provisional application was not filed with an executed oath or declaration and the appropriate fees for a nonprovisional application, the surcharge set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(f) is required. See MPEP § 601.01(a). Filing of the request for conversion in the provisional application is required prior to the abandonment of the provisional application or the expiration of 12 months after the filing date of the 37 CFR 1.53(c) application, whichever event is earlier. The grant of any such request does not entitle applicant to a refund of the fees properly paid in the application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(c).

Applicants who wish to file a request for conversion under 37 CFR 1.53(c)(3) by mail should designate “Mail Stop Conversion” as part of the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office address.

601.01(d) Application Filed Without AllPages of Specification[edit | edit source]

The Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) reviews application papers to determine whether all of the pages of specification are present in the application. If the application is filed without all of the page(s) of the specification, but containing something that can be construed as a written description, at least one drawing figure, if necessary under 35 U.S.C. 113(first sentence), and, in a nonprovisional application, at least one claim, OIPE will mail a “Notice of Omitted Items” indicating that the application papers so deposited have been accorded a filing date, but are lacking some page(s) of the specification.

If the application does not contain anything that can be construed as a written description, OIPE will mail a Notice of Incomplete Application indicating that the application lacks the specification required by 35 U.S.C. 112 and no filing date is granted.

I. APPLICATION ENTITLED TO FILING DATE[edit | edit source]

The mailing of a “Notice of Omitted Item(s)” will permit the applicant to:

(A) promptly establish prior receipt in the USPTO of the page(s) at issue. An applicant asserting that the page(s) was in fact received by the USPTO with the application papers must, within 2 months from the date of the “Notice of Omitted Item(s),” file a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f), along with evidence of such deposit (37 CFR 1.181(f)). The petition fee will be refunded if it is determined that the page(s) was in fact received by the USPTO with the application papers deposited on filing. The 2-month period is not extendable under 37 CFR 1.136;

(B) promptly submit the omitted page(s) in a nonprovisional application and accept the date of such submission as the application filing date. An applicant desiring to submit the omitted page(s) in a nonprovisional application and accept the date of such submission as the application filing date must, within 2 months from the date of the “Notice of Omitted Item(s),” file any omitted page(s) with an oath or declaration in compliance with 37 CFR 1.63 and 37 CFR 1.64 referring to such page(s) and a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f), requesting the later filing date (37 CFR 1.181(f)). The 2-month period is not extendable under 37 CFR 1.136; or

(C) accept the application as deposited in the USPTO. Applicant may accept the application as deposited in the USPTO by either:

(1) not filing a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) or 37 CFR 1.182 (and the required petition fee) as discussed above within 2 months of the date of the “Notice of Omitted Item(s)”. The failure to file a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) or 37 CFR 1.182 will be treated as constructive acceptance by the applicant of the application as deposited in the USPTO. The application will maintain the filing date as of the date of deposit of the application papers in the USPTO, and the original application papers (i.e., the original disclosure of the invention) will include only those application papers present in the USPTO on the date of deposit. Amendment of the specification is required in a nonprovisional application to renumber the pages consecutively and cancel any incomplete sentences caused by the absence of the omitted page(s). Such amendment should be by way of preliminary amendment submitted prior to the first Office action to avoid delays in the prosecution of the application, or

(2) filing an amendment under 37 CFR 1.57(a). If an application was filed on or after September 21, 2004, and contains a claim under 37 CFR 1.55for priority of a prior-filed foreign application, or a claim under 37 CFR 1.78 for the benefit of a prior- filed provisional, nonprovisional, or international application that was present on the filing date of the application, and the omitted portion of the specification was inadvertently omitted from the application and is completely contained in the prior-filed application, applicant may submit an amendment to include the inadvertently omitted portion of the specification pursuant to 37 CFR 1.57(a). Such amendment should be by way of a preliminary amendment and the preliminary amendment must be submitted within 2 months from the date of the “Notice of Omitted Item(s).” The amendment should be identified as an amendment pursuant to 37 CFR 1.57(a) and must comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.57(a) and 37 CFR 1.121. See MPEP § 201.17. The application will maintain the filing date as of the date of deposit of the original application papers in the USPTO. The original application papers (i.e., the original disclosure of the invention) will include only those application papers present in the USPTO on the original date of deposit. The 2-month period is not extendable under 37 CFR 1.136.

Any petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) or 37 CFR 1.182 not filed within the 2-month period set in the “Notice of Omitted Item(s)” may be dismissed as untimely. 37 CFR 1.181(f). Under the adopted procedure, the USPTO may strictly adhere to the 2-month period set forth in 37 CFR 1.181(f), and dismiss as untimely any petition not filed within the 2-month period. This strict adherence to the 2-month period set forth in 37 CFR 1.181(f) is justified as such applications will now be forwarded for examination at the end of the 2-month period. It is further justified in instances in which applicant seeks to submit the omitted page(s) in a nonprovisional application and request the date of such submission as the application filing date as: (A) according the application a filing date later than the date of deposit may affect the date of expiration of any patent issuing on the application due to the changes to 35 U.S.C. 154 contained in Public Law 103-465, § 532, 108 Stat. 4809 (1994); and (B) the filing of a continuation-in-part application is a sufficiently equivalent mechanism for adding additional subject matter to avoid the loss of patent rights.

The submission of omitted page(s) in a nonprovisional application and acceptance of the date of such submission as the application filing date is tantamount to simply filing a new application. Thus, applicants should consider filing a new application as an alternative to submitting a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 (with the petition fee under 37 CFR 1.17(f)) with any omitted page(s), which is a cost effective alternative in instances in which a nonprovisional application is deposited without filing fees. Likewise, in view of the relatively low filing fee for provisional applications, and the USPTO’s desire to minimize the processing of provisional applications, the USPTO will not grant petitions under 37 CFR 1.182 to accept omitted page(s) and accord an application filing date as of the date of such submission in provisional applications. The applicant should simply file a new completed provisional application.

Applications in which a “Notice of Omitted Item(s)” has been mailed will be retained in OIPE for a period of 2 months from the mailing date of the notice. Nonprovisional applications that are complete under 37 CFR 1.51(b) will then be forwarded to the appropriate Technology Center for examination of the application. Provisional applications that are complete under 37 CFR 1.51(c) will then be forwarded to the Files Repository. The current practice for treating applications that are not complete under 37 CFR 1.51(b) and (c) will remain unchanged (37 CFR 1.53(f) and (g)).

II. APPLICATION NOT ENTITLED TO FILING DATE[edit | edit source]

If the application does not contain anything that can be construed as a written description, OIPE will mail a Notice of Incomplete Application indicating that the application lacks the specification required by 35 U.S.C. 112. Applicant may:

(A) file a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f), asserting that (1) the missing specification was submitted, or (2) the application papers as deposited contain an adequate written description under 35 U.S.C. 112. The petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) must be accompanied by sufficient evidence (37 CFR 1.181(b)) to establish applicant’s entitlement to the requested filing date (e.g., a date-stamped postcard receipt (MPEP § 503) to establish prior receipt in the USPTO of the missing specification);


(B) submit the omitted specification, including at least one claim in a nonprovisional application, accompanied by an oath or declaration in compliance with 37 CFR 1.63 and 37 CFR 1.64 referring to the specification being submitted and accept the date of such submission as the application filing date; or

(C) submit an amendment under 37 CFR 1.57(a). If an application was filed on or after September 21, 2004, and contains a claim under 37 CFR 1.55 for priority of a prior-filed foreign application, or a claim under 37 CFR 1.78 for the benefit of a prior-filed provisional, nonprovisional, or international application that was present on the filing date of the application, and the specification was inadvertently omitted from the application and is completely contained in the prior-filed application, applicant may submit an amendment to include the inadvertently omitted specification pursuant to 37 CFR 1.57(a). The amendment must be accompanied by a petition under 37 CFR 1.57(a)(3) along with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f). See MPEP § 201.17. The amendment should be identified as an amendment pursuant to 37 CFR 1.57(a) and must comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.57(a) and 37 CFR 1.121. The 2-month period is not extendable under 37 CFR 1.136.

Applications in which a “Notice of Incomplete Application” has been mailed will be retained in OIPE to await action by the applicant since further action by the applicant is necessary for the application to be accorded a filing date. Unless applicant completes the application, or files a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f), or files a petition under 37 CFR 1.57(a)(3) with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f), within the period set in the “Notice of Incomplete Application,” the application will be processed as an incomplete application under 37 CFR 1.53(e).

III. APPLICATION LOCATED IN A TECHNOLOGY CENTER[edit | edit source]

If it is discovered that an application, located in a Technology Center (TC), was filed without all of the page(s) of the specification, and a Notice of Omitted Items has not been mailed by OIPE, the examiner should review the application to determine whether the application is entitled to a filing date. An application is entitled to a filing date if the application contains something that can be construed as a written description, at least one drawing figure (if necessary under 35 U.S.C. 113, first sentence), and at least one claim.

A. Application Entitled to a Filing Date

If the application is entitled to a filing date, the examiner should notify applicant of the omission in the next Office action and require applicant to do one of the following:

(A) accept the application, as filed, without all of the page(s) of the specification;

(B) file any omitted page(s) with an oath or declaration in compliance with 37 CFR 1.63 and 37 CFR 1.64 referring to the omitted page(s) and a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f), requesting the date of submission of the omitted page(s) as the application filing date; or

(C) file a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f) alleging that the page(s) indicated as omitted was in fact deposited with the USPTO with the application papers, including any and all evidence supporting the allegation. See MPEP § 503. The petition fee will be refunded if it is determined that the page(s) was in fact received by the USPTO with the application papers deposited on filing.

If applicant is willing to accept the application, as filed, without all of the page(s) of the application (item A above), an amendment of the specification is required to renumber the pages of the application consecutively and to cancel any incomplete sentences caused by the absence of the omitted page(s). The amendment should be submitted in response to the Office action.

If an application was filed on or after September 21, 2004, and contains a claim under 37 CFR 1.55 for priority of a prior-filed foreign application, or a claim under 37 CFR 1.78 for the benefit of a prior-filed provisional, nonprovisional, or international application that was present on the filing date of the application, and the omitted portion of the specification was inadvertently omitted from the application and is completely contained in the prior-filed application, applicant may submit an amendment to include the inadvertently omitted portion of the specification pursuant to 37 CFR 1.57(a). The amendment should be submitted in response to the Office action and must comply with 37 CFR 1.57(a) and 37 CFR 1.121. See MPEP § 201.17.

Any petition filed in accordance with item B or C above should be filed with the TC. The TC will match the petition with the application file and forward the application file with the petition to the Office of Petitions, along with a brief explanation as to the page(s) of the specification that has been omitted on filing, for consideration of the petition in due course. For Image File Wrapper (IFW) processing, see IFW Manual section 5.3.

B. Application NOT Entitled to a Filing Date

If upon review of the application, the examiner determines that the application is NOT entitled to a filing date, the examiner should forward the application to OIPE for mailing of a “Notice of Incomplete Application.”

601.01(e) Nonprovisional Application Filed Without At Least One Claim[edit | edit source]

35 U.S.C. 111(a)(2) requires that an application for patent include, inter alia, “a specification as prescribed by section 112 of this title,” and 35 U.S.C. 111(a)(4) provides that the “filing date of an application shall be the date on which the specification and any required drawing are received in the Patent and Trademark Office.” 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph, provides, in part, that “[t]he specification shall contain a written description of the invention,” and 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph, provides that “[t]he specification shall conclude with one or more claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which the applicant regards as his invention.” Also, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit stated in Litton Systems, Inc. v. Whirlpool Corp.:

Both statute, 35 U.S.C. 111 [(a)], and federal regulations, 37 CFR 1.51 [(b)], make clear the requirement that an application for a patent must include. . . a specification and claims. . . . The omission of any one of these component parts makes a patent application incomplete and thus not entitled to a filing date.

728 F.2d 1423, 1437, 221 USPQ 97, 105 (Fed. Cir. 1984)(citing Gearon v. United States, 121 F. Supp 652, 654, 101 USPQ 460, 461 (Ct. Cl. 1954), cert. denied, 348 U.S. 942, 104 USPQ 409 (1955))(emphasis in the original).

Therefore, in an application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), a claim is a statutory requirement for according a filing date to the application. 35 U.S.C. 162 and 35 U.S.C. 171 make 35 U.S.C. 112 applicable to plant and design applications, and 35 U.S.C. 162 specifically requires the specification in a plant patent application to contain a claim. 35 U.S.C. 111(b)(2), however, provides that “[a] claim, as required by the second through fifth paragraphs of section 112, shall not be required in a provisional application.” Thus, with the exception of provisional applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(b), any application filed without at least one claim is incomplete and not entitled to a filing date.

If a nonprovisional application does not contain at least one claim, a “Notice of Incomplete Application” will be mailed to the applicant(s) indicating that no filing date has been granted and setting a period for submitting a claim. The filing date will be the date of receipt of at least one claim. See In re Mattson, 208 USPQ 168 (Comm’r Pat. 1980). An oath or declaration in compliance with 37 CFR 1.63 and 37 CFR 1.64 referring to the claim being submitted is also required.

If a nonprovisional application is accompanied by a preliminary amendment which cancels all claims without presenting any new or substitute claims, the Office will disapprove such an amendment. See 37 CFR 1.115(b)(1) and Exxon Corp. v. Phillips Petroleum Co., 265 F.3d 1249, 60 USPQ2d 1368 (Fed. Cir. 2001). Thus, the application will not be denied a filing date merely because such a preliminary amendment was submitted on filing. For fee calculation purposes, the Office will treat such an application as containing only a single claim.

As 37 CFR 1.53(c)(2) permits the conversion of an application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) to an application under 35 U.S.C. 111(b), an applicant in an application, other than for a design patent, filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) on or after June 8, 1995, without at least one claim has the alternative of filing a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(c)(2) to convert such application into an application under 35 U.S.C. 111(b), which does not require a claim to be entitled to its date of deposit as a filing date. Such a petition, however, must be filed prior to the expiration of 12 months after the date of deposit of the application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), and comply with the other requirements of 37 CFR 1.53(c)(2). See MPEP § 601.01(c).

The treatment of an application subsequent to the mailing of a “Notice of Incomplete Application” is discussed in MPEP § 601.01(d).

601.01(f) Applications Filed Without Drawings[edit | edit source]

35 U.S.C. 111(a)(2)(B) and 35 U.S.C. 111(b)(1)(B) each provide, in part, that an “application shall include . . . a drawing as prescribed by section 113 of this title” and 35 U.S.C. 111(a)(4) and 35 U.S.C. 111(b)(4) each provide, in part, that the “filing date. . . shall be the date on which . . . any required drawing are received in the Patent and Trademark Office.” 35 U.S.C. 113 (first sentence) in turn provides that an “applicant shall furnish a drawing where necessary for the understanding of the subject matter sought to be patented.”

Applications filed without drawings are initially inspected to determine whether a drawing is referred to in the specification, and if not, whether a drawing is necessary for the understanding of the invention. 35 U.S.C. 113 (first sentence).

It has been USPTO practice to treat an application that contains at least one process or method claim as an application for which a drawing is not necessary for an understanding of the invention under 35 U.S.C. 113 (first sentence). The same practice has been followed in composition applications. Other situations in which drawings are usually not considered necessary for the understanding of the invention under 35 U.S.C. 113 (first sentence) are:

(A) Coated articles or products: where the invention resides solely in coating or impregnating a conventional sheet (e.g., paper or cloth, or an article of known and conventional character with a particular composition), unless significant details of structure or arrangement are involved in the article claims;

(B) Articles made from a particular material or composition: where the invention consists in making an article of a particular material or composition, unless significant details of structure or arrangement are involved in the article claims;

(C) Laminated structures: where the claimed invention involves only laminations of sheets (and coatings) of specified material unless significant details of structure or arrangement (other than the mere order of the layers) are involved in the article claims; or

(D) Articles, apparatus, or systems where sole distinguishing feature is presence of a particular material: where the invention resides solely in the use of a particular material in an otherwise old article, apparatus or system recited broadly in the claims, for example:

(1) A hydraulic system distinguished solely by the use therein of a particular hydraulic fluid;

(2) Packaged sutures wherein the structure and arrangement of the package are conventional and the only distinguishing feature is the use of a particular material.

A nonprovisional application having at least one claim, or a provisional application having at least some disclosure, directed to the subject matter discussed above for which a drawing is usually not considered essential for a filing date, not describing drawing figures in the specification, and filed without drawings will simply be processed , so long as the application contains something that can be construed as a written description. A nonprovisional application having at least one claim, or a provisional application having at least some disclosure, directed to the subject matter discussed above for which a drawing is usually not considered essential for a filing date, describing drawing figure(s) in the specification, but filed without drawings will be treated as an application filed without all of the drawing figures referred to in the specification as discussed in MPEP § 601.01(g), so long as the application contains something that can be construed as a written description. In a situation in which the appropriate Technology Center (TC) determines that drawings are necessary under 35 U.S.C. 113 (first sentence) the filing date issue will be reconsidered by the USPTO. The application will be returned to the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) for mailing of a “Notice of Incomplete Application.”

If a nonprovisional application does not have at least one claim directed to the subject matter discussed above for which a drawing is usually not considered essential for a filing date, or a provisional application does not have at least some disclosure directed to the subject matter discussed above for which a drawing is usually not considered essential for a filing date, and is filed without drawings, OIPE will mail a “Notice of Incomplete Application” indicating that the application lacks drawings and that 35 U.S.C. 113 (first sentence) requires a drawing where necessary for the understanding of the subject matter sought to be patented.

Applicant may file a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f), asserting that (A) the drawing(s) at issue was submitted, or (B) the drawing(s) is not necessary under 35 U.S.C. 113 (first sentence) for a filing date. The petition must be accompanied by sufficient evidence to establish applicant’s entitlement to the requested filing date (e.g., a date-stamped postcard receipt (MPEP § 503) to establish prior receipt in the USPTO of the drawing(s) at issue). Alternatively, applicant may submit drawing(s) accompanied by an oath or declaration in compliance with 37 CFR 1.63and 1.64 referring to the drawing(s) being submitted and accept the date of such submission as the application filing date.

As an alternative to a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e), if the drawing(s) was inadvertently omitted from an application filed on or after September 21, 2004, and the application contains a claim under 37 CFR 1.55 for priority of a prior-filed foreign application, or a claim under 37 CFR 1.78 for the benefit of a prior-filed provisional, nonprovisional, or international application, that was present on the filing date of the application, and the inadvertently omitted drawing(s) is completely contained in the prior-filed application, the applicant may submit the omitted drawing(s) by way of an amendment in compliance with 37 CFR 1.57(a). The amendment must be by way of a petition under 37 CFR 1.57(a)(3) accompanied by the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f). See MPEP § 201.17.

In design applications, OIPE will mail a “Notice of Incomplete Application” indicating that the application lacks the drawings required under 35 U.S.C. 113(first sentence). The applicant may: (A) promptly file a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f), asserting that the missing drawing(s) was submitted; or (B) promptly submit drawing(s) accompanied by an oath or declaration in compliance with 37 CFR 1.63 and 37 CFR 1.64 and accept the date of such submission as the application filing date. Applicant may also be able to file an amendment by way of a petition under 37 CFR 1.57(a)(3) as discussed above. 37 CFR 1.153(a) provides that the claim in a design application “shall be in formal terms to the ornamental design for the article (specifying name) as shown, or as shown and described.” As such, petitions under 37 CFR 1.53(e) asserting that drawings are unnecessary under 35 U.S.C. 113 (first sentence) for a filing date in a design application will not be found persuasive.

The treatment of an application subsequent to the mailing of a “Notice of Incomplete Application” is discussed in MPEP § 601.01(d).

601.01(g)Applications Filed Without All Figures of Drawings[edit | edit source]

The Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) reviews application papers to determine whether all of the figures of the drawings that are mentioned in the specification are present in the application. If the application is filed without all of the drawing figure(s) referred to in the specification, and the application contains something that can be construed as a written description, at least one drawing, if necessary under 35 U.S.C. 113 (first sentence), and, in a nonprovisional application, at least one claim, OIPE will mail a “Notice of Omitted Item(s)” indicating that the application papers so deposited have been accorded a filing date, but are lacking some of the figures of drawings described in the specification.

The mailing of a “Notice of Omitted Item(s)” will permit the applicant to:

(A) promptly establish prior receipt in the USPTO of the drawing(s) at issue. An applicant asserting that the drawing(s) was in fact received by the USPTO with the application papers must, within 2 months from the date of the “Notice of Omitted Item(s),” file a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f), along with evidence of such deposit (37 CFR 1.181(f)). The petition fee will be refunded if it is determined that the drawing(s) was in fact received by the USPTO with the application papers deposited on filing. The 2-month period is notextendable under 37 CFR 1.136;

(B) promptly submit the omitted drawing(s) in a nonprovisional application and accept the date of such submission as the application filing date. An applicant desiring to submit the omitted drawing(s) in a nonprovisional application and accept the date of such submission as the application filing date must, within 2 months from the date of the “Notice of Omitted Item(s),” file any omitted drawing(s) with an oath or declaration in compliance with 37 CFR 1.63 and 37 CFR 1.64 referring to such drawing(s) and a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f), requesting the later filing date (37 CFR 1.181(f)). The 2-month period is not extendable under 37 CFR 1.136; or

(C) accept the application as deposited in the USPTO. Applicant may accept the application as deposited in the USPTO by either:

(1) not filing a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) or 37 CFR 1.182 (and the required petition fee) as discussed above within 2 months of the date of the “Notice of Omitted Item(s).” The failure to file a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) or 37 CFR 1.182 will be treated as constructive acceptance by the applicant of the application as deposited in the USPTO. The application will maintain the filing date as of the date of deposit of the original application papers in the USPTO. The original application papers (i.e., the original disclosure of the invention) will include only those application papers present in the USPTO on the original date of deposit. Amendment of the specification is required in a nonprovisional application to cancel all references to the omitted drawing, both in the brief and detailed descriptions of the drawings and including any reference numerals shown only in the omitted drawings. In addition, an amendment with replacement sheets of drawings in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) is required in a nonprovisional application to renumber the drawing figures consecutively, if necessary, and amendment of the specification is required to correct the references to the drawing figures to correspond with any relabeled drawing figures, both in the brief and detailed descriptions of the drawings. Such amendment should be by way of preliminary amendment submitted prior to the first Office action to avoid delays in the prosecution of the application, or

(2) filing an amendment under 37 CFR 1.57(a). If an application was filed on or after September 21, 2004, and contains a claim under 37 CFR 1.55for priority of a prior-filed foreign application, or a claim under 37 CFR 1.78 for the benefit of a prior- filed provisional, nonprovisional, or international application that was present on the filing date of the application, and the omitted portion of the drawings was inadvertently omitted from the application and is completely contained in the prior-filed application, applicant may submit an amendment to include the inadvertently omitted portion of the drawings pursuant to 37 CFR 1.57(a). Such amendment should be by way of a preliminary amendment and the preliminary amendment must be submitted within 2 months from the date of the “Notice of Omitted Item(s).” The amendment should be identified as an amendment pursuant to 37 CFR 1.57(a) and must comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.57(a) and 37 CFR 1.121.

See MPEP § 201.17. The application will maintain the filing date as of the date of deposit of the original application papers in the USPTO. The original application papers (i.e., the original disclosure of the invention) will include only those application papers present in the USPTO on the original date of deposit. The 2-month period is not extendable under 37 CFR 1.136.

Any petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) or 37 CFR 1.182 not filed within the 2-month period set in the “Notice of Omitted Item(s)” may be dismissed as untimely. 37 CFR 1.181(f). Under the adopted procedure, the USPTO may strictly adhere to the 2-month period set forth in 37 CFR 1.181(f), and dismiss as untimely any petition not filed within the 2-month period. This strict adherence to the 2-month period set forth in 37 CFR 1.181(f) is justified as such applications will now be forwarded for examination at the end of the 2-month period. It is further justified in instances in which applicant seeks to submit the omitted drawing(s) in a nonprovisional application and request the date of such submission as the application filing date as: (A) according the application a filing date later than the date of deposit may affect the date of expiration of any patent issuing on the application due to the changes to 35 U.S.C. 154 contained in Public Law 103-465, § 532, 108 Stat. 4809 (1994); and (B) the filing of a continuation-in-part application is a sufficiently equivalent mechanism for adding additional subject matter to avoid the loss of patent rights.

The submission of omitted drawing(s) in a nonprovisional application and acceptance of the date of such submission as the application filing date is tantamount to simply filing a new application. Thus, applicants should consider filing a new application as an alternative to submitting a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 (with the petition fee under 37 CFR 1.17(f)) with any omitted drawing(s), which is a cost effective alternative in instances in which a nonprovisional application is deposited without filing fees. Likewise, in view of the relatively low filing fee for provisional applications, and the USPTO’s desire to minimize the processing of provisional applications, the USPTO will not grant petitions under 37 CFR 1.182 to accept omitted drawing(s) and accord an application filing date as of the date of such submission in provisional applications. The applicant should simply file a new completed provisional application.

Applications in which a “Notice of Omitted Item(s)” has been mailed will be retained in OIPE for a period of 2 months from the mailing date of the notice. Nonprovisional applications that are complete under 37 CFR 1.51(b) will then be forwarded to the appropriate Technology Center for examination of the application. Provisional applications that are complete under 37 CFR 1.51(c) will then be forwarded to the Files Repository. The current practice for treating applications that are not complete under 37 CFR 1.51(b) and (c) will remain unchanged (37 CFR 1.53(f) and (g)).

The treatment of an application subsequent to the mailing of a “Notice of Omitted Item(s)” is discussed in MPEP § 601.01(d).

Applications are often filed with drawings with several views of the invention where the views are labeled using a number-letter combination, e.g., Fig. 1A, Fig. 1B, and Fig. 1C. OIPE will not mail a “Notice of Omitted Item(s)” if a figure which is referred to in the specification by a particular number cannot be located among the drawings, if the drawings include at least one figure labeled with that particular number in combination with a letter. For example, if the drawings show Figures 1A, 1B, and 1C and the brief description of the drawings refers only to Figure 1, this is an error in the specification which must be corrected, rather than an application filed without all figures of drawings.

APPLICATION LOCATED IN A TECHNOLOGY CENTER

If it is discovered that an application, located in a Technology Center (TC), was filed without all of the drawing figure(s) referred to in the specification, and a Notice of Omitted Items has not been mailed by the OIPE, the examiner should review the application to determine whether the application is entitled to a filing date. An application is entitled to a filing date if the application contains something that can be construed as a written description, at least one drawing figure (if necessary under 35 U.S.C. 113, first sentence), and at least one claim.

A. Application Entitled to a Filing Date

If the application is entitled to a filing date, the examiner should notify applicant of the omission in the next Office action and require applicant to do one of the following:

(A) accept the application, as filed, without all of the drawing figure(s) referred to in the specification;

(B) file any omitted drawing figure(s) with an oath or declaration in compliance with 37 CFR 1.63and 37 CFR 1.64 referring to the omitted drawing figure( s) and a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f), requesting the date of submission of the omitted drawing figure(s) as the application filing date; or

(C) file a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f) alleging that the drawing figure(s) indicated as omitted was in fact deposited with the USPTO with the application papers, including any and all evidence supporting the allegation. See MPEP § 503. The petition fee will be refunded if it is determined that the drawing figure(s) was in fact received by the USPTO with the application papers deposited on filing.

If applicant is willing to accept the application, as filed, without all of the drawing figure(s) referred to in the application (item A above), applicant is required to submit (1) an amendment to the specification canceling all references to the omitted drawing figure(s) including any reference numerals shown only in the omitted drawing figure(s), (2) an amendment with replacement sheets of drawings in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) renumbering the drawing figure(s) submitted on filing consecutively, and (3) a further amendment to the specification correcting references to drawing figure(s) to correspond with the relabeled drawing figure(s), both in the brief and detailed descriptions of the drawings. The amendment should be submitted in response to the Office action.

If an application was filed on or after September 21, 2004, and contains a claim under 37 CFR 1.55 for priority of a prior-filed foreign application, or a claim under 37 CFR 1.78 for the benefit of a prior-filed provisional, nonprovisional, or international application that was present on the filing date of the application, and the omitted portion of the drawing(s) was inadvertently omitted from the application and is completely contained in the prior-filed application, applicant may submit an amendment to include the inadvertently omitted portion of the drawing(s) pursuant to 37 CFR 1.57(a). The amendment should be submitted in response to the Office action and must comply with 37 CFR 1.57(a) and 37 CFR 1.121. See MPEP § 201.17.

Any petition filed in accordance with item (B) or (C) above should be filed with the TC. The TC will match the petition with the application file and forward the application file with the petition to the Office of Petitions, along with a brief explanation as to the drawing figure(s) that has been omitted on filing, for consideration of the petition in due course.

B. Application NOT Entitled to a Filing Date

If upon review of the application, the examiner determines that the application is NOT entitled to a filing date because the application does not contain any drawing figure, and at least one drawing figure is necessary under 35 U.S.C 113, first sentence, the examiner should forward the application to OIPE for mailing of a “Notice of Incomplete Application.”

601.01(h) Forms[edit | edit source]

The Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) is no longer using pre-printed forms and is instead using individualized notices generated by a computer to notify applicants of defects.

601.02 Power of Attorney[edit | edit source]

The attorney’s or agent’s full mailing address (including ZIP Code) must be given in every power of attorney. The telephone and fax numbers of the attorney or agent should also be included in the power. The prompt delivery of communications will thereby be facilitated.

A power of attorney may be incorporated in the oath or declaration form when the power of attorney is given by inventors. Otherwise, a separate power of attorney (e.g., PTO/SB/81) should be used. (See MPEP § 402.)

601.03 Change of Correspondence Address[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.33. Correspondence respecting patent applications, reexamination proceedings, and other proceedings.


(a) Correspondence address and daytime telephone number. When filing an application, a correspondence address must be set forth in either an application data sheet (§ 1.76), or elsewhere, in a clearly identifiable manner, in any paper submitted with an application filing. If no correspondence address is specified, the Office may treat the mailing address of the first named inventor (if provided, see §§ 1.76(b)(1) and 1.63(c)(2)) as the correspondence address. The Office will direct all notices, official letters, and other communications relating to the application to the correspondence address. The Office will not engage in double correspondence with an applicant and a patent practitioner, or with more than one patent practitioner except as deemed necessary by the Director. If more than one correspondence address is specified in a single document, the Office will select one of the specified addresses for use as the correspondence address and, if given, will select the address associated with a Customer Number over a typed correspondence address. For the party to whom correspondence is to be addressed, a daytime telephone number should be supplied in a clearly identifiable manner and may be changed by any party who may change the correspondence address. The correspondence address may be changed as follows:

(1) Prior to filing of § 1.63 oath or declaration by any of the inventors. If a § 1.63 oath or declaration has not been filed by any of the inventors, the correspondence address may be changed by the party who filed the application. If the application was filed by a patent practitioner, any other patent practitioner named in the transmittal papers may also change the correspondence address. Thus, the inventor(s), any patent practitioner named in the transmittal papers accompanying the original application, or a party that will be the assignee who filed the application, may change the correspondence address in that application under this paragraph.

(2) Where a § 1.63 oath or declaration has been filed by any of the inventors. If a § 1.63 oath or declaration has been filed, or is filed concurrent with the filing of an application, by any of the inventors, the correspondence address may be changed by the parties set forth in paragraph (b) of this section, except for paragraph (b)(2).


37 CFR 1.33(a) provides that the application must specify a correspondence address to which the Office will send notice, letters, and other communications relating to an application. The correspondence address must either be in an application data sheet (37 CFR 1.76) or in a clearly identifiable manner elsewhere in any papers submitted with the application filing. If more than one correspondence address is specified in a single document, the Office will select one of the specified addresses for use as the correspondence address and, if given, will select the address associated with a Customer Number over a typed correspondence address. Additionally, applicants will often specify the correspondence address in more than one paper that is filed with an application, and the address given in the different places sometimes conflicts. Where the applicant specifically directs the Office to use non-matching correspondence addresses in more than one paper, priority will be accorded to the correspondence address specified in the following order: (A) Application data sheet (ADS); (B) application transmittal; (C) oath or declaration (unless power of attorney is more current); and (D) power of attorney. Accordingly, if the ADS includes a typed correspondence address, and the declaration gives a different address (i.e., the address associated with a Customer Number) as the correspondence address, the Office will use the typed correspondence address as included on the ADS. In the experience of the Office, the ADS is the most recently created document and tends to have the most current address. After the correspondence address has been entered according to the above procedure, it will only be changed pursuant to 37 CFR 1.33(a)(1).

The submission of a daytime telephone number of the party to whom correspondence is to be addressed is requested pursuant to 37 CFR 1.33(a). While business is to be conducted on the written record (37 CFR 1.2), a daytime telephone number would be useful in initiating contact that could later be reduced to writing. Any party who could change the correspondence address could also change the telephone number.

37 CFR 1.33(a)(1) provides that the party filing the application and setting forth a correspondence address may later change the correspondence address provided that an executed oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 by any of the inventors has not been filed. If a patent practitioner (i.e., registered attorney or agent) filed the application, any other patent practitioners named in the transmittal letter may also change the correspondence address. A patent practitioner named in a letterhead would not be considered as being named in the transmittal letter for purposes of changing the correspondence address. A clear identification of the individual as a representative would be required. If an application is filed by a company to whom the invention has been assigned or to whom there is an obligation to assign the invention, a person who has the authority to act on behalf of the company may change the correspondence address. Thus, the inventor(s), any patent practitioner named in the transmittal papers accompanying the original application, or a party that will be the assignee who filed the application, may change the correspondence address pursuant to 37 CFR 1.33(a)(1). The filing of an executed oath or declaration that does not include a correspondence address does not affect any correspondence address previously established on filing of the application, or changed pursuant to 37 CFR 1.33(a)(1).

Where a correspondence address has been established on filing of the application or changed pursuant to 37 CFR 1.33(a)(1) (prior to the filing of an executed oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 by any of the inventors), that correspondence address remains in effect upon filing of an executed oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 and can only be subsequently changed pursuant to 37 CFR 1.33(a)(2). Under 37 CFR 1.33(a)(2), where an executed oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 has been filed by any of the inventors, the correspondence address may be changed by (A) a patent practitioner of record, (B) an assignee as provided for under 37 CFR 3.71(b), or (C) all of the applicants (37 CFR 1.41(b)) for patent, unless there is an assignee of the entire interest and such assignee has taken action in the application in accordance with 37 CFR 3.71. See 37 CFR1.33(a)(2).

Where an attorney or agent of record (or applicant, if he or she is prosecuting the application pro se) changes his or her correspondence address, he or she is responsible for promptly notifying the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office of the new correspondence address (including ZIP Code). See 37 CFR 11.11. The notification should also include his or her telephone number. A change of correspondence address may not be signed by an attorney or agent not of record (see MPEP § 405).

Unless the correspondence address is designated as the address associated with a Customer Number, a separate notification must be filed in each application for which a person is intended to receive communications from the Office. See MPEP § 403 for Customer Number Practice. In those instances where a change in the correspondence address of a registered attorney or agent is necessary in a plurality of applications, the notification filed in each application may be a reproduction of a properly executed, original notification. The original notice may either be sent to the Office of Enrollment and Discipline as notification to the Attorney’s Roster of the change of address, or may be retained by applicant. See MPEP § 502.02.

Special care should be taken in continuation or divisional applications to ensure that any change of correspondence address in a prior application is reflected in the continuation or divisional application. For example, where a copy of the oath or declaration from the prior application is submitted for a continuation or divisional application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b) and the copy of the oath or declaration from the prior application designates an old correspondence address, the Office may not recognize, in the continuation or divisional application, the change of correspondence address made during the prosecution of the prior application. Applicant is required to identify the change of correspondence address in the continuation or divisional application to ensure that communications from the Office are mailed to the current correspondence address. 37 CFR 1.63(d)(4).

See MPEP § 711.03(c) for treatment of petitions to revive applications abandoned as a consequence of failure to timely receive an Office action addressed to the old correspondence address.

The required notification of change of correspondence address need take no particular form. However, it should be provided in a manner calling attention to the fact that a change of address is being made. Thus, the mere inclusion, in a paper being filed for another purpose, of an address which is different from the previously provided correspondence address, without mention of the fact that an address change is being made would not ordinarily be recognized or deemed as instructions to change the correspondence address on the file record.

The obligation (see 37 CFR 11.11) of a registered attorney or agent to notify the Attorney’s Roster by letter of any change of his or her address for entry on the register is separate from the obligation to file a notice of change of address filed in individual applications. See MPEP § 402.

601.04 National Stage Requirements ofthe United States as a Designated Office[edit | edit source]

See MPEP Chapter 1800, especially MPEP § 1893.01 for requirements for entry into the national stage before the Designated Office or Elected Office under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

601.05 Bibliographic Information - Application Data Sheet (ADS)[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.76. Application Data Sheet

(a) Application data sheet. An application data sheet is a sheet or sheets, that may be voluntarily submitted in either provisional or nonprovisional applications, which contains bibliographic data, arranged in a format specified by the Office. An application data sheet must be titled “Application Data Sheet” and must contain all of the section headings listed in paragraph (b) of this section, with any appropriate data for each section heading. If an application data sheet is provided, the application data sheet is part of the provisional or nonprovisional application for which it has been submitted.

(b) Bibliographic data. Bibliographic data as used in paragraph (a) of this section includes:

(1) Applicant information. This information includes the name, residence, mailing address, and citizenship of each applicant (§ 1.41(b)). The name of each applicant must include the family name, and at least one given name without abbreviation together with any other given name or initial. If the applicant is not an inventor, this information also includes the applicant’s authority (§§ 1.42, 1.43, and 1.47) to apply for the patent on behalf of the inventor.

(2) Correspondence information. This information includes the correspondence address, which may be indicated by reference to a customer number, to which correspondence is to be directed (see § 1.33(a)).

(3) Application information. This information includes the title of the invention, a suggested classification, by class and subclass, the Technology Center to which the subject matter of the invention is assigned, the total number of drawing sheets, a suggested drawing figure for publication (in a nonprovisional application), any docket number assigned to the application, the type of application (e.g., utility, plant, design, reissue, provisional), whether the application discloses any significant part of the subject matter of an application under a secrecy order pursuant to § 5.2 of this chapter (see § 5.2(c)), and, for plant applications, the Latin name of the genus and species of the plant claimed, as well as the variety denomination. The suggested classification and Technology Center information should be supplied for provisional applications whether or not claims are present. If claims are not present in a provisional application, the suggested classification and Technology Center should be based upon the disclosure.

(4) Representative information. This information includes the registration number of each practitioner having a power of attorney in the application (preferably by reference to a customer number). Providing this information in the application data sheet does not constitute a power of attorney in the application (see § 1.32).

(5) Domestic priority information. This information includes the application number, the filing date, the status (including patent number if available), and relationship of each application for which a benefit is claimed under 35 U.S.C. 119(e), 120, 121, or 365(c). Providing this information in the application data sheet constitutes the specific reference required by 35 U.S.C. 119(e) or 120, and § 1.78(a)(2) or § 1.78(a)(5), and need not otherwise be made part of the specification.

(6) Foreign priority information. This information includes the application number, country, and filing date of each foreign application for which priority is claimed, as well as any foreign application having a filing date before that of the application for which priority is claimed. Providing this information in the application data sheet constitutes the claim for priority as required by 35 U.S.C. 119(b) and § 1.55(a).

(7) Assignee information. This information includes the name (either person or juristic entity) and address of the assignee of the entire right, title, and interest in an application. Providing this information in the application data sheet does not substitute for compliance with any requirement of part 3 of this chapter to have an assignment recorded by the Office.

(c) Supplemental application data sheets. Supplemental application data sheets:

(1) May be subsequently supplied prior to payment of the issue fee either to correct or update information in a previously submitted application data sheet, or an oath or declaration under § 1.63 or § 1.67, except that inventorship changes are governed by § 1.48, correspondence changes are governed by § 1.33(a), and citizenship changes are governed by § 1.63 or § 1.67; and

(2) Must be titled “Supplemental Application Data Sheet,” include all of the section headings listed in paragraph (b) of this section, include all appropriate data for each section heading, and must identify the information that is being changed, preferably with underlining for insertions, and strike-through or brackets for text removed.

(d) Inconsistencies between application data sheet and other documents. For inconsistencies between information that is supplied by both an application data sheet under this section and other documents.

(1) The latest submitted information will govern notwithstanding whether supplied by an application data sheet, an amendment to the specification, a designation of a correspondence address, or by a § 1.63 or § 1.67 oath or declaration, except as provided by paragraph (d)(3) of this section;

(2) The information in the application data sheet will govern when the inconsistent information is supplied at the same time by an amendment to the specification, a designation of correspondence address, or a § 1.63 or § 1.67 oath or declaration, except as provided by paragraph (d)(3) of this section;

(3) The oath or declaration under § 1.63 or § 1.67 governs inconsistencies with the application data sheet in the naming of inventors (§ 1.41 (a)(1)) and setting forth their citizenship (35 U.S.C. 115);

(4) The Office will capture bibliographic information from the application data sheet (notwithstanding whether an oath or declaration governs the information). Thus, the Office shall generally, for example, not look to an oath or declaration under § 1.63 to see if the bibliographic information contained therein is consistent with the bibliographic information captured from an application data sheet (whether the oath or declaration is submitted prior to or subsequent to the application data sheet). Captured bibliographic information derived from an application data sheet containing errors may be corrected if applicant submits a request therefor and a supplemental application data sheet.


37 CFR 1.76 provides for the voluntary inclusion of an application data sheet in provisional and nonprovisional applications. A guide to preparing an application data sheet (Patent Application Bibliographic Data Entry Format) can be found on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (Office) Web site “http:\\www.uspto.gov”.

An application data sheet (ADS) is a sheet or set of sheets containing bibliographic data, which is arranged in a format specified by the Office. When an application data sheet is provided in a provisional or nonprovisional application, the application data sheet becomes part of the provisional or nonprovisional application and must comply with 37 CFR 1.52. While the use of an application data sheet is optional, the Office prefers its use to help facilitate the electronic capturing of this important data. For example, in a national stage application filed under 35 U.S.C. 371, the Office could look to the publication of the international application for the title (see MPEP § 1893.03(e)) and to other documents for the listing of inventors and the correspondence address, but it is more desirable for the Office to only refer to a single document, i.e., an application data sheet. The data that is suggested to be supplied by way of an application data sheet can also be provided elsewhere in the application papers, but it is to applicant’s advantage to submit the data via an application data sheet. To help ensure that the Office can, in fact, efficiently capture the data, the Office specifies a particular format to be used. The Office does not, however, provide an application data sheet paper form because of the variability in the data submitted (e.g., one application may have no domestic priority data and a single inventor, and others may have domestic priority data to a number of prior U.S. applications and have multiple joint inventors).

37 CFR 1.76(a) requires that any ADS contain the seven headings listed in 37 CFR 1.76(b) with any appropriate data for each section heading. The ADS must be titled “Application Data Sheet” and any label (e.g., the label “Given Name” in the “Applicant Information” heading) that does not contain any corresponding data will be interpreted by the Office to mean that there is no corresponding data for that label anywhere in the application. By requiring an ADS to contain all seven section headings, and any appropriate data for the sections, the accuracy of bibliographic data in patent applications will be enhanced and the need for corrected filing receipts related to Office errors will be reduced.

Bibliographic data under 37 CFR 1.76(b) includes: (1) applicant information; (2) correspondence information; (3) application information; (4) representative information; (5) domestic priority information; (6) foreign priority information; and (7) assignee information.

The naming of the inventors and the setting forth of the citizenship of each inventor must be provided in the oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 (as is required by 35 U.S.C 115) even if this information is provided in the application data sheet.

Applicant information includes the name, residence, mailing address, and citizenship of each applicant (37 CFR 1.41(b)). The name of each applicant must include the family name, and at least one given name without abbreviation together with any other given name or initial. If the applicant is not an inventor, this information also includes the applicant’s authority (37 CFR 1.42, 1.43, and 1.47) to apply for the patent on behalf of the inventor. The “mailing address” is the address where applicant customarily receives mail.

Correspondence information includes the correspondence address, which may be indicated by reference to a customer number, to which correspondence is to be directed (see 37 CFR 1.33(a)).

Application information includes the title of the invention, a suggested classification by class and subclass, the Technology Center (TC) to which the subject matter of the invention is assigned, the total number of drawing sheets, a suggested drawing figure for publication (in a nonprovisional application), any docket number assigned to the application, and the type of application (e.g., utility, plant, design, reissue, provisional). Application information also includes whether the application discloses any significant part of the subject matter of an application under a secrecy order pursuant to 37 CFR 5.2(c).

Although the submission of the information related to a suggested classification and TC is desired for both provisional and nonprovisional applications, the Office will not be bound to follow such information if submitted, as the Office will continue to follow its present procedures for classifying and assigning new applications. Similarly for the suggested drawing figure, the Office may decide to print another figure on the front page of any patent issuing from the application.

Application information also includes information about provisional applications, particularly their class and subclass, and the TC. Provisional applications are not examined or even processed (e.g., having a class and subclass assigned or being forwarded to a TC). Even though provisional applications are not examined, the TC and the class and subclass, if known to applicants, would be of benefit to the Office in giving an indication of where nonprovisional applications may be eventually received in the Office and their technologies so that the Office will be better able to plan for future workloads.

37 CFR 1.76(b)(3) also requests that the plant patent applicant state the Latin name and the variety denomination for the plant claimed. The Latin name and the variety denomination of the claimed plant are usually included in the specification of the plant patent application, and will be included in any plant patent or plant patent application publication if included in an application data sheet or patent application. The Office, pursuant to the “International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants” (generally known by its French acronym as the UPOV convention), has been asked to compile a database of the plants patented and the database must include the Latin name and the variety denomination of each patented plant. Having this information in separate sections of the plant patent will make the process of compiling this database more efficient.

Representative information includes the registration number appointed with a power of attorney in the application (preferably by reference to a customer number). 37 CFR 1.76(b)(4) states that providing this information in the application data sheet does not constitute a power of attorney in the application (see 37 CFR 1.32). This is because the Office does not expect the application data sheet to be executed by the party (applicant or assignee) who may appoint a power of attorney in the application.

Domestic priority information includes the application number (series code and serial number), the filing date, the status (including patent number if available), and relationship of each application for which a benefit is claimed under 35 U.S.C. 119(e), 120, 121, or 365(c). 37 CFR 1.76(b)(5) states that providing this information in the application data sheet constitutes the specific reference required by 35 U.S.C.119(e) or 120. Since the application data sheet, if provided, is considered part of the application, the specific reference to an earlier filed provisional or nonprovisional application in the application data sheet satisfies the “specific reference” requirement of 35 U.S.C.119(e)(1) or 120, and it also complies with 37 CFR 1.78(a)(2) (iii) or (a)(5)(iii). Thus, a specific reference does not otherwise have to be made in the specification, such as in the first sentence( s) of the specification. If continuity data is included in an application data sheet, but not in the first sentence(s) of the specification, the continuity data for the patent front page will be taken from the application data sheet. No continuity data will be included in the first sentence(s) of the specification if applicant does not provide it there. 37 CFR 1.76(b)(5) does not apply to provisional applications.

Foreign priority information includes the application number, country, and filing date of each foreign application for which priority is claimed, as well as any foreign application having a filing date before that of the application for which priority is claimed. 37 CFR 1.76(b)(6) states that providing this information in the application data sheet constitutes the claim for priority as required by 35 U.S.C. 119(b) and 37 CFR 1.55(a). The patent statute, 35 U.S.C. 119(b), does not require that a claim to the benefit of a prior foreign application take any particular form. 37 CFR 1.76(b)(6) does not apply to provisional applications.

37 CFR 1.76(b)(7) provides that the assignee information includes the name (either person or juristic entity) and address of the assignee of the entire right, title, and interest in an application. The inclusion of this information in the application data sheet does not substitute for compliance with any requirement of 37 CFR part 3 to have an assignment recorded by the Office. Providing assignee information in the application data sheet is considered a request to include such information on the patent application publication, since there is no other reason for including such information in the application data sheet. Assignment information must be recorded to have legal effect.

Supplemental application data sheets may be subsequently supplied prior to payment of the issue fee to either correct or update information in a previously submitted application data sheet, or an oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 or 1.67. See 37 CFR 1.76(c)(1). A supplemental data sheet cannot be used to correct the following: (1) inventorship changes (37 CFR 1.48); (2) correspondence changes (37 CFR 1.33(a)); and (3) citizenship changes (37 CFR 1.63or 37 CFR 1.67). Supplemental application data sheets must be titled “Supplemental Application Data Sheet” and also contain all of the seven section headings listed in 37 CFR 1.76(b) with all appropriate data for each heading. Supplemental application data sheets identifying only the information that is being changed (added, deleted, or modified) in the supplemental ADS are not acceptable. A supplemental ADS containing only new or changed information is likely to confuse the record, create unnecessary work for the Office, and does not comply with 37 CFR 1.76. If no ADS was originally filed, but applicant wants to submit an ADS to correct, modify, or augment the original application data, the ADS, even though it is the first-filed ADS, must be titled “Supplemental Application Data Sheet.”

SUPPLEMENTAL ADS SUBMISSIONS

When submitting an application data sheet supplemental to the initial filing of the application, to correct, modify, or augment the original application data sheet, the following applies:

(A)the supplemental application data sheet must be titled “Supplemental Application Data Sheet” (while the title “Supplemental Application Data Sheet” is preferred, “Supp. ADS”, “Supplemental ADS” or other variations thereof will be accepted);

(B)the supplemental application data sheet must be a full replacement copy of the original ADS, if any, with each of the seven section headings listed in 37 CFR 1.76(b), and with all appropriate data for the section heading;

(C) the supplemental application data sheet must be submitted with all changes indicated, preferably with insertions or additions indicated by underlining, and deletions, with or without replacement data, indicated by strike-through or brackets; and

(D) the footer information should include the word “Supplemental” in place of “Initial” and should also contain the Application Number and Filing Date.

A supplemental ADS that is being used to correct data shown in an oath or declaration, such as foreign priority or residence information for an inventor, would show the original incorrect information with strike-through or brackets, and the new information with underlining, as if an ADS had originally been used to submit the information. For example, if the original oath or declaration included a foreign priority claim, in order to delete the foreign priority claim, applicant should provide a supplemental ADS showing the foreign priority claim with strike-through or brackets to ensure that the patent will reflect such change.

Resolution of inconsistent information supplied by both an application data sheet and other documents (e.g., the oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63, or 37 CFR 1.67) are addressed in 37 CFR 1.76(d). If an ADS is inconsistent with the information provided in another document that was submitted at the same time or previous to the ADS submission, the ADS will control. 37 CFR 1.76(d)(1) provides that the latest submitted information will govern notwithstanding whether supplied by an application data sheet, an amendment to the specification, a designation of a correspondence address, or by an oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 or 37 CFR 1.67, except as provided by 37 CFR 1.76(d)(3). This is because the application data sheet is intended as the means by which applicants will provide most information to the Office. In the small number of instances where another document has more accurate information than a concurrently supplied application data sheet (37 CFR 1.76(d)(2)), a supplemental application data sheet should be submitted to conform the information presented by the supplemental application data sheet with the correct information in the other document(s) (37 CFR 1.76(d)(1)).

If an application is filed with an application data sheet improperly identifying the residence of one of the inventors, inventor B, and an executed 37 CFR 1.63 declaration setting forth the correct but different residence of inventor B, the Office will capture the residence of inventor B found in the application data sheet as the residence of B, and include that information in the filing receipt. If applicant desires correction of the residence, applicant should submit a supplemental application data sheet under 37 CFR 1.76(c), with the name of inventor B and the corrected residence for inventor B.

Pursuant to 37 CFR 1.76(d)(3), the oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 or 37 CFR 1.67 governs inconsistencies with the application data sheet in the naming of inventors and setting forth their citizenship. If different inventors are listed in the application data sheet than are named in the oath or declaration for the application, the inventors named in the oath or declaration are considered to be the inventors named in the patent application. See 37 CFR 1.76(d)(3). Any change in the inventorship set forth in the oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 must be by way of a request under 37 CFR 1.48(a) notwithstanding identification of the correct inventive entity in an application data sheet or supplemental application data sheet. Similarly, if the oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 incorrectly sets forth the citizenship of one of the inventors, that inventor must submit a supplemental oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.67 with the correct citizenship notwithstanding the correct identification of the citizenship in an application data sheet or supplemental application data sheet. If the spelling of the inventor’s name is incorrect, however, only a supplemental application data sheet is required. See MPEP § 605.04(b).

The Office will rely upon information supplied in the application data sheet over an oath or declaration to capture the data even where the type of information supplied (citizenship, inventorship) is governed by the oath or declaration according to statute (35 U.S.C. 115) or other rule (37 CFR 1.41(a)(1)). Where the oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 or 37 CFR 1.67 contains the correct information regarding inventors or their citizenship and the application data sheet does not, even though the oath or declaration governs pursuant to 37 CFR 1.76(d)(3), the information in the application data sheet must be corrected by submission of a request for correction and a supplemental application data sheet. If the spelling of the inventor’s name is incorrect, however, only a supplemental application data sheet is required. See MPEP § 605.04(b).

If an application is filed with an application data sheet correctly setting forth the citizenship of inventor B, and an executed 37 CFR 1.63 declaration setting forth a different incorrect citizenship of inventor B, the Office will capture the citizenship of inventor B found in the application data sheet. Applicant, however, must submit a supplemental oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.67 by inventor B setting forth the correct citizenship even though it appears correctly in the application data sheet. A supplemental application data sheet cannot be used to correct the citizenship error in the oath or declaration. If, however, the error is one of residence, no change would be required (37 CFR 1.76(d)(2)).

Although 37 CFR 1.76 does not change the practice in MPEP § 201.03 and § 605.04(b) regarding correction of a typographical or transliteration error in the spelling of an inventor’s name whereby all that is required is notification of the error to the Office, the Office strongly encourages the filing of an application data sheet or a supplemental application data sheet to correct a typographical or transliteration error in the spelling of an inventor’s name. A supplemental oath or declaration is not required.

If applicant merely files a statement notifying the Office of the typographical or transliteration error in the spelling of an inventor’s name without submitting an application data sheet or a supplemental application data sheet, any patent to issue is less likely to reflect the correct spelling since the spelling of the inventor’s name is taken from the oath or declaration, or any subsequently filed application data sheet.

As to the submission of class/subclass information in the application data sheet, the Office notes that there is a distinction between permitting applicants to aid in the identification of the appropriate Art Unit to examine the application and requiring the Office to always honor such identification/request, which could lead to misuse by some applicants of forum shopping. Even when an applicant’s identification of an Art Unit is appropriate, internal staffing/workload requirements may dictate that the application be handled by another Art Unit qualified to do so, particularly when the art or claims encompass the areas of expertise of more than one Art Unit.




602 Original Oath or Declaration[edit | edit source]

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).


35 U.S.C. 26. Effect of defective execution.

Any document to be filed in the Patent and Trademark Office and which is required by any law, rule, or other regulation to be executed in a specified manner may be provisionally accepted by the Director despite a defective execution, provided a properly executed document is submitted within such time as may be prescribed.


35 U.S.C. 115. Oath of applicant.

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).


37 CFR 1.63. Oath or declaration.

(a) An oath or declaration filed under § 1.51(b)(2) as a part of a nonprovisional application must:

(1) Be executed, i.e., signed, in accordance with either § 1.66 or § 1.68. There is no minimum age for a person to be qualified to sign, but the person must be competent to sign, i.e., understand the document that the person is signing;

(2) Identify each inventor by full name, including the family name, and at least one given name without abbreviation together with any other given name or initial;

(3) Identify the country of citizenship of each inventor; and

(4) State that the person making the oath or declaration believes the named inventor or inventors to be the original and first inventor or inventors of the subject matter which is claimed and for which a patent is sought.

(b) In addition to meeting the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section, the oath or declaration must also:

(1) Identify the application to which it is directed;

(2) State that the person making the oath or declaration has reviewed and understands the contents of the application, including the claims, as amended by any amendment specifically referred to in the oath or declaration; and

(3) State that the person making the oath or declaration acknowledges the duty to disclose to the Office all information known to the person to be material to patentability as defined in § 1.56.

(c) Unless such information is supplied on an application data sheet in accordance with § 1.76, the oath or declaration must also identify:

(1) The mailing address, and the residence if an inventor lives at a location which is different from where the inventor customarily receives mail, of each inventor; and

(2) Any foreign application for patent (or inventor’s certificate) for which a claim for priority is made pursuant to § 1.55, and any foreign application having a filing date before that of the application on which priority is claimed, by specifying the application number, country, day, month, and year of its filing.

(d)

(1) A newly executed oath or declaration is not required under § 1.51(b)(2) and § 1.53(f) in a continuation or divisional application, provided that:

(i) The prior nonprovisional application contained an oath or declaration as prescribed by paragraphs (a) through (c) of this section;

(ii) The continuation or divisional application was filed by all or by fewer than all of the inventors named in the prior application;

(iii) The specification and drawings filed in the continuation or divisional application contain no matter that would have been new matter in the prior application; and

(iv) A copy of the executed oath or declaration filed in the prior application, showing the signature or an indication thereon that it was signed, is submitted for the continuation or divisional application.

(2) The copy of the executed oath or declaration submitted under this paragraph for a continuation or divisional application must be accompanied by a statement requesting the deletion of the name or names of the person or persons who are not inventors in the continuation or divisional application.

(3) Where the executed oath or declaration of which a copy is submitted for a continuation or divisional application was originally filed in a prior application accorded status under § 1.47, the copy of the executed oath or declaration for such prior application must be accompanied by:

(i) A copy of the decision granting a petition to accord § 1.47 status to the prior application, unless all inventors or legal representatives have filed an oath or declaration to join in an application accorded status under § 1.47 of which the continuation or divisional application claims a benefit under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c); and

(ii) If one or more inventor(s) or legal representative(s) who refused to join in the prior application or could not be found or reached has subsequently joined in the prior application or another application of which the continuation or divisional application claims a benefit under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c), a copy of the subsequently executed oath(s) or declaration(s) filed by the inventor or legal representative to join in the application.

(4) Where the power of attorney or correspondence address was changed during the prosecution of the prior application, the change in power of attorney or correspondence address must be identified in the continuation or divisional application. Otherwise, the Office may not recognize in the continuation or divisional application the change of power of attorney or correspondence address during the prosecution of the prior application.

(5) A newly executed oath or declaration must be filed in a continuation or divisional application naming an inventor not named in the prior application.

(e) A newly executed oath or declaration must be filed in any continuation-in-part application, which application may name all, more, or fewer than all of the inventors named in the prior application.


37 CFR 1.68. Declaration in lieu of oath.

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. Such declaration may be used in lieu of the oath otherwise required, if, and only if, the declarant is on the same document, warned that willful false statements and the like are punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both (18 U.S.C. 1001) and may jeopardize the validity of the application or any patent issuing thereon. The declarant must set forth in the body of the declaration that all statements made of the declarant's own knowledge are true and that all statements made on information and belief are believed to be true.


18 U.S.C. 1001. Statements or entries generally.

Whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact, or makes any false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or representations, or makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any false, fictitious or fraudulent statement or entry, shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.


A provisional application does not require an oath or declaration to be complete. See 37 CFR 1.51(c).

I.OATH

A seal is usually impressed on an oath. See 37 CFR 1.66, MPEP § 604 and § 604.01. Documents with seals cannot be adequately scanned for retention in an Image File Wrapper, and since the Office maintains patent applications in an image form, the Office strongly encourages the use of declarations rather than oaths. However, oaths executed in many states including Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia need not be impressed with a seal. See MPEP § 604 for execution of an oath, and MPEP § 604.01 and § 604.02 for information regarding seals and venue.

II.STATUTORY DECLARATIONS

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office personnel are authorized to accept a statutory declaration under 28 U.S.C. 1746 filed in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in lieu of an "oath" or declaration under 35 U.S.C. 25 and 37 CFR 1.68, provided that the statutory declaration otherwise complies with the requirements of law.

A 37 CFR 1.68 declaration need not be ribboned to the other papers, even if signed in a country foreign to the United States. When a declaration is used, it is unnecessary to appear before any official in connection with the making of the declaration. It must, however, since it is an integral part of the application, be maintained together therewith.

By statute, 35 U.S.C. 25, the Director has been empowered to prescribe instances when a written declaration may be accepted in lieu of the oath for “any document to be filed in the Patent and Trademark Office.”

The filing of a written declaration is acceptable in lieu of an original application oath that is informal.

III.EARLIER FOREIGN APPLICATIONS

Oaths and declarations must make reference to any foreign application for patent (or inventor’s certificate) for which priority is claimed and any foreign application filed prior to the filing date of an application on which priority is claimed, unless such information is included in an application data sheet. See 37 CFR 1.63(c)(2).

If all foreign applications have been filed within 12 months of the U.S. filing date, applicant is required only to recite the first such foreign application of which priority is claimed, and it should be clear that the foreign application referred to is the first filed foreign application. The applicant is required to recite all foreign applications filed prior to the application on which priority is claimed. It is required to give the foreign application number and name of the country or office in which filed, as well as the filing date of the first filed foreign application.

IV.SOLE OR JOINT DESIGNATION

37 CFR 1.63 no longer requires the oath or declaration to state that the inventor is a sole or joint inventor of the invention claimed.

When joint inventors execute separate oaths or declarations, each oath or declaration should make reference to the fact that the affiant is a joint inventor together with each of the other inventors indicating them by name. This may be done by stating that he or she does verily believe himself or herself to be the original, first and joint inventor together with “A” or “A & B, etc.” as the facts may be.

V. NEW MATTER ISSUES

For applications filed on or after September 21, 2004, a preliminary amendment that is present on the filing date of the application is part of the original disclosure of the application. For applications filed before September 21, 2004, a preliminary amendment that is present on the filing date of the application is part of the original disclosure of the application if the preliminary amendment was referred to in the first executed oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 filed in the application. See MPEP § 608.04(b) and § 714.01(e).

If a preliminary amendment is present on the filing date of an application, and the oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 does not refer to the preliminary amendment, the normal operating procedure is to not screen the preliminary amendment to determine whether it contains subject matter not otherwise included in the specification or drawings of the application as filed (i.e., subject matter that is “new matter” relative to the specification and drawings of the application).

As a result, it is applicant’s obligation to review the preliminary amendment to ensure that it does not contain subject matter not otherwise included in the specification or drawings of the application as filed. If the preliminary amendment contains subject matter not otherwise included in the specification and drawings of the application, applicant must provide a supplemental oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.67 referring to such preliminary amendment.

During examination, if an examiner determines that a preliminary amendment that is present on the filing date of the application includes subject matter not otherwise supported by the originally filed specification and drawings, and the oath or declaration does not refer to the preliminary amendment, the examiner may require the applicant to file a supplemental oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.67 referring to the preliminary amendment.

In response to the requirement, applicant must submit (A) an oath or declaration that refers to the preliminary amendment, (B) an amendment that cancels the subject matter not supported by the originally filed specification and drawings, or (C) a request for reconsideration.

For applications filed prior to September 21, 2004, if the preliminary amendment was not referred to in the oath or declaration, applicant will be required to submit a supplemental oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.67 referring to both the application and the preliminary amendment filed with the original application. A surcharge under 37 CFR 1.16(f) will also be required unless it has been previously paid.

If an oath or declaration improperly refers to an amendment filed after the filing date of the application and containing new matter, a supplemental oath or declaration will be required pursuant to 37 CFR 1.67(b), deleting the reference to the amendment containing new matter. See also MPEP § 608.04.

If the application papers are altered prior to the execution of the oath or declaration and the filing of the application, new matter is not a consideration since the alteration is considered as part of the original disclosure.

If a claim is presented for matter not originally claimed or embraced in the original statement of invention in the specification a supplemental oath or declaration is required, 37 CFR 1.67, MPEP § 603.

VI. IDENTIFICATION OF APPLICATION

37 CFR 1.63 requires that an oath or declaration identify the specification to which it is directed, by giving information such as the names of the inventors, title of the invention, application number, attorney docket number, filing date, and foreign priority application information.

Filing dates are granted on applications filed without an oath or declaration in compliance with 37 CFR 1.63, the oath or declaration being filed later with a surcharge.

Any specification that is filed attached to an oath or declaration on a date later than the application filing date will not be compared with the specification submitted on filing. Absent any statement(s) to the contrary, the "attached" specification will be presumed to be a copy of the specification and any amendments thereto, which were filed in the USPTO in order to obtain a filing date for the application.

Any variance from the above guidelines will only be considered upon the filing of a petition for waiver of the rules under 37 CFR 1.183 accompanied by a petition fee (37 CFR 1.17(f)).

Further an oath or declaration attached to a cover letter referencing an incorrect application may not become associated with the correct application and, therefore, could result in the abandonment of the correct application.

Supplemental oaths or declarations in accordance with 37 CFR 1.67 will be required in applications in which the oaths or declarations are not in compliance with the other requirements of 37 CFR 1.63 but contain sufficient information to identify the specifications to which they apply as detailed above.

602.01 Oath Cannot Be Amended[edit | edit source]

The wording of an oath or declaration cannot be amended, altered or changed in any manner after it has been signed. If the wording is not correct or if all of the required affirmations have not been made, or if it has not been properly subscribed to, a new oath or declaration must be required. However, in some cases, a deficiency in the oath or declaration can be corrected by a supplemental paper such as an application data sheet (see 37 CFR 1.76 and MPEP § 601.05) and a new oath or declaration is not necessary. See 37 CFR 1.63(c)(1) and (c)(2).

602.02 New Oath or Substitute for Original[edit | edit source]

Where neither the original oath or declaration, nor the substitute oath or declaration is complete in itself, but each oath or declaration names all of the inventors and the two taken together give all the required data, no further oath or declaration is needed.

602.03 Defective Oath or Declaration[edit | edit source]

In the first Office action the examiner must point out every deficiency in a declaration or oath and require that the same be remedied.

When an application is otherwise ready for issue, an examiner with full signatory authority may waive minor deficiencies in the body of the oath or declaration where the deficiencies are self-evidently cured in the rest of the oath or declaration.

Of course, requirements of the statute, e.g., that the applicant state his or her citizenship or believes himself or herself to be the original and first inventor or that the oath be administered before a person authorized to administer oaths or that a declaration pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 25 or contain the language required therein, cannot be waived.

602.04 Foreign Executed Oath[edit | edit source]

An oath executed in a foreign country must be properly authenticated. See 37 CFR 1.66 and MPEP § 604.

602.04(a) Foreign Executed Oath Is Ribboned to Other Application Papers[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.66. Officers authorized to administer oaths.
.          .          .

(b)When the oath is taken before an officer in a country foreign to the United States, any accompanying application papers, except the drawings, must be attached together with the oath and a ribbon passed one or more times through all the sheets of the application, except the drawings, and the ends of said ribbon brought together under the seal before the latter is affixed and impressed, or each sheet must be impressed with the official seal of the officer before whom the oath is taken. If the papers as filed are not properly ribboned or each sheet impressed with the seal, the case will be accepted for examination, but before it is allowed, duplicate papers, prepared in compliance with the foregoing sentence, must be filed.


U.S. ACCESSION TO HAGUE CONVENTION ABOLISHING THE REQUIREMENT OF LEGALIZATION FOR FOREIGN PUBLIC DOCUMENTS

The Office will accept for filing or recording a document sworn to or acknowledged before a notary public in a member country if the document bears, or has appended to it, an apostille certifying the notary’s authority. The requirement for a diplomatic or consular certificate, specified in 37 CFR 1.66, will not apply to a document sworn to or acknowledged before a notary public in a member country if an apostille is used.

602.05 Oath or Declaration — Date of Execution[edit | edit source]

The Office no longer checks the date of execution of the oath or declaration and the Office will no longer require a newly executed oath or declaration based on an oath or declaration being stale (that is when the date of execution is more than 3 months prior to the filing date of the application) or where the date of execution has been omitted. However, applicants are reminded that they have a continuing duty of disclosure under 37 CFR 1.56.

602.05(a) Oath or Declaration in Continuation and Divisional Applications[edit | edit source]

A continuation or divisional application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b) (other than a continuation-in-part (CIP)) may be filed with a copy of the oath or declaration from the prior nonprovisional application. See 37 CFR 1.63(d)(1)(iv).

A copy of the oath or declaration from a prior nonprovisional application may be filed in a continuation or divisional application even if the specification for the continuation or divisional application is different from that of the prior application, in that revisions have been made to clarify the text to incorporate amendments made in the prior application, or to make other changes provided the changes do not constitute new matter relative to the prior application. See 37 CFR 1.52(c)(3).

If the examiner determines that the continuation or divisional application contains new matter relative to the prior application, the examiner should so notify the applicant in the next Office action. The examiner should also (A) require a new oath or declaration along with the surcharge set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(f); and (B) indicate that the application should be redesignated as a continuation- in-part.

A continuation or divisional application of a prior application accorded status under 37 CFR 1.47 will be accorded status under 37 CFR 1.47 if a copy of the decision according 37 CFR 1.47 status in the prior application is filed in the continuation or divisional application, unless an oath or declaration signed by all of the inventors is included upon filing the continuation or divisional application. An oath or declaration in an application accorded status under 37 CFR 1.47is generally not signed by all of the inventors.

Accordingly, if a copy of an oath or declaration of a prior application is submitted in a continuation or divisional application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b) and the copy of the oath or declaration omits the signature of one or more inventors, the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) should send a “Notice to File Missing Parts” requiring the signature of the nonsigning inventor, unless a copy of the decision according status under 37 CFR 1.47 is also included at the time of filing of the continuation or divisional application. If OIPE mails such a Notice, a copy of the decision according status under 37 CFR 1.47, together with a surcharge under 37 CFR 1.16(f) for its late filing, will be an acceptable reply to the Notice. Alternatively, applicant may submit an oath or declaration signed by the previously nonsigning inventor together with the surcharge set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(f) in reply to the Notice.

If an inventor named in a prior application is not an inventor in a continuation or divisional application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b), the continuation or divisional application may either be filed (A) with a copy of an oath or declaration from a prior application and a statement requesting the deletion of the name or names of the person or persons who are not inventors of the invention being claimed in the continuation or divisional application (see 37 CFR 1.63(d)), or (B) with a newly executed oath or declaration naming the correct inventive entity. If an inventor named in a prior application is not an inventor in a continuation or divisional application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(d), the request for filing the continuation or divisional application must be accompanied by a statement requesting the deletion of the name or names of the person or persons who are not inventors of the invention being claimed in the continuation or divisional application (see 37 CFR 1.53(d)(4)).

A continuation or divisional application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b) of a prior application in which a petition (or request) under 37 CFR 1.48 to add an inventor was filed should be filed with a copy of the executed declaration naming the correct inventive entity from the prior application or a newly executed declaration naming the correct inventive entity. A copy of any decision under 37 CFR 1.48 from the prior application is not required to be filed in the continuation or divisional application.

602.06 Non-English Oath or Declaration[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.69. Foreign language oaths and declarations.

(a)Whenever an individual making an oath or declaration cannot understand English, the oath or declaration must be in a language that such individual can understand and shall state that such individual understands the content of any documents to which the oath or declaration relates.

(b)Unless the text of any oath or declaration in a language other than English is in a form provided by the Patent and Trademark Office or in accordance with PCT Rule 4.17(iv), it must be accompanied by an English translation together with a statement that the translation is accurate, except that in the case of an oath or declaration filed under § 1.63, the translation may be filed in the Office no later than two months from the date applicant is notified to file the translation.


37 CFR 1.69 requires that oaths and declarations be in a language which is understood by the individual making the oath or declaration, i.e., a language which the individual comprehends. If the individual comprehends the English language, he or she should preferably use it. If the individual cannot comprehend the English language, any oath or declaration must be in a language which the individual can comprehend. If an individual uses a language other than English for an oath or declaration, the oath or declaration must include a statement that the individual understands the content of any documents to which the oath or declaration relates. If the documents are in a language the individual cannot comprehend, the documents may be explained to him or her so that he or she is able to understand them.

The Office will accept a single non-English language oath or declaration where there are joint inventors, of which only some understand English but all understand the non-English language of the oath or declaration.


603 Supplemental Oath or Declaration[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.67. Supplemental oath or declaration.

(a)The Office may require, or inventors and applicants may submit, a supplemental oath or declaration meeting the requirements of § 1.63 or § 1.162 to correct any deficiencies or inaccuracies present in the earlier filed oath or declaration.

(1)Deficiencies or inaccuracies relating to all the inventors or applicants (§§ 1.42, 1.43, or § 1.47) may be corrected with a supplemental oath or declaration signed by all the inventors or applicants.

(2)Deficiencies or inaccuracies relating to fewer than all of the inventor(s) or applicant(s) (§§ 1.42, 1.43 or § 1.47) may be corrected with a supplemental oath or declaration identifying the entire inventive entity but signed only by the inventor(s) or applicant( s) to whom the error or deficiency relates.

(3)Deficiencies or inaccuracies due to the failure to meet the requirements of § 1.63(c) (e.g., to correct the omission of a mailing address of an inventor) in an oath or declaration may be corrected with an application data sheet in accordance with § 1.76.

(4)Submission of a supplemental oath or declaration or an application data sheet (§ 1.76), as opposed to who must sign the supplemental oath or declaration or an application data sheet, is governed by § 1.33(a)(2) and paragraph (b) of this section.

(b)A supplemental oath or declaration meeting the requirements of § 1.63 must be filed when a claim is presented for matter originally shown or described but not substantially embraced in the statement of invention or claims originally presented or when an oath or declaration submitted in accordance with §

1.53(f) after the filing of the specification and any required drawings specifically and improperly refers to an amendment which includes new matter. No new matter may be introduced into a nonprovisional application after its filing date even if a supplemental oath or declaration is filed. In proper situations, the oath or declaration here required may be made on information and belief by an applicant other than the inventor.

(c)[Reserved]

37 CFR 1.67 requires in the supplemental oath or declaration substantially all the data called for in 37 CFR 1.63 for the original oath or declaration. As to the purpose to be served by the supplemental oath or declaration, the examiner should bear in mind that it cannot be availed of to introduce new matter into an application.

Deficiencies or inaccuracies in an oath or declaration may be corrected by a supplemental oath or declaration. The supplemental oath or declaration must (1) identify the entire inventive entity, and (2) be signed by all the inventors when the correction relates to all the inventors or applicants (37 CFR 1.42, 1.43, or 1.47), or by only those inventor(s) or applicants (37 CFR 1.42, 1.43, or 1.47) to whom the corrections relates. See 37 CFR 1.67(a). A deficiency or inaccuracy relating to information required by 37 CFR 1.63(c) may also be corrected with an application data sheet (37 CFR 1.67(a)(3)). The following examples illustrate how certain deficiencies or inaccuracies in an oath or declaration may be corrected:

Example 1: An application was filed with a declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 executed by inventors A, B, and C. If it is later determined that the citizenship of inventor C was in error, a supplemental declaration identifying inventors A, B, and C may be signed by inventor C alone correcting C’s citizenship.

Example 2: An application was filed with a declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 executed by inventors A, B, and C. If it is later determined that the duty to disclose clause was omitted, a supplemental declaration identifying inventors A, B, and C must be signed by inventors A, B, and C. If separate declarations had been executed by each of the inventors and the duty to disclose clause had been omitted only in the declaration by inventor B, then only inventor B would need to execute a supplemental declaration identifying the entire inventive entity.

Example 3: An application was filed with a declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 executed by inventors A, and B, and the legal representative of deceased inventor C. It is later determined that an error was made in the citizenship of deceased inventor C. A supplemental declaration identifying A, B, and C as the inventors would be required to be signed by the legal representative of deceased inventor C alone correcting C’s citizenship.




Example 4: An application was filed with a declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 executed by inventors A and B. If it is later determined that an error exists in the mailing address of inventor B, the mailing address of inventor B may be corrected by a supplemental declaration identifying the entire inventive entity and signed by inventor B alone, or an application data sheet under 37 CFR 1.76 containing only a change in inventor B’s mailing address.

When an inventor who executed the original declaration is refusing or cannot be found to execute a required supplemental declaration, the requirement for that inventor to sign the supplemental declaration may be suspended or waived in accordance with 37 CFR 1.183. All available joint inventor(s) must sign the supplemental declaration on behalf of themselves, if appropriate, and on behalf of the nonsigning inventor. See MPEP § 409.03(a). If there are no joint inventor( s), then the party with sufficient proprietary interest must sign the supplemental declaration on behalf of the nonsigning inventor. See MPEP § 409.03(b).

A new oath may be required by using form paragraph 6.06.

¶ 6.06 New Oath for Subject Matter Not Originally Claimed

This application presents a claim for subject matter not originally claimed or embraced in the statement of the invention. [1]. A supplemental oath or declaration is required under 37 CFR 1.67. The new oath or declaration must properly identify the application of which it is to form a part, preferably by application number and filing date in the body of the oath or declaration. See MPEP §§ 602.01 and 602.02.

Examiner Note:

Explain new claimed matter in bracket 1. The brief summary of the invention must be commensurate with the claimed invention and may be required to be modified. See MPEP § 608.01(d) and 1302, and 37 CFR 1.73.

603.01Supplemental Oath or Declaration Filed After Allowance

Since the decision in Cutter Co. v. Metropolitan Electric Mfg. Co., 275 F. 158 (2d Cir. 1921), many supplemental oaths and declarations covering the claims in the application have been filed after the applications were allowed. Such oaths and declarations may be filed as a matter of right and when received they will be placed in the file by the Office of Patent Publication, but their receipt will not be acknowledged to the party filing them. They should not be filed or considered as amendments under 37 CFR 1.312, since they make no change in the wording of the papers on file. See MPEP §

714.16.


604 Administration or Execution of Oath[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.66. Officers authorized to administer oaths.


(a) The oath or affirmation may be made before any person within the United States authorized by law to administer oaths. An oath made in a foreign country, may be made 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 shall be proved by a certificate of a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States, or by an 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. The oath shall be attested in all cases in this and other countries, by the proper official seal of the officer before whom the oath or affirmation is made. Such oath or affirmation shall be valid as to execution if it complies with the laws of the State or country where made. When the person before whom the oath or affirmation is made in this country is not provided with a seal, his official character shall be established by competent evidence, as by a certificate from a clerk of a court of record or other proper officer having a seal.

See MPEP § 602.04(a) for foreign executed oath.

604.01 Seal[edit | edit source]

Documents with seals cannot be adequately scanned for retention in an Image File Wrapper, and since the Office maintains patent applications in an image form , the Office strongly encourages the use of declarations rather than oaths. When the person before whom the oath or affirmation is made in this country is not provided with a seal, his or her official character shall be established by competent evidence, as by a certificate from a clerk of a court of record or other proper officer having a seal, except as noted in MPEP § 604.03(a), in which situations no seal is necessary. When the issue concerns the authority of the person administering the oath, the examiner should require proof of authority. Depending on the jurisdiction, the seal may be either embossed or rubber stamped. The latter should not be confused with a stamped legend indicating only the date of expiration of the notary’s commission.

See also MPEP § 602.04(a) on foreign executed oath and seal. In some jurisdictions, the seal of the notary is not required but the official title of the officer must be on the oath. This applies to Alabama, California (certain notaries), Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Virginia.

604.02 Venue[edit | edit source]

That portion of an oath or affidavit indicating where the oath is taken is known as the venue. Where the county and state in the venue agree with the county and state in the seal, no problem arises. If the venue and seal do not correspond in county and state, the jurisdiction of the notary must be determined from statements by the notary appearing on the oath. Venue and notary jurisdiction must correspond or the oath is improper. The oath should show on its face that it was taken within the jurisdiction of the certifying officer or notary. This may be given either in the venue or in the body of the jurat. Otherwise, a new oath or declaration, or a certificate of the notary that the oath was taken within his or her jurisdiction, must be required. Ex parte Delavoye, 1906 C.D. 320, 124 O.G. 626 (Comm’r Pat. 1906); Ex parte Irwin, 1928 C.D. 13, 367 O.G. 701 (Comm’r Pat. 1928).

604.03 (a) Notarial Powers of Some Military Officers[edit | edit source]

Public Law 506 (81st Congress, Second Session) Article 136: (a) The following persons on active duty in the armed forces . . . shall have the general powers of a notary public and of a consul of the United States, in the performance of all notarial acts to be executed by members of any of the armed forces, wherever they may be, and by other persons subject to this code [Uniform Code of Military Justice] outside the continental limits of the United States:

(A)All judge advocates of the Army and Air Force;

(B)All law specialists;

(C)All summary courts-martial;

(D)All adjutants, assistant adjutants, acting adjutants, and personnel adjutants;

(E)All commanding officers of the Navy and Coast Guard;

(F)All staff judge advocates and legal officers, and acting or assistant staff judge advocates and legal officers; and

(G)All other persons designated by regulations of the armed forces or by statute.

(H)The signature without seal of any such person acting as notary, together with the title of his office, shall be prima facie evidence of his authority.

604.04 Consul[edit | edit source]

On Oct. 15, 1981, the “Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents” entered into force between the United States and 28 foreign countries as parties to the Convention. Subsequently, additional countries have become parties to the conventions. See MPEP § 604.04(a).

When the oath is made in a foreign country not a member of the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, the authority of any officer other than a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States authorized to administer oaths must be proved by certificate of a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States. See 37 CFR 1.66, MPEP § 604. This proof may be through an intermediary, e.g., the consul may certify as to the authority and jurisdiction of another official who, in turn, may certify as to the authority and jurisdiction of the officer before whom the oath is taken.

604.04 (a) Consul – Omission of Certificate[edit | edit source]

Where the oath is taken before an officer in a foreign country other than a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States and whose authority is not authenticated or accompanied with an apostille certifying the notary’s authority (see MPEP § 602.04(a)), the application is nevertheless accepted for purposes of examination. The examiner, in the first Office action, should note this informality and require a new properly authenticated oath by an appropriate diplomatic or consular officer, the filing of proper apostille, or a declaration (37 CFR 1.68). The Office no longer returns improperly authenticated oaths for proper authentication.

604.06 By Attorney in Application[edit | edit source]

The language of 37 CFR 1.66 and 35 U.S.C. 115 is such that an attorney in the application is not barred from administering the oath as notary. The Office presumes that an attorney acting as notary is cognizant of the extent of his or her authority and jurisdiction and will not knowingly jeopardize his or her client’s rights by performing an illegal act. If such practice is permissible under the law of the jurisdiction where the oath is administered, then the oath is a valid oath.

The law of the District of Columbia prohibits the administering of oaths by the attorney in the case. If the oath is known to be void because of being administered by the attorney in a jurisdiction where the law holds this to be invalid, the proper action is to require a new oath or declaration and refer the file to the Office of Enrollment and Discipline. (Riegger v. Beierl, 1910 C.D. 12, 150 O.G. 826 (Comm’r Pat. 1910)). See 37 CFR 1.66 and MPEP § 604.



605 Applicant[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.41. Applicant for patent.

(a)A patent is applied for in the name or names of the actual inventor or inventors.

(1) The inventorship of a nonprovisional application is that inventorship set forth in the oath or declaration as prescribed by § 1.63, except as provided for in §§ 1.53(d)(4) and 1.63(d). If an oath or declaration as prescribed by § 1.63 is not filed during the pendency of a nonprovisional application, the inventorship is that inventorship set forth in the application papers filed pursuant to § 1.53(b), unless applicant files a paper, including the processing fee set forth in § 1.17(i), supplying or changing the name or names of the inventor or inventors.
(2) The inventorship of a provisional application is that inventorship set forth in the cover sheet as prescribed by § 1.51(c)(1). If a cover sheet as prescribed by § 1.51(c)(1) is not filed during the pendency of a provisional application, the inventorship is that inventorship set forth in the application papers filed pursuant to § 1.53(c), unless applicant files a paper including the processing fee set forth in § 1.17(q), supplying or changing the name or names of the inventor or inventors.
(3) In a nonprovisional application filed without an oath or declaration as prescribed by § 1.63 or a provisional application filed without a cover sheet as prescribed by § 1.51(c)(1), the name, residence, and citizenship of each person believed to be an actual inventor should be provided when the application papers pursuant to § 1.53(b) or § 1.53(c) are filed.
(4) The inventorship of an international application entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 is that inventorship set forth in the international application, which includes any change effected under PCT Rule 92bis. See § 1.497(d) and (f) for filing an oath or declaration naming an inventive entity different from the inventive entity named in the international application, or if a change to the inventive entity has been effected under PCT Rule 92bis subsequent to the execution of any declaration filed under PCT Rule 4.17(iv) (§ 1.48(f)(1) does not apply to an international application entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371).
(b) Unless the contrary is indicated the word “applicant” when used in these sections refers to the inventor or joint inventors who are applying for a patent, or to the person mentioned in §§ 1.42, 1.43 or 1.47 who is applying for a patent in place of the inventor.
(c) Any person authorized by the applicant may physically or electronically deliver an application for patent to the Office on behalf of the inventor or inventors, but an oath or declaration for the application (§ 1.63) can only be made in accordance with § 1.64.
(d) A showing may be required from the person filing the application that the filing was authorized where such authorization comes into question.


37 CFR 1.45. Joint inventors.

(a) Joint inventors must apply for a patent jointly and each must make the required oath or declaration; neither of them alone, nor less than the entire number, can apply for a patent for an invention invented by them jointly, except as provided in § 1.47.

(b) Inventors may apply for a patent jointly even though

(1) They did not physically work together or at the same time,
(2) Each inventor did not make the same type or amount of contribution, or
(3) Each inventor did not make a contribution to the subject matter of every claim of the application.

(c) If multiple inventors are named in a nonprovisional application, each named inventor must have made a contribution, individually or jointly, to the subject matter of at least one claim of the application and the application will be considered to be a joint application under 35 U.S.C. 116. If multiple inventors are named in a provisional application, each named inventor must have made a contribution, individually or jointly, to the subject matter disclosed in the provisional application and the provisional application will be considered to be a joint application under 35 U.S.C. 116.


37 CFR 1.41 and 37 CFR 1.53 were amended effective December 1, 1997, to remove the requirement that the name(s) of the inventor(s) be identified in the application papers in order to accord the application a filing date. 37 CFR 1.41(a)(1) now defines the inventorship of a nonprovisional application as that inventorship set forth in the oath or declaration filed to comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.63, except as provided for in 37 CFR 1.53(d)(4) and 37 CFR 1.63(d). The oath or declaration may be filed on the filing date of the application or on a later date. If an oath or declaration is not filed during the pendency of a nonprovisional application, the inventorship is that inventorship set forth in the application papers filed pursuant to 37 CFR 1.53(b), unless an applicant files a paper under 37 CFR 1.41(a)(1) accompanied by the processing fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(i) supplying or changing the name or names of the inventor or inventors.

The name, residence, and citizenship of each person believed to be an actual inventor should be provided as an application identifier when application papers under 37 CFR 1.53(b) are filed without an oath or declaration, or application papers under 37 CFR 1.53(c) are filed without a cover sheet. See 37 CFR 1.41(a)(3). Naming the individuals known to be inventors or the persons believed to be the inventors may enable the Office to identify the application, if applicant does not know the application number. Where no inventor(s) is known and applicant cannot name a person believed to be an inventor on filing, the Office requests that an alphanumeric identifier be submitted for the application. The use of very short identifiers should be avoided to prevent confusion. Without supplying at least a unique identifying name the Office may have no ability or only a delayed ability to match any papers submitted after filing of the application and before issuance of an identifying application number with the application file. Any identifier used that is not an inventor’s name should be specific, alphanumeric characters of reasonable length, and should be presented in such a manner that it is clear to application processing personnel what the identifier is and where it is to be found. Failure to apprise the Office of an application identifier such as the names of the inventors or the alphanumeric identifier being used may result in applicants having to resubmit papers that could not be matched with the application and proof of the earlier receipt of such papers where submission was time dependent.

For correction of inventorship, see MPEP § 201.03.

This section concerns filing by the actual inventor. If the application is filed by another, see MPEP § 409.03.

For assignments of application by inventor, see MPEP § 301. For an inventor who is dead or insane, see MPEP § 409.

605.01 Applicant's Citizenship[edit | edit source]

The statute (35 U.S.C. 115) requires an applicant, in a nonprovisional application, to state his or her citizenship. Where an applicant is not a citizen of any country, a statement to this effect is accepted as satisfying the statutory requirement, but a statement as to citizenship applied for or first papers taken out looking to future citizenship in this (or any other) country does not meet the requirement.

605.02 Applicant’s Residence[edit | edit source]

Applicant's place of residence, that is, the city and either state or foreign country, is required to be included in the oath or declaration in a nonprovisional application for compliance with 37 CFR 1.63 unless it is included in an application data sheet (37 CFR 1.76). In the case of an applicant who is in one of the U.S. Armed Services, a statement to that effect is sufficient as to residence. For change of residence, see MPEP § 719.02(b). Applicant’s residence must be included on the cover sheet for a provisional application unless it is included in an application data sheet (37 CFR 1.76).

If the residence is not included in the executed oath or declaration filed under 37 CFR 1.63, the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) will normally so indicate on a “Notice of Informal Application,” so as to require the submission of the residence information within a set period for reply. If the examiner notes that the residence has not been included in the oath or declaration or in an application data sheet, form paragraphs 6.05 (reproduced in MPEP § 605.01) and 6.05.02 should be used.

605.03 Applicant’s Mailing or Post Office Address[edit | edit source]

Each applicant’s mailing or post office address is required to be supplied on the oath or declaration, if not stated in an application data sheet. Applicant’s mailing address means that address at which he or she customarily receives his or her mail. Either applicant’s home or business address is acceptable as the mailing address. The mailing address should include the ZIP Code designation. Since the term “post office address” as previously used in 37 CFR 1.63 may be confusing, effective November 7, 2000, 37 CFR 1.63was amended to use the term “mailing address” instead.

The object of requiring each applicant’s mailing address is to enable the Office to communicate directly with the applicant if desired; hence, the address of the attorney with instruction to send communications to applicant in care of the attorney is not sufficient.

In situations where an inventor does not execute the oath or declaration and the inventor is not deceased, such as in an application filed under 37 CFR 1.47, the inventor’s most recent home address must be given to enable the Office to communicate directly with the inventor as necessary.

If an oath or declaration was filed prior to December 1, 1997 and the post office address was incomplete or omitted from the oath or declaration, “Notice of Informal Application” or form paragraph 6.09.01 may be used to notify applicant of the deficiency of the post office address.

Oaths or declarations filed on or after December 1, 1997 must include the mailing or post office address of each inventor. Effective November 7, 2000 the mailing address of each inventor may be provided in an application data sheet. See 37 CFR 1.63(c) and 37 CFR 1.76. In an application filed before November 29, 2000, the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) will normally indicate the omission of an inventor’s mailing address on a “Notice of Informal Application,” requiring a new oath or declaration when the form is sent out with an Office action. For utility and plant applications filed on or after November 29, 2000, applicant’s mailing address may be needed for any patent application publication. If the mailing address of any inventor has been omitted, OIPE will notify applicant of the omission and require the omitted mailing address in response to the notice. If the examiner notes that the mailing or post office address has not been included in an oath or declaration filed on or after December 1, 1997, and the mailing address is not provided in an application data sheet, form paragraphs 6.05 (reproduced in MPEP § 605.01) and 6.05.19 may be used to notify applicant that the mailing or post office address has been omitted from the oath or declaration.

605.04(a) Applicant’s Signature and Name[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.64. Person making oath or declaration.

(a) The oath or declaration (§ 1.63), including any supplemental oath or declaration (§ 1.67), must be made by all of the actual inventors except as provided for in §§ 1.42, 1.43, 1.47, or § 1.67.

(b) If the person making the oath or declaration or any supplemental oath or declaration is not the inventor (§§ 1.42, 1.43, 1.47, or § 1.67), the oath or declaration shall state the relationship of the person to the inventor, and, upon information and belief, the facts which the inventor is required to state. If the person signing the oath or declaration is the legal representative of a deceased inventor, the oath or declaration shall also state that the person is a legal representative and the citizenship, residence, and mailing address of the legal representative.

I.EXECUTION OF OATHS OR DECLARATIONS OF PATENT APPLICATIONS[edit | edit source]

United States patent applications which have not been prepared and executed in accordance with the requirements of Title 35 of the United States Code and Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations may be abandoned. Although the statute and the rules have been in existence for many years, the Office continues to receive a number of applications which have been improperly executed and/or filed. Since the improper execution and/or filing of patent applications can ultimately result in a loss of rights, it is appropriate to emphasize the importance of proper execution and filing.

There is no requirement that a signature be made in any particular manner. See MPEP § 605.04(d). If applicant signs his or her name using non-English characters, then such a signature will be accepted.

Applications filed through the Electronic Filing System must also contain an oath or declaration personally signed by the inventor.

It is improper for an applicant to sign an oath or declaration which is not attached to or does not identify a specification and/or claims.

Attached does not necessarily mean that all the papers must be literally fastened. It is sufficient that the specification, including the claims, and the oath or declaration are physically located together at the time of execution. Physical connection is not required.

Copies of declarations are encouraged. See MPEP § 502.01, § 502.02, § 602, and § 602.05(a).

An oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 by each actual inventor must be presented. While each inventor need not execute the same oath or declaration, each oath or declaration executed by an inventor must contain a complete listing of all inventors so as to clearly indicate what each inventor believes to be the appropriate inventive entity.

The provisions of 35 U.S.C. 363 for filing an international application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) which designates the United States and thereby has the effect of a regularly filed United States national application, except as provided in 35 U.S.C. 102(e), are somewhat different than the provisions of 35 U.S.C. 111. The oath or declaration requirements for an international application before the Patent and Trademark Office are set forth in 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4) and 37 CFR 1.497.

37 CFR 1.52(c)(1) states that “[a]ny interlineation, erasure, cancellation or other alteration of the application papers filed must be made before the signing of any accompanying oath or declaration pursuant to § 1.63 referring to those application papers and should be dated and initialed or signed by the applicant on the same sheet of paper. Application papers containing alterations made after the signing of an oath or declaration referring to those application papers must be supported by a supplemental oath or declaration under § 1.67. In either situation, a substitute specification (§ 1.125) is required if the application papers do not comply with paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section.” 37 CFR 1.52(c)(2) states that after the signing of the oath or declaration referring to the application papers, amendments may only be made in the manner provided by 37 CFR 1.121. An application submitted through the electronic filing system (EFS) may include scanned images of a declaration executed by the inventor. The reformatting of an application in submitting the specification of the application using EFS, is not an “alteration of the application papers” requiring a substitute oath or declaration. It is acceptable to print out a copy of the specification prepared using traditional word processing software for the inventor to review as he or she signs the oath or declaration, and then cut and paste from the electronic document to prepare the EFS version of the specification and to submit a scanned copy of the declaration with the EFS submission.

In summary, it is emphasized that the application filed must be the application executed by the applicant and it is improper for anyone, including counsel, to alter, rewrite, or partly fill in any part of the application, including the oath or declaration, after execution of the oath or declaration by the applicant. This provision should particularly be brought to the attention of foreign applicants by their United States counsel since the United States law and practice in this area may differ from that in other countries.

Any changes made in ink in the application or oath prior to signing should be initialed and dated by the applicants prior to execution of the oath or declaration. The Office will not consider whether noninitialed and/or nondated alterations were made before or after signing of the oath or declaration but will require a new oath or declaration. Form paragraph 6.02.01 may be used to call noninitialed and/or nondated alterations to applicant’s attention.

The signing and execution by the applicant of oaths or declarations in certain continuation or divisional applications may be omitted. See MPEP § 201.06, § 201.07, and § 602.05(a).

For the signature on a reply, see MPEP § 714.01(a) to § 714.01(d).

II. EXECUTION OF OATH OR DECLARATION ON BEHALF OF INVENTOR[edit | edit source]

The oath or declaration required by 35 U.S.C. 115 must be signed by all of the actual inventors, except under limited circumstances. 35

U.S.C. 116 provides that joint inventors can sign on behalf of an inventor who cannot be reached or refuses to join. See MPEP § 409.03(a). 35 U.S.C. 117 provides that the legal representative of a deceased or incapacitated inventor can sign on behalf of the inventor. If a legal representative executes an oath or declaration on behalf of a deceased inventor, the legal representative must state that the person is a legal representative and provide the citizenship, residence, and mailing address of the legal representative. See 37 CFR 1.64, MPEP §.. 409.01 and § 409.02. 35 U.S.C. 118 provides that a party with proprietary interest in the invention claimed in an application can sign on behalf of the inventor, if the inventor cannot be reached or refuses to join in the filing of the application. See MPEP § 409.03(b) and § 409.03(f). The oath or declaration may not be signed by an attorney on behalf of the inventor, even if the attorney has been given a power of attorney to do so. Opinion of Hon. Edward Bates, 10 Op. Atty. Gen. 137 (1861). See also Staeger v. Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, 189 USPQ 272 (D.D.C. 1976) and In re Striker, 182 USPQ 507 (PTO Solicitor 1973) (In each case, an oath or declaration signed by the attorney on behalf of the inventor was defective because the attorney did not have a proprietary interest in the invention.).

605.04(b) One Full Given Name Required[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.63(a)(2) requires that each inventor be identified by full name, including the family name, and at least one given name without abbreviation together with any other given name or initial in the oath or declaration. For example, if the applicant's full name is “John Paul Doe,” either “John P. Doe” or “J. Paul Doe” is acceptable.

A situation may arise where an inventor’s full given name is a singular letter, or is a plurality of singular letters. For example, an inventor’s full given name may be “J. Doe” or “J.P. Doe,” i.e., the “J” and the “P” are not initials. In such a situation, identifying the inventor by his or her family name and the singular letter(s) is acceptable, since that is the inventor’s full given name. In order to avoid an objection under 37 CFR1.63(a)(2), applicant should point out in the oath or declaration that the singular lettering set forth is the inventor’s given name. A statement to this effect, accompanying the filing of the oath or declaration, will also be acceptable. Without such a statement, the examiner should treat the singular letter(s) as an abbreviation of the inventor’s given name and should object to the oath or declaration using the appropriate form paragraphs. Applicant may overcome this objection by filing a responsive statement that the singular letter(s) is/are the inventor’s given name(s).

In an application where the name is typewritten with a middle name or initial, but the signature does not contain such middle name or initial, the typewritten version of the name will be used as the inventor’s name for the purposes of the application and any patent that may issue from the application. No objection should be made in this instance, since the inventor’s signature may differ from his or her legal name. Except for correction of a typographical or transliteration error in the spelling of an inventor’s name, a request to have the name changed from the typewritten version to the signed version or any other corrections in the name of the inventor(s) will not be entertained, unless accompanied by a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 together with an appropriate petition fee. Since amendments are not permitted after the payment of the issue fee (37 CFR 1.312), a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 to change the name of the inventor cannot be granted if filed after the payment of the issue fee. The petition should be directed to the attention of the Office of Petitions. Upon granting of the petition, if the application is maintained in paper, the left margin of the original oath or declaration should be marked in red ink “See paper No. ___ for correction of the inventor’s name,” and the application should be sent to the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) for correction of its records, unless the application is an application with an application data sheet (e.g., an 09/ series application), in which case the Office of Petitions will correct the Office computer records and print a new bibliographic data sheet. If the application is assigned, it will be forwarded by OIPE or the Office of Petitions to the Assignment Division for a change in the assignment record.

When a typographical or transliteration error in the spelling of an inventor’s name is discovered during pendency of an application, a petition is not required, nor is a new oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63needed. However, applicants are strongly encouraged to use an application data sheet such that any patent to issue will reflect the correct spelling of the inventor’s name. Without an application data sheet with the corrected spelling, any patent to issue is less likely to reflect the correct spelling since the spelling of the inventor’s name is taken from the oath or declaration, or any subsequently filed application data sheet.

If the error is not detected until after the payment of the issue fee, because amendments are not permitted after the payment of the issue fee, either (A) the application must be withdrawn from issue under 37 CFR 1.313(c)(2) and a request to correct the spelling of the inventor’s name submitted with a request for continued examination (RCE) under 37 CFR 1.114, or (B) a certificate of correction must be filed after the patent issues requesting correction of the spelling of the inventor’s name.

When any correction or change is effected, the Office computer records must be changed. If the application is maintained in paper, the change should be noted on the original oath or declaration by writing in red ink in the left column “See Paper No. __ for inventorship changes.” See MPEP §§ 201.03 and 605.04(g). If the application is an Image File Wrapper (IFW) application, after the Office records are corrected, a new bib-data sheet must be printed and added to the IFW.

605.04(c) Inventor Changes Name[edit | edit source]

In cases where an inventor’s name has been changed after the application has been filed and the inventor desires to change his or her name on the application, he or she must submit a petition under 37 CFR 1.182. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to submit an application data sheet (37 CFR 1.76) showing the new name. The petition should be directed to the attention of the Office of Petitions. The petition must include an appropriate petition fee and a statement signed by the inventor setting forth both names and the procedure whereby the change of name was effected, or a copy of the court order.

Since amendments are not permitted after the payment of the issue fee (37 CFR 1.312), a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 to change the name of the inventor cannot be granted if filed after the payment of the issue fee.

If an application data sheet is not submitted, the petition may still be granted, but the patent may not reflect the correct spelling of the inventor’s name.

If the petition is granted, if the application is maintained in paper with a file jacket label (i.e., the application is an 08/ or earlier series application), the original declaration must be marked in red ink, in the left margin “See paper No. _ for correction of inventor name” and the application should be sent to the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) for change of name on the file wrapper and in the PALM database. If the petition is granted in an Image File Wrapper (IFW) application or if the application is an 09/ or later series application, the spelling of the inventor’s name should be changed in the Office computer records and a new PALM bib-data sheet should be printed. If the application is assigned, applicant should submit a corrected assignment document along with a cover sheet and the recording fee as set forth in 37 CFR 1.21(h) to the Assignment Division for a change in the assignment record.

605.04(d) Applicant Unable to Write[edit | edit source]

If the applicant is unable to write, his or her mark as affixed to the oath or declaration must be attested to by a witness. In the case of the oath, the notary’s signature to the jurat is sufficient to authenticate the mark.

605.04(e) May Use Title With Signature[edit | edit source]

It is permissible for an applicant to use a title of nobility or other title, such as “Dr.”, in connection with his or her signature. The title will not appear in the printed patent.

605.04(f) Signature on Joint Applications - Order of Names[edit | edit source]

The order of names of joint patentees in the heading of the patent is taken from the order in which the typewritten names appear in the original oath or declaration. Care should therefore be exercised in selecting the preferred order of the typewritten names of the joint inventors, before filing, as requests for subsequent shifting of the names would entail changing numerous records in the Office. Since the particular order in which the names appear is of no consequence insofar as the legal rights of the joint applicants are concerned, no changes will be made except when a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 is granted. The petition should be directed to the attention of the Office of Petitions. The petition to change the order of names must be signed by either the attorney or agent of record or all the applicants. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit an application data sheet showing the new order of inventor names to ensure appropriate printing of the inventor names in any patent to issue. It is suggested that all typewritten and signed names appearing in the application papers should be in the same order as the typewritten names in the oath or declaration. When the Office of Petitions grants a petition to change the order of the names of the inventors, the Office of Petitions will change the order of the names in the Office computer records and print a new bib-data sheet, unless the application is an 08/ or earlier series application, in which case, the application should be sent to the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) for correction on the file wrapper label and the PALM database. Since a change to the order of the inventor’s names is an amendment to the application and amendments are not permitted after the payment of the issue fee (37 CFR 1.312), a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 to change the order of the inventor’s name cannot be granted if filed after the payment of the issue fee.

In those instances where the joint applicants file separate oaths or declarations, the order of names is taken from the order in which the several oaths or declarations appear in the application papers unless a different order is requested at the time of filing.

605.04(g) Correction of Inventorship[edit | edit source]

When the request is granted to add or delete inventors under 37 CFR 1.48, the change should be noted in red ink in the left margin of the original oath or declaration , if the application is maintained in paper. The notation should read "See Paper No. ____ for inventorship changes." For Image File Wrapper (IFW) processing, see IFW Manual. The application (other than 09/ or later series applications) should be sent to the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) for correction on the file wrapper label and the PALM database regarding the inventorship. A brief explanation on an "Application Division Data Base Routing Slip" (available from the Technology Center (TC) technical support staff) should accompany the application file to OIPE. For 09/ or later series applications, the examiner should have the TC’s technical support staff enter the correction in the PALM database and print a new PALM bib-data sheet, which will then be placed in the file wrapper , if correction of the database and printing of a new PALM bib-data sheet was not already done by the Office of Petitions.

605.05 Administrator, Executor, or Other Legal Representative[edit | edit source]

In an application filed by a legal representative of the inventor, the specification should not be written in the first person.

For prosecution by administrator or executor, see MPEP § 409.01(a).

For prosecution by heirs, see MPEP § 409.01(a) and § 409.01(d).

For prosecution by representative of legally incapacitated inventor, see MPEP § 409.02.

For prosecution by other than inventor, see MPEP § 409.03.

605.07 Joint Inventors[edit | edit source]

35 U.S.C. 116. Inventors

When an invention is made by two or more persons jointly, they shall apply for patent jointly and each make the required oath, except as otherwise provided in this title. Inventors may apply for a patent jointly even though (1) they did not physically work together or at the same time, (2) each did not make the same type or amount of contribution, or (3) each did not make a contribution to the subject matter of every claim of the patent.

35 U.S.C. 116, as amended by Public Law 98-622, recognizes the realities of modern team research. A research project may include many inventions. Some inventions may have contributions made by individuals who are not involved in other, related inventions.

35 U.S.C. 116 allows inventors to apply for a patent jointly even though

(A)they did not physically work together or at the same time,

(B)each did not make the same type or amount of contribution, or

(C)each did not make a contribution to the subject matter of every claim of the patent.

Items (A) and (B) adopt the rationale stated in decisions such as Monsanto Co. v. Kamp, 269 F. Supp. 818, 824, 154 USPQ 259, 262 (D.D.C. 1967).

Item (C) adopts the rationale of cases such as SAB Industrie AB v. Bendix Corp., 199 USPQ 95 (E.D. Va. 1978).

With regard to item (A), see Kimberly-Clark Corp. v. Procter & Gamble Distributing Co., 973 F.2d 911, 916-17, 23 USPQ 2d 1921, 1925-26 (Fed. Cir. 1992) (some quantum of collaboration or connection is required in order for persons to be “joint” inventors under 35 U.S.C. 116, and thus individuals who are completely ignorant of what each other has done until years after their individual independent efforts cannot be considered joint inventors).

Like other patent applications, jointly filed applications are subject to the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 121 that an application be directed to only a single invention. If more than one invention is included in the application, the examiner may require the application to be restricted to one of the inventions. In such a case, a "divisional" application complying with 35 U.S.C. 120 would be entitled to the benefit of the earlier filing date of the original application.

It is possible that different claims of an application or patent may have different dates of inventions even though the patent covers only one independent and distinct invention within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. 121. When necessary, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office or a court may inquire of the patent applicant or owner concerning the inventors and the invention dates for the subject matter of the various claims.

GUIDELINES

37 CFR 1.45. Joint inventors.

(b)Inventors may apply for a patent jointly even though

(1)They did not physically work together or at the same time,

(2)Each inventor did not make the same type or amount of contribution, or

(3)Each inventor did not make a contribution to the subject matter of every claim of the application.

(c)If multiple inventors are named in a nonprovisional application, each named inventor must have made a contribution, individually or jointly, to the subject matter of at least one claim of the application and the application will be considered to be a joint application under 35 U.S.C. 116. If multiple inventors are named in a provisional application, each named inventor must have made a contribution, individually or jointly, to the subject matter disclosed in the provisional application and the provisional application will be considered to be a joint application under 35 U.S.C. 116.

Since provisional applications may be filed without claims, 37 CFR 1.45(c) states that each inventor named in a joint provisional application must have made a contribution to the subject matter disclosed in the application.

The significant features resulting from the amendments to 35 U.S.C. 116 by Public Law 98-622 are the following:

(A)The joint inventors do not have to separately "sign the application," but only need apply for the patent jointly and make the required oath or declaration by signing the same; this is a clarification, but not a change in current practice.

(B)Inventors may apply for a patent jointly even though "they did not work together or at the same time," thereby clarifying (a) that it is not necessary that the inventors physically work together on a project, and (b) that one inventor may "take a step at one time, the other an approach at different times."

(C)Inventors may apply for a patent jointly even though "each did not make the same type or amount of contribution," thereby clarifying the "fact that each of the inventors play a different role and that the contribution of one may not be as great as that of another does not detract from the fact that the invention is joint, if each makes some original contribution, though partial, to the final solution of the problem."

(D)Inventors may apply for a patent jointly even though "each did not make a contribution to the subject matter of every claim of the patent."

(E)Inventors may apply for a patent jointly as long as each inventor made a contribution, i.e., was an inventor or joint inventor, of the subject matter of at least one claim of the patent; there is no requirement that all the inventors be joint inventors of the subject matter of any one claim.

(F)If an application by joint inventors includes more than one independent and distinct invention, restriction may be required with the possible result of a necessity to change the inventorship named in the application if the elected invention was not the invention of all the originally named inventors.

(G)The amendment to 35 U.S.C. 116 increases the likelihood that different claims of an application or patent may have different dates of invention; when necessary the Office or court may inquire of the patent applicant or owner concerning the inventors and the invention dates for the subject matter of the various claims.

Pending nonprovisional applications will be permitted to be amended by complying with 37 CFR 1.48to add claims to inventions by inventors not named when the application was filed as long as such inventions were disclosed in the application as filed since 37 CFR 1.48 permits correction of inventorship where the correct inventor or inventors are not named in an application for patent through error without any deceptive intention on the part of the person being added as an inventor. This is specially covered in 37 CFR 1.48(c).

Under 35 U.S.C. 116, an examiner may reject claims under 35 U.S.C. 102(f) only in circumstances where a named inventor is not the inventor of at least one claim in the application; no rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(f) is appropriate if a named inventor made a contribution to the invention defined in any claim of the application.

Under 35 U.S.C. 116, considered in conjunction with 35 U.S.C. 103(c), a rejection may be appropriate under 35 U.S.C. 102(f)/103 where the subject matter, i.e., prior art, and the claimed invention were not owned by, or subject to an obligation of assignment to, the same person at the time the invention was made.

Applicants are responsible for correcting, and are required to correct, the inventorship in compliance with 37 CFR 1.48 when the application is amended to change the claims so that one (or more) of the named inventors is no longer an inventor of the subject matter of a claim remaining in the application.

In requiring restriction in an application filed by joint inventors, the examiner should remind applicants of the necessity to correct the inventorship pursuant to 37 CFR 1.48 if an invention is elected and the claims to the invention of one or more inventors are canceled.

If an application is filed with joint inventors, the examiner should assume that the subject matter of the various claims was commonly owned at the time the inventions covered therein were made, unless there is evidence to the contrary. If inventors of subject matter, not commonly owned at the time of the later invention, file a joint application, applicants have an obligation pursuant to 37 CFR 1.56 to point out the inventor and invention dates of each claim and the lack of common ownership at the time the later invention was made in order that the examiner may consider the applicability of 35 U.S.C. 102(e)/103, 35 U.S.C. 102(f)/103 or 35 U.S.C. 102(g)/103. The examiner should assume, unless there is evidence to the contrary, that applicants are complying with their duty of disclosure. It should be pointed out that 35 U.S.C. 119(a) benefit may be claimed to any foreign application as long as the U.S. named inventor was the inventor of the foreign application invention and 35 U.S.C. 119(a)-(d) requirements are met. Where two or more foreign applications are combined in a single U.S. application, to take advantage of the changes to 35 U.S.C. 103 or 35 U.S.C. 116, the U.S. application may claim benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119(a) to each of the foreign applications provided all the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 119(a)-(d) are met. One of the conditions for benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119(a) is that the foreign application must be for “the same invention” as the application in the United States. Therefore, a claim in the U.S. application which relies on the combination of prior foreign applications may not be entitled to the benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119(a) if the subject matter of the claim is not sufficiently disclosed in the prior foreign application. Cf. Studiengesellschaft Kohle m.b.H. v. Shell Oil Co., 112 F.3d 1561, 42 USPQ2d 1674 (Fed. Cir. 1997). For example:

If foreign applicant A invents X and files a foreign application; foreign applicant B invents Y and files separate foreign application. A+B combine inventions X+Y and A and B are proper joint inventors under 35 U.S.C. 116 and file U.S. application to X+Y. The U.S. application may claim benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119(a) to each of the for eign applications provided the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 119(a)-(d) are met.


606 Title of Invention[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.72. Title and abstract.

(a)The title of the invention may not exceed 500 characters in length and must be as short and specific as possible. Characters that cannot be captured and recorded in the Office’s automated information systems may not be reflected in the Office’s records in such systems or in documents created by the Office. Unless the title is supplied in an application data sheet (§ 1.76), the title of the invention should appear as a heading on the first page of the specification.


The title of the invention should be placed at the top of the first page of the specification unless it is provided in the application data sheet (see 37 CFR 1.76). The title should be brief but technically accurate and descriptive and should contain fewer than 500 characters. Inasmuch as the words “new,” “improved,” “improvement of,” and “improvement in” are not considered as part of the title of an invention, these words should not be included at the beginning of the title of the invention and will be deleted when the Office enters the title into the Office’s computer records, and when any patent issues. Similarly, the articles “a,” “an,” and “the” should not be included as the first words of the title of the invention and will be deleted when the Office enters the title into the Office’s computer records, and when any patent issues.

606.01 Examiner May Require Change in Title[edit | edit source]

Where the title is not descriptive of the invention claimed, the examiner should require the substitution of a new title that is clearly indicative of the invention to which the claims are directed.

This may result in slightly longer titles, but the loss in brevity of title will be more than offset by the gain in its informative value in indexing, classifying, searching, etc. If a satisfactory title is not supplied by the applicant, the examiner may, at the time of allowance, change the title by examiner’s amendment.



607 Filing Fee[edit | edit source]

Patent application filing fees are set in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 41 and are listed in 37 CFR 1.16.

I. BASIC FILING, SEARCH, AND EXAMINATION FEES[edit | edit source]

For nonprovisional applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) on or after December 8, 2004 (including reissue applications), the following fees are required: basic filing fee; search fee; examination fee; application size fee, if applicable (see subsection II. below); and excess claims fees, if applicable (see subsection III. below).

The basic filing, search and examination fees are due on filing of the nonprovisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a). These fees may be paid on a date later than the filing date of the application provided they are paid within the time period set forth in 37 CFR 1.53(f) and include the surcharge set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(f). For applications filed on or after July 1, 2005, which have been accorded a filing date under 37 CFR 1.53(b) or (d), if any of the basic filing fee, the search fee, or the examination fee are paid on a date later than the filing date of the application, the surcharge under 37 CFR 1.16(f) is required.

The basic filing fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(d) is due on filing of the provisional application, but may be paid later, if paid within the time period set forth in 37 CFR 1.53(g) and accompanied by payment of a surcharge as set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(g).

II. APPLICATION SIZE FEE[edit | edit source]

The Consolidated Appropriations Act also provides for an application size fee. 37 CFR 1.16(s) sets forth the application size fee for any application (including any provisional applications and any reissue applications) filed under 35 U.S.C. 111 on or after December 8, 2004 the specification (including claims) and drawings of which, excluding a sequence listing or computer program listing filed in an electronic medium in compliance with the rules (see 37 CFR 1.52(f)), exceed 100 sheets of paper. The application size fee does not apply to any applications filed before December 8, 2004. The application size fee applies for each additional 50 sheets or fraction thereof over 100 sheets of paper. Any sequence listing in an electronic medium in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52(e) and 37 CFR 1.821(c) or (e), and any computer program listing filed in an electronic medium in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52(e) and 1.96, will be excluded when determining the application size fee required by 37 CFR 1.16(s).

For purposes of determining the application size fee required by 37 CFR 1.16(s), for an application the specification (including claims) and drawings of which, excluding any sequence listing in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52(e) and 37 CFR 1.821(c) or (e), and any computer program listing filed in an electronic medium in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52(e) and 37 CFR 1.96, are submitted in whole or in part on an electronic medium other than the Office electronic filing system, each three kilobytes of content submitted on an electronic medium shall be counted as a sheet of paper. See 37 CFR 1.52(f)(1).

The paper size equivalent of the specification (including claims) and drawings of an application submitted via the Office electronic filing system will be considered to be seventy five percent of the number of sheets of paper present in the specification (including claims) and drawings of the application when entered into the Office file wrapper after being rendered by the Office electronic filing system for purposes of computing the application size fee required by 37 CFR 1.16(s). Any sequence listing in compliance with 37 CFR 1.821(c) or (e), and any computer program listing in compliance with 37 CFR 1.96, submitted via the Office electronic filing system will be excluded when determining the application size fee required by 37 CFR 1.16(s) if the listing is submitted in American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) text as part of an associated file of the application. See 37 CFR 1.52(f)(2). Sequence listings or computer program listings submitted via the Office electronic filing system in Portable Document Format (PDF) as part of the specification or as Tagg(ed) Image File Format (TIFF) drawing files would not be excluded when determining the application size fee required by 37 CFR 1.16(s).

For international applications entering the national stage where the basic national fee was not paid before December 8, 2004, see 37 CFR 1.492(j).

III. EXCESS CLAIMS FEES[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.16(h) sets forth the excess claims fee for each independent claim in excess of three. 37 CFR 1.16(i) sets forth the excess claims fee for each claim (whether independent or dependent) in excess of twenty. The Consolidated Appropriations Act provides that the excess claims fees specified in 35 U.S.C. 41(a)(2) shall apply only as to those claims (independent or dependent) that, after taking into account any claims that have been canceled, are in excess of the number of claims for which the excess claims fee specified in 35 U.S.C. 41 was paid before December 8, 2004. Thus, the Office will charge the excess claims fees specified in 37 CFR 1.16(h) and (i) if an applicant in an application filed before and pending on or after December 8, 2004, adds a claim (independent or total) in excess of the number of claims (independent or total) for which the excess claims fee was previously paid (under the current or previous fee schedule). The excess claims fees specified in 37 CFR 1.16(h) and (i) apply to any excess claims fee paid on or after December 8, 2004, regardless of the filing date of the application and regardless of the date on which the claim necessitating the excess claims fee payment was added to the application.

The excess claims fees specified in 37 CFR 1.16(h) and (i) also apply to all reissue applications pending on or after December 8, 2004. Under 35 U.S.C. 41(a)(2) as amended by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, the claims in the original patent are not taken into account in determining the excess claims fee for a reissue application. The excess claims fees specified in 37 CFR 1.16(h) and (i) are required for each independent claim in excess of three that is presented in a reissue application on or after December 8, 2004, and for each claim (whether independent or dependent) in excess of twenty that is presented in a reissue application on or after December 8, 2004.

Fees for a proper multiple dependent claim are calculated based on the number of claims to which the multiple dependent claim refers, 37 CFR 1.75(c), and a separate fee is required in each application containing a proper multiple dependent claim. See 37 CFR 1.16(j). For an improper multiple dependent claim, the fee charged is that charged for a single dependent claim. See MPEP § 608.01(n) for multiple dependent claims.

Upon submission of an amendment (whether entered or not) affecting the claims, payment of fees for those claims in excess of the number previously paid for is required.

Amendments before the first action, or not filed in reply to an Office action, presenting additional claims in excess of the number already paid for, not accompanied by the full additional fee due, will not be entered in whole or in part and applicant will be so advised. Such amendments filed in reply to an Office action will be regarded as not responsive thereto and the practice set forth in MPEP § 714.03 will be followed.

The additional fees, if any, due with an amendment are calculated on the basis of the claims (total and independent) which would be present, if the amendment were entered. The amendment of a claim, unless it changes a dependent claim to an independent claim or adds to the number of claims referred to in a multiple dependent claim, and the replacement of a claim by a claim of the same type, unless it is a multiple dependent claim which refers to more prior claims, do not require any additional fees.

For purposes of determining the fee due the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a claim will be treated as dependent if it contains reference to one or more other claims in the application. A claim determined to be dependent by this test will be entered if the fee paid reflects this determination.

Any claim which is in dependent form but which is so worded that it, in fact, is not a proper dependent claim, as for example it does not include every limitation of the claim on which it depends, will be required to be canceled as not being a proper dependent claim; and cancellation of any further claim depending on such a dependent claim will be similarly required. The applicant may thereupon amend the claims to place them in proper dependent form, or may redraft them as independent claims, upon payment of any necessary additional fee.

After a requirement for restriction, nonelected claims will be included in determining the fees due in connection with a subsequent amendment unless such claims are canceled.

An amendment canceling claims accompanying the papers constituting the application will be effective to diminish the number of claims to be considered in calculating the filing fees to be paid. A preliminary amendment filed concurrently with a response to a Notice To File Missing Parts of Application that required the fees set forth in 37 CFR 1.16, which preliminary amendment cancels or adds claims, will be taken into account in determining the appropriate fees due in response to the Notice To File Missing Parts of Application. No refund will be made for claims being canceled in the response that have already been paid for.

The additional fees, if any, due with an amendment are required prior to any consideration of the amendment by the examiner.

Money paid in connection with the filing of a proposed amendment will not be refunded by reason of the nonentry of the amendment. However, unentered claims will not be counted when calculating the fee due in subsequent amendments.

Amendments affecting the claims cannot serve as the basis for granting any refund. See MPEP § 607.02 subsection V for refund of excess claims fees.

Excess claims fees set forth in 37 CFR 1.20(c)(3) and (c)(4) apply to excess claims that are presented on or after December 8, 2004 during a reexamination proceeding.

IV. APPLICANT DOES NOT SPECIFY FEES TO WHICH PAYMENT IS TO BE APPLIED[edit | edit source]

In situations in which a payment submitted for the fees due on filing in a nonprovisional application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) is insufficient and the applicant has not specified the fees to which the payment is to be applied, the Office will apply the payment in the following order until the payment is expended:

  1. the basic filing fee (37 CFR 1.16(a), (b), (c), or (e));
  2. the application size fee (37 CFR 1.16(s));
  3. the late filing surcharge (37 CFR 1.16(f));
  4. the processing fee for an application filed in a language other than English (37 CFR 1.17(i));
  5. the search fee (37 CFR 1.16(k), (l), (m), or (n));
  6. the examination fee (37 CFR 1.16(o), (p), (q), or (r)); and
  7. the excess claims fee (37 CFR 1.16(h), (i), and (j)).

In situations in which a payment submitted for the fees due on filing in a provisional application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(b) is insufficient and the applicant has not specified the fees to which the payment is to be applied, the Office will apply the payment in the following order until the payment is expended:

  1. the basic filing fee (37 CFR 1.16(d));
  2. the application size fee (37 CFR 1.16(s)); and
  3. the late filing surcharge (37 CFR 1.16(g)).

See also MPEP § 509.

Since the basic filing fee, search fee, and examination fee under the new patent fee structure are often referred to as the “filing fee,” the Office will treat a deposit account authorization to charge “the filing fee” as an authorization to charge the applicable fees under 37 CFR 1.16 (the basic filing fee, search fee, examination fee, any excess claims fee, and any application size fee) to the deposit account. The Office will also treat a deposit account authorization to charge “the basic filing fee” as an authorization to charge the applicable basic filing fee, search fee, and examination fee to the deposit account. Any deposit account authorization to charge the filing fee but not the search fee or examination fee must specifically limit the authorization by reference to one or more of paragraphs (a) through (e) of 37 CFR 1.16. See MPEP § 509.01.

607.02 Returnability of Fees[edit | edit source]

35 U.S.C. 42. Patent and Trademark Office funding
.          .          .

(d) The Director may refund any fee paid by mistake or any amount paid in excess of that required.


37 CFR 1.26. Refunds.

(a) The Director may refund any fee paid by mistake or in excess of that required. A change of purpose after the payment of a fee, such as when a party desires to withdraw a patent filing for which the fee was paid, including an application, an appeal, or a request for an oral hearing, will not entitle a party to a refund of such fee. The Office will not refund amounts of twenty-five dollars or less unless a refund is specifically requested, and will not notify the payor of such amounts. If a party paying a fee or requesting a refund does not provide the banking information necessary for making refunds by electronic funds transfer (31 U.S.C. 3332 and 31 CFR part 208), or instruct the Office that refunds are to be credited to a deposit account, the Director may require such information, or use the banking information on the payment instrument to make a refund. Any refund of a fee paid by credit card will be by a credit to the credit card account to which the fee was charged.

(b) Any request for refund must be filed within two years from the date the fee was paid, except as otherwise provided in this paragraph or in § 1.28(a). If the Office charges a deposit account by an amount other than an amount specifically indicated in an authorization (§ 1.25(b)), any request for refund based upon such charge must be filed within two years from the date of the deposit account statement indicating such charge, and include a copy of that deposit account statement. The time periods set forth in this paragraph are not extendable.

(c) If the Director decides not to institute a reexamination proceeding, for ex parte reexaminations filed under § 1.510, a refund of $1,690 will be made to the reexamination requester. For inter partes reexaminations filed under § 1.913, a refund of $7,970 will be made to the reexamination requester. The reexamination requester should indicate the form in which any refund should be made (e.g., by check, electronic funds transfer, credit to a deposit account, etc.). Generally, reexamination refunds will be issued in the form that the original payment was provided.


Under 35 U.S.C. 42(d) and 37 CFR 1.26, the Office may refund: (1) a fee paid by mistake (e.g., fee paid when no fee is required); or (2) any fee paid in excess of the amount of fee that is required. See Ex parte Grady, 59 USPQ 276, 277 (Comm’r Pat. 1943) (the statutory authorization for the refund of fees under the “by mistake” clause is applicable only to a mistake relating to the fee payment).

When an applicant or patentee takes an action “by mistake” (e.g., files an application or maintains a patent in force “by mistake”), the submission of fees required to take that action (e.g., a filing fee submitted with such application or a maintenance fee submitted for such patent) is not a “fee paid by mistake” within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. 42(d).

37 CFR 1.26(a) also provides that a change of purpose after the payment of a fee, as when a party desires to withdraw the filing of a patent application for which the fee was paid, will not entitle the party to a refund of such fee.

All questions pertaining to the return of fees are referred to the Refunds Section of the Receipts Division of the Office of Finance. No opinions should be expressed to attorneys or applicants as to whether or not fees are returnable in particular cases. Such questions may also be treated, to the extent appropriate, in decisions on petition decided by various U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officials.

I. MANNER OF MAKING A REFUND[edit | edit source]

Effective November 7, 2000, 37 CFR 1.26(a) was amended to authorize the Office to obtain the banking information necessary for making refunds by electronic funds transfer, or obtain the deposit account information to make the refund to the deposit account. If a party paying a fee or requesting a refund does not instruct the refund to be credited to a deposit account, the Office will attempt to make the refund by electronic fund transfer. The Office may (1) use the banking information on a payment instrument (e.g., a personal check) to refund an amount paid by the payment instrument in excess of that required, or (2) in other situations, require the banking information necessary for electronic funds transfer or require instructions to credit a deposit account. If it is not cost effective to require the banking information, the Office may obtain the deposit account information or simply issue any refund by treasury check.

37 CFR 1.26(a) further provides that any refund of a fee paid by credit card will be by a credit to the credit card account to which the fee was charged. The Office will not refund a fee paid by credit card by treasury check, electronic funds transfer, or credit to a deposit account.

II. TIME PERIOD FOR REQUESTING A REFUND[edit | edit source]

Any request for a refund which is not based upon subsequent entitlement to small entity status (see 37 CFR 1.28(a)) must be filed within the two-year nonextendable time limit set forth in 37 CFR 1.26(b).

III. FEES PAID BY DEPOSIT ACCOUNT[edit | edit source]

Effective November 7, 2000, the Office no longer treats authorizations to charge a deposit account as being received by the Office on the date the deposit account is actually debited for purposes of refund payments under 37 CFR 1.26 and 37 CFR 1.28. Payment by authorization to charge a deposit account will be treated for refund purposes the same as payments by other means (e.g., check or credit card charge authorization), with each being treated as paid on the date of receipt in the Office as defined by 37 CFR 1.6. Accordingly, the time period for requesting a refund of any fee paid by a deposit account begins on the date the charge authorization is received in the Office.

For refund purposes: where a 37 CFR 1.8 certificate is used, the refund period will begin on the date of actual receipt (not the 37 CFR 1.8 date of mailing); where Express Mail under 37 CFR 1.10 is used, the “date- in” on the Express Mail label will control (not the actual date of receipt by the Office). The use of payment receipt date for refund purposes has no affect on the certificate of mailing practice under 37 CFR 1.8for making a timely reply to an Office action.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the Office charges a deposit account by an amount other than an amount specifically indicated on the charge authorization, any request for refund based upon such charge must be filed within two years from the date of the deposit account statement indicating such charge, and must include a copy of that deposit account statement. This provision of 37 CFR 1.26(b) applies, for example, in the following types of situations: (1) a deposit account charged for an extension of time pursuant to 37 CFR 1.136(a)(3) as a result of there being a prior general authorization in the application; or (2) a deposit account charged for the outstanding balance of a fee as a result of an insufficient fee submitted with an authorization to charge the deposit account for any additional fees that are due. In these situations, the party providing the charge authorization is not in a position to know the exact amount by which the deposit account will be charged until the date of the deposit account statement indicating the amount of the charge. Therefore, the two-year time period set forth in 37 CFR 1.26(b) does not begin until the date of the deposit account statement indicating the amount of the charge.

IV. LATER ESTABLISHMENT OF SMALL ENTITY STATUS[edit | edit source]

Effective November 7, 2000, 37 CFR 1.28(a) was amended to provide a three-month period (instead of the former two-month period) for requesting a refund based on later establishment of small entity status. As the Office now treats the receipt date of a deposit account charge authorization as the fee payment date (for refund purposes), any request for a refund under 37 CFR 1.28(a) must be made within three months from the date the charge authorization is received in the Office.

V. REFUND OF SEARCH FEE AND EXCESS CLAMS FEE[edit | edit source]

Effective March 10, 2006, the Office may refund the search fee and any excess claims fee paid in an application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) on or after December 8, 2004, if applicant files a petition under 37 CFR 1.138(d) to expressly abandon the application before an examination has been made of the application. See MPEP § 711.01.

The basic filing fee, the examination fee, and the application size fee cannot be refunded unless the fee was paid by mistake or in excess of that required.



608 Disclosure[edit | edit source]

In return for a patent, the inventor gives as consideration a complete revelation or disclosure of the invention for which protection is sought. All amendments or claims must find descriptive basis in the original disclosure, or they involve new matter. Applicant may rely for disclosure upon the specification with original claims and drawings, as filed. See also 37 CFR 1.121(f) and MPEP § 608.04.

If during the course of examination of a patent application, an examiner notes the use of language that could be deemed offensive to any race, religion, sex, ethnic group, or nationality, he or she should object to the use of the language as failing to comply with the Rules of Practice. 37 CFR 1.3 proscribes the presentation of papers which are lacking in decorum and courtesy.

608.01 Specification[edit | edit source]

35 U.S.C. 22. Printing of papers filed.

The Director may require papers filed in the Patent and Trademark Office to be printed, typewritten, or on an electronic medium.


37 CFR 1.71. Detailed description and specification of the invention.

(a)The specification must include a written description of the invention or discovery and of the manner and process of making and using the same, and is required to be in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art or science to which the invention or discovery appertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same.

(b)The specification must set forth the precise invention for which a patent is solicited, in such manner as to distinguish it from other inventions and from what is old. It must describe completely a specific embodiment of the process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter or improvement invented, and must explain the mode of operation or principle whenever applicable. The best mode contemplated by the inventor of carrying out his invention must be set forth.

(c)In the case of an improvement, the specification must particularly point out the part or parts of the process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter to which the improvement relates, and the description should be confined to the specific improvement and to such parts as necessarily cooperate with it or as may be necessary to a complete understanding or description of it.

(d)A copyright or mask work notice may be placed in a design or utility patent application adjacent to copyright and mask work material contained therein. The notice may appear at any appropriate portion of the patent application disclosure. For notices in drawings, see § 1.84(s). The content of the notice must be limited to only those elements provided for by law. For example, “©1983 John Doe”(17 U.S.C. 401) and “M John Doe” (17 U.S.C. 909) would be properly limited and, under current statutes, legally sufficient notices of copyright and mask work, respectively. Inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice will be permitted only if the authorization language set forth in paragraph (e) of this section is included at the beginning (preferably as the first paragraph) of the specification.

(e)The authorization shall read as follows:

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to (copyright or mask work) protection. The (copyright or mask work) owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all (copyright or mask work) rights whatsoever.

(f)The specification must commence on a separate sheet. Each sheet including part of the specification may not include other parts of the application or other information. The claim(s), abstract and sequence listing (if any) should not be included on a sheet including any other part of the application.

(g)

(1) The specification may disclose or be amended to disclose the names of the parties to a joint research agreement (35 U.S.C. 103(c)(2)(C)).

(2)An amendment under paragraph (g)(1) of this section must be accompanied by the processing fee set forth § 1.17(i) if not filed within one of the following time periods:

(i)Within three months of the filing date of a national application;

(ii)Within three months of the date of entry of the national stage as set forth in § 1.491 in an international application;


(iii)Before the mailing of a first Office action on the merits; or

(iv)Before the mailing of a first Office action after the filing of a request for continued examination under § 1.114.

(3)If an amendment under paragraph (g)(1) of this section is filed after the date the issue fee is paid, the patent as issued may not necessarily include the names of the parties to the joint research agreement. If the patent as issued does not include the names of the parties to the joint research agreement, the patent must be corrected to include the names of the parties to the joint research agreement by a certificate of correction under 35 U.S.C. 255 and § 1.323 for the amendment to be effective.


The specification is a written description of the invention and of the manner and process of making and using the same. The specification must be in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art or science to which the invention pertains to make and use the same. See 35 U.S.C. 112 and 37 CFR 1.71. If a newly filed application obviously fails to disclose an invention with the clarity required by 35 U.S.C. 112, revision of the application should be required. See MPEP § 702.01. The written description must not include information that is not related to applicant’s invention, e.g., prospective disclaimers regarding comments made by examiners. If such information is included in the written description, the examiner will object to the specification and require applicant to take appropriate action, e.g., cancel the information. The specification must commence on a separate sheet. Each sheet including part of the specification may not include other parts of the application or other information. The claim(s), abstract and sequence listing (if any) should not be included on a sheet including any other part of the application (37 CFR 1.71(f)). That is, the claim(s), abstract and sequence listings (if any) should each begin on a new page since each of these sections (specification, abstract, claims, sequence listings) of the disclosure are separately indexed in the Image File Wrapper (IFW). There should be no overlap on a single page of more than one section of the disclosure.

The specification does not require a date.

Certain cross references to other related applications may be made. References to foreign applications or to applications identified only by the attorney’s docket number should be required to be canceled. U.S. applications identified only by the attorney’s docket number may be amended to properly identify the earlier application(s). See 37 CFR 1.78.

As the specification is never returned to applicant under any circumstances, the applicant should retain an accurate copy thereof. In amending the specification, the attorney or the applicant must comply with 37 CFR 1.121 (see MPEP § 714).

Examiners should not object to the specification and/or claims in patent applications merely because applicants are using British English spellings (e.g., colour) rather than American English spellings. It is not necessary to replace the British English spellings with the equivalent American English spellings in the U.S. patent applications. Note that 37 CFR 1.52(b)(1)(ii) only requires the application to be in the English language. There is no additional requirement that the English must be American English.

I.PAPER REQUIREMENTS

37 CFR 1.52. Language, paper, writing, margins, compact disc specifications.

(a)Papers that are to become a part of the permanent United States Patent and Trademark Office records in the file of a patent application or a reexamination proceeding.

(1)All papers, other than drawings, that are submitted on paper or by facsimile transmission, and are to become a part of the permanent United States Patent and Trademark Office records in the file of a patent application or reexamination proceeding, must be on sheets of paper that are the same size, not permanently bound together, and:

(i)Flexible, strong, smooth, non-shiny, durable, and white;

(ii)Either 21.0 cm by 29.7 cm (DIN size A4) or 21.6 cm by 27.9 cm (8 1/2 by 11 inches), with each sheet including a top margin of at least 2.0 cm (3/4 inch), a left side margin of at least 2.5 cm (1 inch), a right side margin of at least 2.0 cm (3/4 inch), and a bottom margin of at least 2.0 cm (3/4 inch);

(iii)Written on only one side in portrait orientation;

(iv)Plainly and legibly written either by a typewriter or machine printer in permanent dark ink or its equivalent; and

(v)Presented in a form having sufficient clarity and contrast between the paper and the writing thereon to permit the direct reproduction of readily legible copies in any number by use of photographic, electrostatic, photo-offset, and microfilming processes and electronic capture by use of digital imaging and optical character recognition.

(2)All papers that are submitted on paper or by facsimile transmission and are to become a part of the permanent records of the United States Patent and Trademark Office should have no holes in the sheets as submitted.

(3)The provisions of this paragraph and paragraph (b) of this section do not apply to the pre-printed information on paper forms provided by the Office, or to the copy of the patent submitted on paper in double column format as the specification in a reissue application or request for reexamination.

(4)See § 1.58 for chemical and mathematical formulae and tables, and § 1.84 for drawings.

(5)Papers that are submitted electronically to the Office must be formatted and transmitted in compliance with the Office’s electronic filing system requirements.

(b)The application (specification, including the claims, drawings, and oath or declaration) or reexamination proceeding and any amendments or corrections to the application or reexamination proceeding.

(1)The application or proceeding and any amendments or corrections to the application (including any translation submitted pursuant to paragraph (d) of this section) or proceeding, except as provided for in § 1.69 and paragraph (d) of this section, must:

(i)Comply with the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section; and

(ii)Be in the English language or be accompanied by a translation of the application and a translation of any corrections or amendments into the English language together with a statement that the translation is accurate.

(2)The specification (including the abstract and claims) for other than reissue applications and reexamination proceedings, and any amendments for applications (including reissue applications) and reexamination proceedings to the specification, except as provided for in §§ 1.821 through 1.825, must have:

(i)Lines that are 1 1/2 or double spaced;

(ii)Text written in a nonscript type font (e.g., Arial, Times Roman, or Courier, preferably a font size of 12) lettering style having capital letters which should be at least 0.3175 cm. (0.125 inch) high, but may be no smaller than 0.21 cm. (0.08 inch) high (e.g., a font size of 6); and

(iii)Only a single column of text.

(3)The claim or claims must commence on a separate physical sheet or electronic page (§ 1.75(h)).

(4)The abstract must commence on a separate physical sheet or electronic page or be submitted as the first page of the patent in a reissue application or reexamination proceeding (§ 1.72(b)).

(5)Other than in a reissue application or reexamination proceeding, the pages of the specification including claims and abstract must be numbered consecutively, starting with 1, the numbers being centrally located above or preferably below, the text.

(6)Other than in a reissue application or reexamination proceeding, the paragraphs of the specification, other than in the claims or abstract, may be numbered at the time the application is filed, and should be individually and consecutively numbered using Arabic numerals, so as to unambiguously identify each paragraph. The number should consist of at least four numerals enclosed in square brackets, including leading zeros (e.g., [0001]). The numbers and enclosing brackets should appear to the right of the left margin as the first item in each paragraph, before the first word of the paragraph, and should be highlighted in bold. A gap, equivalent to approximately four spaces, should follow the number. Nontext elements (e.g., tables, mathematical or chemical formulae, chemical structures, and sequence data) are considered part of the numbered paragraph around or above the elements, and should not be independently numbered. If a nontext element extends to the left margin, it should not be numbered as a separate and independent paragraph. A list is also treated as part of the paragraph around or above the list, and should not be independently numbered. Paragraph or section headers (titles), whether abutting the left margin or centered on the page, are not considered paragraphs and should not be numbered.

(c)

(1) Any interlineation, erasure, cancellation or other alteration of the application papers filed must be made before the signing of any accompanying oath or declaration pursuant to § 1.63referring to those application papers and should be dated and initialed or signed by the applicant on the same sheet of paper. Application papers containing alterations made after the signing of an oath or declaration referring to those application papers must be supported by a supplemental oath or declaration under § 1.67. In either situation, a substitute specification (§ 1.125) is required if the application papers do not comply with paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section.

(2)After the signing of the oath or declaration referring to the application papers, amendments may only be made in the manner provided by § 1.121.

(3)Notwithstanding the provisions of this paragraph, if an oath or declaration is a copy of the oath or declaration from a prior application, the application for which such copy is submitted may contain alterations that do not introduce matter that would have been new matter in the prior application.

(d)A nonprovisional or provisional application may be in a language other than English.

(1)Nonprovisional application. If a nonprovisional application is filed in a language other than English, an English language translation of the non-English language application, a statement that the translation is accurate, and the processing fee set forth in § 1.17(i) are required. If these items are not filed with the application, applicant will be notified and given a period of time within which they must be filed in order to avoid abandonment.

(2)Provisional application. If a provisional application is filed in a language other than English, an English language translation of the non-English language provisional application will not be required in the provisional application. See § 1.78(a) for the requirements for claiming the benefit of such provisional application in a nonprovisional application.

(e)Electronic documents that are to become part of the permanent United States Patent and Trademark Office records in the file of a patent application or reexamination proceeding.

(1)The following documents may be submitted to the Office on a compact disc in compliance with this paragraph:

(i)A computer program listing (see § 1.96);

(ii)A “Sequence Listing” (submitted under § 1.821(c)); or

(iii)Any individual table (see § 1.58) if the table is more than 50 pages in length, or if the total number of pages of all of the tables in an application exceeds 100 pages in length, where a table page is a page printed on paper in conformance with paragraph (b) of this section and § 1.58(c).

(2)A compact disc as used in this part means a Compact Disc-Read Only Memory (CD-ROM) or a Compact Disc-Recordable (CD-R) in compliance with this paragraph. A CD-ROM is a “read-only” medium on which the data is pressed into the disc so that it cannot be changed or erased. A CD-R is a “write once” medium on which once the data is recorded, it is permanent and cannot be changed or erased.

(3)

(i) Each compact disc must conform to the International Standards Organization (ISO) 9660 standard, and the contents of each compact disc must be in compliance with the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII). CD-R discs must be finalized so that they are closed to further writing to the CD-R.

(ii)Each compact disc must be enclosed in a hard compact disc case within an unsealed padded and protective mailing envelope and accompanied by a transmittal letter on paper in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section. The transmittal letter must list for each compact disc the machine format (e.g., IBM- PC, Macintosh), the operating system compatibility (e.g., MS- DOS, MS-Windows, Macintosh, Unix), a list of files contained on the compact disc including their names, sizes in bytes, and dates of creation, plus any other special information that is necessary to identify, maintain, and interpret (e.g., tables in landscape orientation should be identified as landscape orientation or be identified when inquired about) the information on the compact disc. Compact discs submitted to the Office will not be returned to the applicant.

(4)Any compact disc must be submitted in duplicate unless it contains only the “Sequence Listing” in computer readable form required by § 1.821(e). The compact disc and duplicate copy must be labeled “Copy 1” and “Copy 2,” respectively. The transmittal letter which accompanies the compact disc must include a statement that the two compact discs are identical. In the event that the two compact discs are not identical, the Office will use the compact disc labeled “Copy 1” for further processing. Any amendment to the information on a compact disc must be by way of a replacement compact disc in compliance with this paragraph containing the substitute information, and must be accompanied by a statement that the replacement compact disc contains no new matter. The compact disc and copy must be labeled “COPY 1 REPLACEMENT MM/DD/YYYY” (with the month, day and year of creation indicated), and “COPY 2 REPLACEMENT MM/ DD/YYYY,” respectively.

(5)The specification must contain an incorporation-by- reference of the material on the compact disc in a separate paragraph (§ 1.77(b)(5)), identifying each compact disc by the names of the files contained on each of the compact discs, their date of creation and their sizes in bytes. The Office may require applicant to amend the specification to include in the paper portion any part of the specification previously submitted on compact disc.

(6)A compact disc must also be labeled with the following information:

(i)The name of each inventor (if known);

(ii)Title of the invention;

(iii)The docket number, or application number if known, used by the person filing the application to identify the application; and

(iv)A creation date of the compact disc.

(v)If multiple compact discs are submitted, the label shall indicate their order (e.g. “1 of X”).

(vi)An indication that the disk is “Copy 1” or “Copy 2” of the submission. See paragraph (b)(4) of this section.

(7)If a file is unreadable on both copies of the disc, the unreadable file will be treated as not having been submitted. A file is unreadable if, for example, it is of a format that does not comply with the requirements of paragraph (e)(3) of this section, it is corrupted by a computer virus, or it is written onto a defective compact disc.

(f)

(1) Any sequence listing in an electronic medium in compliance with §§ 1.52(e) and 1.821(c) or (e), and any computer program listing filed in an electronic medium in compliance with §§ 1.52(e) and 1.96, will be excluded when determining the application size fee required by § 1.16(s) or § 1.492(j). For purposes of determining the application size fee required by § 1.16(s) or § 1.492(j), for an application the specification and drawings of which, excluding any sequence listing in compliance with § 1.821(c) or (e), and any computer program listing filed in an electronic medium in compliance with §§ 1.52(e) and 1.96, are submitted in whole or in part on an electronic medium other than the Office electronic filing system, each three kilobytes of content submitted on an electronic medium shall be counted as a sheet of paper.

(2)Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, the paper size equivalent of the specification and drawings of an application submitted via the Office electronic filing system will be considered to be seventy-five percent of the number of sheets of paper present in the specification and drawings of the application when entered into the Office file wrapper after being rendered by the Office electronic filing system for purposes of determining the application size fee required by § 1.16(s). Any sequence listing in compliance with § 1.821(c) or (e), and any computer program listing in compliance with § 1.96, submitted via the Office electronic filing system will be excluded when determining the application size fee required by § 1.16(s) if the listing is submitted in ASCII text as part of an associated file.


37 CFR 1.58. Chemical and mathematical formulae and tables.

(a)The specification, including the claims, may contain chemical and mathematical formulae, but shall not contain drawings or flow diagrams. The description portion of the specification may contain tables, but the same tables may only be included in both the drawings and description portion of the specification if the application was filed under 35 U.S.C. 371. Claims may contain tables either if necessary to conform to 35 U.S.C. 112 or if otherwise found to be desirable.

(b)Tables that are submitted in electronic form (§§ 1.96(c) and 1.821(c)) must maintain the spatial relationships (e.g., alignment of columns and rows) of the table elements when displayed so as to visually preserve the relational information they convey. Chemical and mathematical formulae must be encoded to maintain the proper positioning of their characters when displayed in order to preserve their intended meaning.

(c)Chemical and mathematical formulae and tables must be presented in compliance with § 1.52(a) and (b), except that chemical and mathematical formulae or tables may be placed in a landscape orientation if they cannot be presented satisfactorily in a portrait orientation. Typewritten characters used in such formulae and tables must be chosen from a block (nonscript) type font or lettering style having capital letters which should be at least 0.422 cm. (0.166 inch) high (e.g., preferably Arial, Times Roman, or Courier with a font size of 12), but may be no smaller than 0.21 cm. (0.08 inch) high (e.g., a font size of 6). A space at least 0.64 cm. (1/4 inch) high should be provided between complex formulae and tables and the text. Tables should have the lines and columns of data closely spaced to conserve space, consistent with a high degree of legibility.


The pages of the specification including claims and abstract must be numbered consecutively, starting with 1, the numbers being centrally located above or preferably, below, the text. The lines of the specification, and any amendments to the specification, must be 1 1/2 or double spaced. The text must be written in a nonscript type font (e.g., Arial, Times Roman, or Courier, preferably a font size of 12) lettering style having capital letters which should be at least 0.3175 cm. (0.125 inch) high, but may be no smaller than 0.21 cm. (0.08 inch) high (e.g., a font size of 6) (37 CFR 1.52(b)(2)(ii)). The text may not be written solely in capital letters.

All application papers (specification, including claims, abstract, any drawings, oath or declaration, and other papers), and also papers subsequently filed, must have each page plainly written on only one side of a sheet of paper. The specification must commence on a separate sheet. Each sheet including part of the specification may not include other parts of the application or other information. The claim(s), abstract and sequence listing (if any) should not be included on a sheet including any other part of the application (37 CFR 1.71(f)). The claim or claims must commence on a separate sheet or electronic page and any sheet including a claim or portion of a claim may not contain any other parts of the application or other material (37 CFR 1.75(h)). The abstract must commence on a separate sheet and any sheet including an abstract or portion of an abstract may not contain any other parts of the application or other material (37 CFR 1.72(b)).

All application papers that are submitted on paper or by facsimile transmission which are to become a part of the permanent record of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office must be on sheets of paper which are the same size (for example, an amendment should not have two different sizes of paper, but the specification can have one size of paper and the drawings a different size) and are either 21.0 cm. by 29.7 cm. (DIN size A4) or 21.6 cm. by 27.9 cm. (8 1/2 by 11 inches). See 37 CFR 1.52(a)(1) and 37 CFR 1.84(f). Application papers submitted by the Office Electronic Filing System (EFS) must conform with the user instructions for EFS. Each sheet, other than the drawings, must include a top margin of at least 2.0 cm. (3/4 inch), a left side margin of at least 2.5 cm. (1 inch), a right side margin of at least 2.0 cm. (3/4 inch), and a bottom margin of at least 2.0 cm. (3/4 inch). No holes should be made in the sheets as submitted.

Applicants must make every effort to file patent applications in a form that is clear and reproducible. If the papers are not of the required quality, substitute typewritten or mechanically printed papers of suitable quality will be required. See 37 CFR 1.125 for filing substitute typewritten or mechanically printed papers constituting a substitute specification required by the Office. See also MPEP § 608.01(q). All papers which are to become a part of the permanent records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office must be legibly written either by a typewriter or mechanical printer in permanent dark ink or its equivalent in portrait orientation on flexible, strong, smooth, nonshiny, durable, and white paper. Typed, mimeographed, xeroprinted, multigraphed or nonsmearing carbon copy forms of reproduction are acceptable.

Where an application is filed with papers that do not comply with 37 CFR 1.52, the Office of Initial Patent Examination will mail a “Notice to File Corrected Application Papers” indicating the deficiency and setting a time period within which the applicant must correct the deficiencies to avoid abandonment. The failure to submit application papers in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52 does not effect the grant of a filing date, and original application papers that do not comply with 37 CFR 1.52 will be retained in the application file as the original disclosure of the invention. The USPTO will not return papers simply because they do not comply with 37 CFR 1.52.

Legibility includes ability to be photocopied and photomicrographed so that suitable reprints can be made and ability to be electronically reproduced by use of digital imaging and optical character recognition. This requires a high contrast, with black lines and a white background. Gray lines and/or a gray background sharply reduce photo reproduction quality. Legibility of some application papers may become impaired due to abrasion or aging of the printed material during examination and ordinary handling of the file. It may be necessary to require that legible and permanent copies be furnished at later stages after filing, particularly when preparing for issue.

Some of the patent application papers received by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are copies of the original, ribbon copy. These are acceptable if, in the opinion of the Office, they are legible and permanent.

The paper used must have a surface such that amendments may be written thereon in ink. So-called “Easily Erasable” paper having a special coating so that erasures can be made more easily may not provide a “permanent” copy, 37 CFR 1.52(a)(1)(iv). If a light pressure of an ordinary (pencil) eraser removes the imprint, the examiner should, as soon as this becomes evident, notify applicant by use of Form paragraph 6.32 that it will be necessary for applicant to order a copy of the specification and claims to be made by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office at the applicant’s expense for incorporation in the file. It is not necessary to return this copy to applicant for signature. Since application papers are now maintained in an Image File Wrapper, the type of paper is unlikely to be an issue so long as the Office was able to scan and reproduce the papers that were filed.

II.ALTERATION OF APPLICATION PAPERS

37 CFR 1.52(c) relating to interlineations and other alterations is strictly enforced. See In re Swanberg, 129 USPQ 364 (Comm’r Pat. 1960). See also MPEP § 605.04(a).

III.CERTIFIED COPIES OF AN APPLICATION- AS-FILED

If an application-as-filed does not meet the sheet size/margin and quality requirements of 37 CFR 1.52and 1.84(f) and (g), certified copies of such application may be illegible and/or ineffective as priority documents. When an applicant requests that the USPTO provide a certified copy of an application-as- filed and pays the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b)(1), the USPTO will make a copy of the application-as- filed from the records in the IFW database (or the microfilm database). If papers submitted in the application- as-filed are not legible, certified copies of the application as originally filed will not be legible.

The USPTO performs exception processing when scanning application papers that do not comply with the sheet size/margin and quality requirements. If papers submitted in the application-as-filed (including any transmittal letter or cover sheet) do not meet the sheet size requirement of 37 CFR 1.52 and 1.84(f) (e.g., the papers are legal size (8 1/2 by 14 inches)), the USPTO must reduce such papers to be able to image-scan the entire application and record it in the IFW database. In addition, if papers submitted in the application-as-filed do not meet the quality requirements of 37 CFR 1.52 (e.g., the papers are shiny or non-white), the USPTO will attempt to enhance such papers before scanning to make the resulting electronic record in the IFW database more readable. However, if exception processing is required to make the IFW copy, certified copies of the application as originally filed may not be legible.

If application papers are filed that do not meet sheet size/margin and quality requirements, the USPTO will require the applicant to file substitute papers that do comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.52 and 1.84(e), (f) and (g). The substitute papers submitted in reply to the above-mentioned requirement will provide the USPTO with an image- and OCR-scannable copy of the application for printing the application as a patent publication or patent. However, the USPTO will not treat application papers submitted after the filing date of an application as the original disclosure of the application for making a certified copy of the application-as-filed or any other purpose. That is, even if an applicant subsequently files substitute application papers that comply with 37 CFR 1.52 and then requests that the USPTO provide a certified copy of an application-as-filed, paying the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b)(1), the USPTO will still make a copy of the application-as-filed rather than a copy of the subsequently filed substitute papers.

IV.USE OF METRIC SYSTEM OF MEASUREMENTS IN PATENT APPLICATIONS

In order to minimize the necessity in the future for converting dimensions given in the English system of measurements to the metric system of measurements when using printed patents as research and prior art search documents, all patent applicants should use the metric (S.I.) units followed by the equivalent English units when describing their inventions in the specifications of patent applications.

The initials S.I. stand for “Le Système International d’ Unités,” the French name for the International System of Units, a modernized metric system adopted in 1960 by the International General Conference of Weights and Measures based on precise unit measurements made possible by modern technology.

V.FILING OF NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE APPLICATIONS

37 CFR 1.52. Language, Paper, Writing, Margins, Compact Disc Specifications.
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(d)A nonprovisional or provisional application may be in a language other than English.

(1)Nonprovisional application. If a nonprovisional application is filed in a language other than English, an English language translation of the non-English language application, a statement that the translation is accurate, and the processing fee set forth in § 1.17(i) are required. If these items are not filed with the application, applicant will be notified and given a period of time within which they must be filed in order to avoid abandonment.

(2)Provisional application. If a provisional application is filed in a language other than English, an English language translation of the non-English language provisional application will not be required in the provisional application. See § 1.78(a) for the requirements for claiming the benefit of such provisional application in a nonprovisional application.

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will accord a filing date to an application meeting the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 111(a), or a provisional application in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 111(b), even though some or all of the application papers, including the written description and the claims, is in a language other than English and hence does not comply with 37 CFR 1.52.

If a nonprovisional application is filed in a language other than English, an English translation of the non-English language papers, a statement that the translation is accurate, the fees set forth in 37 CFR 1.16, the oath or declaration and fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(i) should either accompany the nonprovisional application papers or be filed in the Office within the time set by the Office. If a provisional application is filed in a language other than English, an English translation of the non-English language provisional application and a statement that the translation is accurate must be submitted if benefit of the provisional application is claimed in a later-filed nonprovisional application (see 37 CFR 1.78(a)(5)). If the translation and statement were not previously filed in the provisional application, applicant will be notified in the nonprovisional application that claims the benefit of the provisional application and be given a period of time within which to file the translation and statement in the provisional application. Applicants may file the translation and statement in the provisional application even if the provisional application has become abandoned. A timely reply to such notice must include the filing in the nonprovisional application of either a confirmation that the translation and statement were filed in the provisional application, or an amendment or Supplemental Application Data Sheet withdrawing the benefit claim. Failure to take one of the above actions will result in the abandonment of the nonprovisional application.

A subsequently filed English translation must contain the complete identifying data for the application in order to permit prompt association with the papers initially filed. Accordingly, it is strongly recommended that the original application papers be accompanied by a cover letter and a self-addressed return postcard, each containing the following identifying data in English: (a) applicant’s name(s); (b) title of invention; (c) number of pages of specification, claims, and sheets of drawings; (d) whether an oath or declaration was filed and (e) amount and manner of paying the fees set forth in 37 CFR 1.16.

The translation must be a literal translation and must be accompanied by a statement that the translation is accurate. The translation must also be accompanied by a signed request from the applicant, his or her attorney or agent, asking that the English translation be used as the copy for examination purposes in the Office. If the English translation does not conform to idiomatic English and United States practice, it should be accompanied by a preliminary amendment making the necessary changes without the introduction of new matter prohibited by 35 U.S.C. 132. If such an application is published as a patent application publication, the document that is published is the translation. See 37 CFR 1.215(a) and MPEP § 1121regarding the content of the application publication. In the event that the English translation and the statement are not timely filed in the nonprovisional application, the nonprovisional application will be regarded as abandoned.

It should be recognized that this practice is intended for emergency situations to prevent loss of valuable rights and should not be routinely used for filing applications. There are at least two reasons why this should not be used on a routine basis. First, there are obvious dangers to applicant and the public if he or she fails to obtain a correct literal translation. Second, the filing of a large number of applications under the procedure will create significant administrative burdens on the Office.

VI.ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE SPECIFICATION

Graphical illustrations, diagrammatic views, flowcharts, and diagrams in the descriptive portion of the specification do not come within the purview of 37 CFR 1.58(a), which permits tables, chemical and mathematical formulas in the specification in lieu of formal drawings. The examiner should object to such descriptive illustrations in the specification and request drawings in accordance with 37 CFR 1.81when an application contains graphs, drawings, or flow charts in the specification.

The specification, including any claims, may contain chemical formulas and mathematical equations, but must not contain drawings or flow diagrams. The description portion of the specification may contain tables, but the same tables must not be included in both the drawings as a figure and in the description portion of the specification. Applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 371 are excluded from the prohibition from having the same tables in both the description portion of the specification and drawings. Claims may contain tables either if necessary to conform to 35 U.S.C. 112 or if otherwise found to be desirable. See MPEP § 2173.05(s). When such a patent is printed, however, the table will not be included as part of the claim, and instead the claim will contain a reference to the table number.

See MPEP § 601.01(d) for treatment of applications filed without all pages of the specification.

VII.HYPERLINKS AND OTHER FORMS OF BROWSER-EXECUTABLE CODE IN THE SPECIFICATION

Examiners must review patent applications to make certain that hyperlinks and other forms of browser-executable code, especially commercial site URLs, are not included in a patent application. 37 CFR 1.57(d) states that an incorporation by reference by hyperlink or other form of browser executable code is not permitted. Examples of a hyperlink or a browser-executable code are a URL placed between these symbols “ ” and http:// followed by a URL address. When a patent application with embedded hyperlinks and/or other forms of browser-executable code issues as a patent (or is published as a patent application publication) and the patent document is placed on the USPTO web page, when the patent document is retrieved and viewed via a web browser, the URL is interpreted as a valid HTML code and it becomes a live web link. When a user clicks on the link with a mouse, the user will be transferred to another web page identified by the URL, if it exists, which could be a commercial web site. USPTO policy does not permit the USPTO to link to any commercial sites since the USPTO exercises no control over the organization, views or accuracy of the information contained on these outside sites.

If hyperlinks and/or other forms of browser-executable code are embedded in the text of the patent application, examiners should object to the specification and indicate to applicants that the embedded hyperlinks and/or other forms of browser-executable code are impermissible and require deletion. This requirement does not apply to electronic documents listed on forms PTO-892 and PTO/SB/08 where the electronic document is identified by reference to a URL.

The attempt to incorporate subject matter into the patent application by reference to a hyperlink and/or other forms of browser-executable code is considered to be an improper incorporation by reference. See 37 CFR 1.57(d) and MPEP § 608.01(p), paragraph I regarding incorporation by reference. Where the hyperlinks and/or other forms of browser-executable codes themselves rather than the contents of the site to which the hyperlinks are directed are part of applicant’s invention and it is necessary to have them included in the patent application in order to comply with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph, and applicant does not intend to have these hyperlinks be active links, examiners should not object to these hyperlinks. The Office will disable these hyperlinks when preparing the text to be loaded onto the USPTO web database.

Note that nucleotide and/or amino acid sequence data placed between the symbols “ ” are not considered to be hyperlinks and/or browser-executable code and therefore should not be objected to as being an improper incorporation by reference (see 37 CFR 1.821 – 1.825).

608.01(a) Arrangement of Application[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.77. Arrangement of application elements.

(a)The elements of the application, if applicable, should appear in the following order:

(1)Utility application transmittal form.

(2)Fee transmittal form.

(3)Application data sheet (see § 1.76).

(4)Specification.

(5)Drawings.

(6)Executed oath or declaration.

(b)The specification should include the following sections in order:

(1)Title of the invention, which may be accompanied by an introductory portion stating the name, citizenship, and residence of the applicant (unless included in the application data sheet).

(2)Cross-reference to related applications (unless included in the application data sheet).

(3)Statement regarding federally sponsored research or development.

(4)The names of the parties to a joint research agreement.

(5)Reference to a “Sequence Listing,” a table, or a computer program listing appendix submitted on a compact disc and an incorporation-by-reference of the material on the compact disc (see § 1.52(e)(5)). The total number of compact discs including duplicates and the files on each compact disc shall be specified.

(6)Background of the invention.

(7)Brief summary of the invention.

(8)Brief description of the several views of the drawing.

(9)Detailed description of the invention.

(10)A claim or claims.

(11)Abstract of the disclosure.

(12)“Sequence Listing,” if on paper (see §§ 1.821 through 1.825).

(c)The text of the specification sections defined in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(12) of this section, if applicable, should be preceded by a section heading in uppercase and without underlining or bold type.


For design patent specification, see MPEP § 1503.01.

For plant patent specification, see MPEP § 1605.

For reissue patent specification, see MPEP § 1411.

The following order of arrangement of specification elements is preferable in framing the nonprovisional specification and each of the lettered items should appear in upper case, without underlining or bold type, as section headings. If no text follows the section heading, the phrase “Not Applicable” should follow the section heading. It is recommended that provisional applications follow the same general format, although claims are not required. If an application data sheet (37 CFR 1.76) is used, data supplied in the application data sheet need not be provided elsewhere in the application except that the citizenship of each inventor must be provided in the oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 even if this information is provided in the application data sheet. If there is a discrepancy between the information submitted in an application data sheet and the information submitted elsewhere in the application, the application data sheet will control except for the naming of the inventors and the citizenship of the inventors. See 37 CFR 1.76(d) and MPEP § 601.05.

(A)Title of the Invention.

(B)Cross-References to Related Applications.

(C)Statement Regarding Federally Sponsored Research or Development.

(D)The names of the parties to a joint research agreement.

(E)Reference to a “Sequence Listing,” a table, or a computer program listing appendix submitted on a compact disc and an incorporation-by-reference of the material on the compact disc (See 37 CFR 1.52(e)(5)). The total number of compact discs including duplicates and the files on each compact disc must be specified.

(F)Background of the Invention.

(1)Field of the Invention.

(2)Description of the related art including information disclosed under 37 CFR 1.97 and 1.98.

(G)Brief Summary of the Invention.

(H)Brief Description of the Several Views of the Drawings.

(I)Detailed Description of the Invention.

(J)Claim or Claims.

(K)Abstract of the Disclosure.

(L)"Sequence Listing," if on paper (See 37 CFR 1.821-1.825).

608.01(b) Abstract of the Disclosure[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.72. Title and abstract.
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(b)A brief abstract of the technical disclosure in the specification must commence on a separate sheet, preferably following the claims, under the heading "Abstract" or "Abstract of the Disclosure." The sheet or sheets presenting the abstract may not include other parts of the application or other material. The abstract in an application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111 may not exceed 150 words in length. The purpose of the abstract is to enable the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the public generally to determine quickly from a cursory inspection the nature and gist of the technical disclosure.


The Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) will review all applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) for compliance with 37 CFR 1.72 and will require an abstract, if one has not been filed.

Upon passing the application to issue, the examiner should make certain that the abstract is an adequate and clear statement of the contents of the disclosure and generally in line with the guidelines. If the application is otherwise in condition for allowance except that the abstract does not comply with the guidelines, the examiner generally should make any necessary revisions by a formal examiner’s amendment after obtaining applicant’s authorization (see MPEP § 1302.04) rather than issuing an Ex parte Quayle action requiring applicant to make the necessary revisions.

Under current practice, in all instances where the application contains an abstract when sent to issue, the abstract will be printed on the patent.

GUIDELINES FOR THE PREPARATION OF PATENT ABSTRACTS

A.Background

The Rules of Practice in Patent Cases require that each application for patent include an abstract of the disclosure, 37 CFR 1.72(b).

The content of a patent abstract should be such as to enable the reader thereof, regardless of his or her degree of familiarity with patent documents, to determine quickly from a cursory inspection of the nature and gist of the technical disclosure and should include that which is new in the art to which the invention pertains.

B.Content

A patent abstract is a concise statement of the technical disclosure of the patent and should include that which is new in the art to which the invention pertains.

If the patent is of a basic nature, the entire technical disclosure may be new in the art, and the abstract should be directed to the entire disclosure.

If the patent is in the nature of an improvement in old apparatus, process, product, or composition, the abstract should include the technical disclosure of the improvement.

In certain patents, particularly those for compounds and compositions, wherein the process for making and/or the use thereof are not obvious, the abstract should set forth a process for making and/or a use thereof.

If the new technical disclosure involves modifications or alternatives, the abstract should mention by way of example the preferred modification or alternative.

The abstract should not refer to purported merits or speculative applications of the invention and should not compare the invention with the prior art.

Where applicable, the abstract should include the following: (1) if a machine or apparatus, its organization and operation; (2) if an article, its method of making; (3) if a chemical compound, its identity and use; (4) if a mixture, its ingredients; (5) if a process, the steps. Extensive mechanical and design details of apparatus should not be given.

With regard particularly to chemical patents, for compounds or compositions, the general nature of the compound or composition should be given as well as the use thereof, e.g., "The compounds are of the class of alkyl benzene sulfonyl ureas, useful as oral anti- diabetics." Exemplification of a species could be illustrative of members of the class. For processes, the type reaction, reagents and process conditions should be stated, generally illustrated by a single example unless variations are necessary.

C. Language and Format

The abstract must commence on a separate sheet, preferably following the claims, under the heading "Abstract" or "Abstract of the Disclosure." The sheet or sheets presenting the abstract may not include other parts of the application or other material.

The abstract should be in narrative form and generally limited to a single paragraph within the range of 50 to 150 words. The abstract should not exceed 15 lines of text. The language should be clear and concise and should not repeat information given in the title.

608.01(c) Background of the Invention[edit | edit source]

The Background of the Invention ordinarily comprises two parts:

(1) Field of the Invention: A statement of the field of art to which the invention pertains. This statement may include a paraphrasing of the applicable U.S. patent classification definitions. The statement should be directed to the subject matter of the claimed invention.

(2) Description of the related art including information disclosed under 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98: A paragraph(s) describing to the extent practical the state of the prior art or other information disclosed known to the applicant, including references to specific prior art or other information where appropriate. Where applicable, the problems involved in the prior art or other information disclosed which are solved by the applicant’s invention should be indicated. See also MPEP § 608.01(a), § 608.01(p) and § 707.05(b).

608.01(d) Brief Summary of Invention[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.73. Summary of the invention.

A brief summary of the invention indicating its nature and substance, which may include a statement of the object of the invention, should precede the detailed description. Such summary should, when set forth, be commensurate with the invention as claimed and any object recited should be that of the invention as claimed.


Since the purpose of the brief summary of invention is to apprise the public, and more especially those interested in the particular art to which the invention relates, of the nature of the invention, the summary should be directed to the specific invention being claimed, in contradistinction to mere generalities which would be equally applicable to numerous preceding patents. That is, the subject matter of the invention should be described in one or more clear, concise sentences or paragraphs.

608.01(e) Reservation Clauses Not Permitted[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.79. Reservation clauses not permitted.

A reservation for a future application of subject matter disclosed but not claimed in a pending application will not be permitted in the pending application, but an application disclosing unclaimed subject matter may contain a reference to a later filed application of the same applicant or owned by a common assignee disclosing and claiming that subject matter.


608.01(f) Brief Description of Drawings[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.74. Reference to drawings.

When there are drawings, there shall be a brief description of the several views of the drawings and the detailed description of the invention shall refer to the different views by specifying the numbers of the figures, and to the different parts by use of reference letters or numerals (preferably the latter).


If the specification describes a figure which is not present in the drawings, the application will be treated as an application filed without all figures of drawings in accordance with MPEP § 601.01(g), unless the application lacks any drawings, in which case the application will be treated as an application filed without drawings in accordance with MPEP § 601.01(f).

37 CFR 1.84. Standards for drawings.

(a)Drawings. There are two acceptable categories for presenting drawings in utility and design patent applications.

(1)Black ink. Black and white drawings are normally required. India ink, or its equivalent that secures solid black lines, must be used for drawings; or

(2)Color. On rare occasions, color drawings may be necessary as the only practical medium by which to disclose the subject matter sought to be patented in a utility or design patent application or the subject matter of a statutory invention registration. The color drawings must be of sufficient quality such that all details in the drawings are reproducible in black and white in the printed patent. Color drawings are not permitted in international applications (see PCT Rule 11.13), or in an application, or copy thereof, submitted under the Office electronic filing system. The Office will accept color drawings in utility or design patent applications and statutory invention registrations only after granting a petition filed under this paragraph explaining why the color drawings are necessary. Any such petition must include the following:

(i)The fee set forth in § 1.17(h);

(ii)Three (3) sets of color drawings;

(iii)An amendment to the specification to insert (unless the specification contains or has been previously amended to contain) the following language as the first paragraph of the brief description of the drawings:

The patent or application file contains at least one drawing executed in color. Copies of this patent or patent application publication with color drawing(s) will be provided by the Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee.

(b)Photographs.—

(1)Black and white. Photographs, including photocopies of photographs, are not ordinarily permitted in utility and design patent applications. The Office will accept photographs in utility and design patent applications, however, if photographs are the only practicable medium for illustrating the claimed invention. For example, photographs or photomicrographs of: electrophoresis gels, blots (e.g., immunological, western, Southern, and northern), auto- radiographs, cell cultures (stained and unstained), histological tissue cross sections (stained and unstained), animals, plants, in vivo imaging, thin layer chromatography plates, crystalline structures, and, in a design patent application, ornamental effects, are acceptable. If the subject matter of the application admits of illustration by a drawing, the examiner may require a drawing in place of the photograph. The photographs must be of sufficient quality so that all details in the photographs are reproducible in the printed patent.

(2)Color photographs. Color photographs will be accepted in utility and design patent applications if the conditions for accepting color drawings and black and white photographs have been satisfied. See paragraphs (a)(2) and (b)(1) of this section.

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608.01(g) Detailed Description of Invention[edit | edit source]

A detailed description of the invention and drawings follows the general statement of invention and brief description of the drawings. This detailed description, required by 37 CFR 1.71, MPEP § 608.01, must be in such particularity as to enable any person skilled in the pertinent art or science to make and use the invention without involving extensive experimentation. An applicant is ordinarily permitted to use his or her own terminology, as long as it can be understood. Necessary grammatical corrections, however, should be required by the examiner, but it must be remembered that an examination is not made for the purpose of securing grammatical perfection.

The reference characters must be properly applied, no single reference character being used for two different parts or for a given part and a modification of such part. In the latter case, the reference character, applied to the given part, with a prime affixed may advantageously be applied to the modification. Every feature specified in the claims must be illustrated, but there should be no superfluous illustrations.

The description is a dictionary for the claims and should provide clear support or antecedent basis for all terms used in the claims. See 37 CFR 1.75, MPEP § 608.01(i), § 608.01(o), and § 1302.01.

For completeness, see MPEP § 608.01(p).

608.01(h) Mode of Operation of Invention[edit | edit source]

The best mode contemplated by the inventor of carrying out his or her invention must be set forth in the description. See 35 U.S.C. 112. There is no statutory requirement for the disclosure of a specific example. A patent specification is not intended nor required to be a production specification.

The absence of a specific working example is not necessarily evidence that the best mode has not been disclosed, nor is the presence of one evidence that it has.

If the best mode contemplated by the inventor at the time of filing the application is not disclosed, such defect cannot be cured by submitting an amendment seeking to put into the specification something required to be there when the application was originally filed. Any proposed amendment of this type should be treated as new matter.

Patents have been held invalid in cases where the patentee did not disclose the best mode known to him or her.

For completeness, see MPEP § 608.01(p) and § 2165 to § 2165.04.

608.01(i) Claims[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.75. Claims

(a) The specification must conclude with a claim particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which the applicant regards as his invention or discovery.

(b) More than one claim may be presented provided they differ substantially from each other and are not unduly multiplied.

(c) One or more claims may be presented in dependent form, referring back to and further limiting another claim or claims in the same application. Any dependent claim which refers to more than one other claim ("multiple dependent claim") shall refer to such other claims in the alternative only. A multiple dependent claim shall not serve as a basis for any other multiple dependent claim. For fee calculation purposes under § 1.16, a multiple dependent claim will be considered to be that number of claims to which direct reference is made therein. For fee calculation purposes also, any claim depending from a multiple dependent claim will be considered to be that number of claims to which direct reference is made in that multiple dependent claim. In addition to the other filing fees, any original application which is filed with, or is amended to include, multiple dependent claims must have paid therein the fee set forth in § 1.16(j). Claims in dependent form shall be construed to include all the limitations of the claim incorporated by reference into the dependent claim. A multiple dependent claim shall be construed to incorporate by reference all the limitations of each of the particular claims in relation to which it is being considered.

(d)

(1) The claim or claims must conform to the invention as set forth in the remainder of the specification and the terms and phrases used in the claims must find clear support or antecedent basis in the description so that the meaning of the terms in the claims may be ascertainable by reference to the description (See § 1.58(a).)

(2) See §§ 1.141 to 1.146 as to claiming different inventions in one application.

(e) Where the nature of the case admits, as in the case of an improvement, any independent claim should contain in the following order:

(1) A preamble comprising a general description of all the elements or steps of the claimed combination which are conventional or known,

(2) A phrase such as “wherein the improvement comprises,” and

(3) Those elements, steps, and/or relationships which constitute that portion of the claimed combination which the applicant considers as the new or improved portion.

(f) If there are several claims, they shall be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals.

(g) The least restrictive claim should be presented as claim number 1, and all dependent claims should be grouped together with the claim or claims to which they refer to the extent practicable.

(h) The claim or claims must commence on a separate physical sheet or electronic page. Any sheet including a claim or portion of a claim may not contain any other parts of the application or other material.

(i) Where a claim sets forth a plurality of elements or steps, each element or step of the claim should be separated by a line indentation.


For numbering of claims, see MPEP § 608.01(j).

For form of claims, see MPEP § 608.01(m).

For dependent claims, see MPEP § 608.01(n).

For examination of claims, see MPEP § 706.

For claims in excess of fee, see MPEP § 714.10.

608.01(j) Numbering of Claims[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.126. Numbering of claims.

The original numbering of the claims must be preserved throughout the prosecution. When claims are canceled the remaining claims must not be renumbered. When claims are added, they must be numbered by the applicant consecutively beginning with the number next following the highest numbered claim previously presented (whether entered or not). When the application is ready for allowance, the examiner, if necessary, will renumber the claims consecutively in the order in which they appear or in such order as may have been requested by applicant.


In a single claim case, the claim is not numbered.

608.01(k) Statutory Requirement of Claims[edit | edit source]

35 U.S.C. 112 requires that the applicant shall particularly point out and distinctly claim the subject matter which he or she regards as his or her invention. The portion of the application in which he or she does this forms the claim or claims. This is an important part of the application, as it is the definition of that for which protection is granted.

608.01(l) Original Claims[edit | edit source]

In establishing a disclosure, applicant may rely not only on the description and drawing as filed but also on the original claims if their content justifies it.

Where subject matter not shown in the drawing or described in the description is claimed in the application as filed, and such original claim itself constitutes a clear disclosure of this subject matter, then the claim should be treated on its merits, and requirement made to amend the drawing and description to show this subject matter. The claim should not be attacked either by objection or rejection because this subject matter is lacking in the drawing and description. It is the drawing and description that are defective, not the claim.

It is, of course, to be understood that this disclosure in the claim must be sufficiently specific and detailed to support the necessary amendment of the drawing and description.

608.01(m) Form of Claims[edit | edit source]

The claim or claims must commence on a separate physical sheet or electronic page and should appear after the detailed description of the invention. Any sheet including a claim or portion of a claim may not contain any other parts of the application or other material. While there is no set statutory form for claims, the present Office practice is to insist that each claim must be the object of a sentence starting with "I (or we) claim," "The invention claimed is" (or the equivalent). If, at the time of allowance, the quoted terminology is not present, it is inserted by the Office of Patent Publication. Each claim begins with a capital letter and ends with a period. Periods may not be used elsewhere in the claims except for abbreviations. Where a claim sets forth a plurality of elements or steps, each element or step of the claim should be separated by a line indentation, 37 CFR 1.75(i).

Claims should preferably be arranged in order of scope so that the first claim presented is the least restrictive. All dependent claims should be grouped together with the claim or claims to which they refer to the extent practicable. Where separate species are claimed, the claims of like species should be grouped together where possible. Similarly, product and process claims should be separately grouped. Such arrangements are for the purpose of facilitating classification and examination.

Amendments to the claims must be in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(c).

608.01(n) Dependent Claims[edit | edit source]

I.MULTIPLE DEPENDENT CLAIMS

37 CFR 1.75. Claim(s).
.          .          .

(c)One or more claims may be presented in dependent form, referring back to and further limiting another claim or claims in the same application. Any dependent claim which refers to more than one other claim ("multiple dependent claim") shall refer to such other claims in the alternative only. A multiple dependent claim shall not serve as a basis for any other multiple dependent claim. For fee calculation purposes under § 1.16, a multiple dependent claim will be considered to be that number of claims to which direct reference is made therein. For fee calculation purposes also, any claim depending from a multiple dependent claim will be considered to be that number of claims to which direct reference is made in that multiple dependent claim. In addition to the other filing fees, any original application which is filed with, or is amended to include, multiple dependent claims must have paid therein the fee set forth in § 1.16(j). Claims in dependent form shall be construed to include all the limitations of the claim incorporated by reference into the dependent claim. A multiple dependent claim shall be construed to incorporate by reference all the limitations of each of the particular claims in relation to which it is being considered.

.          .          .


Generally, a multiple dependent claim is a dependent claim which refers back in the alternative to more than one preceding independent or dependent claim.

Cumulative claiming (e.g., "A machine according to claims 3 and 4, further comprising ---") is not permitted. A multiple dependent claim may refer in the alternative to only one set of claims. A claim such as "A device as in claims 1, 2, 3, or 4, made by a process of claims 5, 6, 7, or 8" is improper. 35 U.S.C. 112 allows reference to only a particular claim.

A multiple dependent claim may not serve as a basis for any other multiple dependent claim, either directly or indirectly.

Assume each claim example given below is from a different application.

A. Acceptable Multiple Dependent Claim Wording

Claim 5. A gadget according to claims 3 or 4, further comprising ---

Claim 5. A gadget as in any one of the preceding claims, in which ---

Claim 5. A gadget as in any one of claims 1, 2, and 3, in which ---

Claim 3. A gadget as in either claim 1 or claim 2, further comprising ---

Claim 4. A gadget as in claim 2 or 3, further comprising ---

Claim 16. A gadget as in claims 1, 7, 12, or 15, further comprising ---

Claim 5. A gadget as in any of the preceding claims, in which ---

Claim 8. A gadget as in one of claims 4-7, in which ---

Claim 5. A gadget as in any preceding claim, in which ---

Claim 10. A gadget as in any of claims 1-3 or 7-9, in which ---

Claim 11. A gadget as in any one of claims 1, 2, or 7-10 inclusive, in which ---

B.Unacceptable Multiple Dependent Claim Wording

1.Claim Does Not Refer Back in the Alternative Only

Claim 5. A gadget according to claim 3 and 4, further comprising ---

Claim 9. A gadget according to claims 1-3, in which ---

Claim 9. A gadget as in claims 1 or 2 and 7 or 8, which ---

Claim 6. A gadget as in the preceding claims in which ---

Claim 6. A gadget as in claims 1, 2, 3, 4 and/or 5, in which ---

Claim 10. A gadget as in claims 1-3 or 7-9, in which ---

2.Claim Does Not Refer to a Preceding Claim

Claim 3. A gadget as in any of the following claims, in which ---

Claim 5. A gadget as in either claim 6 or claim 8, in which ---

3.Reference to Two Sets of Claims to Different Features

Claim 9. A gadget as in claim 1 or 4 made by the process of claims 5, 6, 7, or 8, in which ---

4.Reference Back to Another Multiple Dependent Claim

Claim 8. A gadget as in claim 5 (claim 5 is a multiple dependent claim) or claim 7, in which ---

35 U.S.C. 112 indicates that the limitations or elements of each claim incorporated by reference into a multiple dependent claim must be considered separately. Thus, a multiple dependent claim, as such, does not contain all the limitations of all the alternative claims to which it refers, but rather contains in any one embodiment only those limitations of the particular claim referred to for the embodiment under consideration. Hence, a multiple dependent claim must be considered in the same manner as a plurality of single dependent claims.

C.Restriction Practice

For restriction purposes, each embodiment of a multiple dependent claim is considered in the same manner as a single dependent claim. Therefore, restriction may be required between the embodiments of a multiple dependent claim. Also, some embodiments of a multiple dependent claim may be held withdrawn while other embodiments are considered on their merits.

D.Handling of Multiple Dependent Claims by the Examiner

The following procedures are to be followed by examiners when faced with claims which refer to numerically succeeding claims:

If any series of dependent claims contains a claim with an improper reference to a numerically following claim which cannot be understood, the claim referring to a following claim should normally be objected to and not treated on the merits.

However, in situations where a claim refers to a numerically following claim and the dependency is clear, both as presented and as it will be renumbered at issue, all claims should be examined on the merits and no objection as to form need be made. In such cases, the examiner will renumber the claims into proper order at the time the application is allowed.

E.Fees for Multiple Dependent Claims

1. Calculation of Fees

(a)Proper Multiple Dependent Claim

A multiple dependent claim is considered to be that number of dependent claims to which it refers. Any proper claim depending directly or indirectly from a multiple dependent claim is also considered as the number of dependent claims as referred to in the multiple dependent claim from which it depends.

(b)Improper Multiple Dependent Claim

If none of the multiple dependent claims is proper, the multiple dependent claim fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(j) will not be required.

The fee for any improper multiple dependent claim, whether it is defective for either not being in the alternative form or for being directly or indirectly dependent on a prior multiple dependent claim, will only be one, since only an objection to the form of such a claim will normally be made. This procedure also greatly simplifies the calculation of fees. Any claim depending from an improper multiple dependent claim will also be considered to be improper and be counted as one dependent claim.

(c)Fee calculation example

Claim No.   Ind. Dep.
1. Independent 1  
2. Dependent on claim 1   1
3. Dependent on claim 2   1
4. Dependent on claim 2 or 3   2
5. Dependent on claim 4   2
6. Dependent on claim 5   2
7. Dependent on claim 4, 5, or 6   1
8. Dependent on claim 7   1
9. Independent 1  
10. Dependent on claim 1 or 9   2
11. Dependent on claim 1 and 9   1


i) Comments On Fee Calculation Example

Claim 1 — This is an independent claim; therefore, a numeral "1" is placed opposite claim number 1 in the "Ind." column.

Claim 2 — Since this is a claim dependent on a single independent claim, a numeral "1" is placed opposite claim number 2 of the "Dep." column.

Claim 3 — Claim 3 is also a single dependent claim, so a numeral "1" is placed in the "Dep." column.

Claim 4 — Claim 4 is a proper multiple dependent claim. It refers directly to two claims in the alternative, namely, claim 2 or 3. Therefore, a numeral "2" to indicate direct reference to two claims is placed in the "Dep." column opposite claim number 4.

Claim 5 — This claim is a singularly dependent claim depending from a multiple dependent claim. For fee calculation purposes, such a claim is counted as being that number of claims to which direct reference is made in the multiple dependent claim from which it depends. In this case, the multiple dependent claim number 4 it depends from counts as 2 claims; therefore, claim 5 also counts as 2 claims. Accordingly, a numeral "2" is placed opposite claim number 5 in the "Dep." column.

Claim 6 — Claim 6 depends indirectly from a multiple dependent claim 4. Since claim 4 counts as 2 claims, claim 6 also counts as 2 dependent claims. Consequently, a numeral "2" is placed in the "Dep." column after claim 6.

Claim 7 — This claim is a multiple dependent claim since it refers to claims 4, 5, or 6. However, as can be seen by looking at the "2" in the "Dep." column opposite claim 4, claim 7 depends from a multiple dependent claim. This practice is improper under 35 U.S.C.112 and 37 CFR 1.75(c). Following the procedure for calculating fees for improper multiple dependent claims, a numeral "1" is placed in the "Dep." column.

Claim 8 — Claim 8 is improper since it depends from an improper claim. If the base claim is in error, this error cannot be corrected by adding additional claims depending therefrom. Therefore, a numeral "1" is placed in the "Dep." column.

Claim 9 — Here again we have an independent claim which is always indicated with a numeral "1" in the "Ind." column opposite the claim number.

Claim 10 — This claim refers to two independent claims in the alternative. A numeral "2" is, therefore, placed in the "Dep." column opposite claim 10.

Claim 11 — Claim 11 is a dependent claim which refers to two claims in the conjunctive ("1" and "9") rather than in the alternative ("1" or "9"). This form is improper under 35 U.S.C. 112 and 37 CFR 1.75(c). Accordingly, since claim 11 is improper, a number "1" is placed in the "Dep." column opposite Claim 11.

ii) Calculation of Fee in Fee Example

After the number of "Ind." and "Dep." claims are noted, each column is added. In this example, there are 2 independent claims and 13 dependent claims or a total of 15 claims.

II. TREATMENT OF IMPROPER DEPENDENT CLAIMS

Any claim which is in dependent form but which is so worded that it, in fact is not, as, for example, it does not include every limitation of the claim on which it depends, will be required to be canceled as not being a proper dependent claim; and cancelation of any further claim depending on such a dependent claim will be similarly required.

The applicant may thereupon amend the claims to place them in proper dependent form, or may redraft them as independent claims, upon payment of any necessary additional fee.

Note, that although 37 CFR 1.75(c) requires the dependent claim to further limit a preceding claim, this rule does not apply to product-by-process claims.

III.INFRINGEMENT TEST

The test as to whether a claim is a proper dependent claim is that it shall include every limitation of the claim from which it depends (35 U.S.C. 112, fourth paragraph) or in other words that it shall not conceivably be infringed by anything which would not also infringe the basic claim.

A dependent claim does not lack compliance with 35 U.S.C. 112, fourth paragraph, simply because there is a question as to (1) the significance of the further limitation added by the dependent claim, or (2) whether the further limitation in fact changes the scope of the dependent claim from that of the claim from which it depends. The test for a proper dependent claim under the fourth paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112 is whether the dependent claim includes every limitation of the claim from which it depends. The test is not one of whether the claims differ in scope.

Thus, for example, if claim 1 recites the combination of elements A, B, C, and D, a claim reciting the structure of claim 1 in which D was omitted or replaced by E would not be a proper dependent claim, even though it placed further limitations on the remaining elements or added still other elements.

Examiners are reminded that a dependent claim is directed to a combination including everything recited in the base claim and what is recited in the dependent claim. It is this combination that must be compared with the prior art, exactly as if it were presented as one independent claim.

The fact that the independent and dependent claims are in different statutory classes does not, in itself, render the latter improper. Thus, if claim 1 recites a specific product, a claim for the method of making the product of claim 1 in a particular manner would be a proper dependent claim since it could not be infringed without infringing claim 1. Similarly, if claim 1 recites a method of making a product, a claim for a product made by the method of claim 1 could be a proper dependent claim. On the other hand, if claim 1 recites a method of making a specified product, a claim to the product set forth in claim 1 would not be a proper dependent claim since it is conceivable that the product claim can be infringed without infringing the base method claim if the product can be made by a method other than that recited in the base method claim.

IV.CLAIM FORM AND ARRANGEMENT

A singular dependent claim 2 could read as follows:

2. The product of claim 1 in which . . . .

A series of singular dependent claims is permissible in which a dependent claim refers to a preceding claim which, in turn, refers to another preceding claim.

A claim which depends from a dependent claim should not be separated therefrom by any claim which does not also depend from said "dependent claim." It should be kept in mind that a dependent claim may refer back to any preceding independent claim.

V.REJECTION AND OBJECTION

If the base claim has been canceled, a claim which is directly or indirectly dependent thereon should be rejected as incomplete. If the base claim is rejected, the dependent claim should be objected to rather than rejected, if it is otherwise allowable.

608.01(o) Basis for Claim Terminology in Description[edit | edit source]

The meaning of every term used in any of the claims should be apparent from the descriptive portion of the specification with clear disclosure as to its import; and in mechanical cases, it should be identified in the descriptive portion of the specification by reference to the drawing, designating the part or parts therein to which the term applies. A term used in the claims may be given a special meaning in the description. See MPEP § 2111.01 and § 2173.05(a).

Usually the terminology of the original claims follows the nomenclature of the specification, but sometimes in amending the claims or in adding new claims, new terms are introduced that do not appear in the specification. The use of a confusing variety of terms for the same thing should not be permitted.

New claims and amendments to the claims already in the application should be scrutinized not only for new matter but also for new terminology. While an applicant is not limited to the nomenclature used in the application as filed, he or she should make appropriate amendment of the specification whenever this nomenclature is departed from by amendment of the claims so as to have clear support or antecedent basis in the specification for the new terms appearing in the claims. This is necessary in order to insure certainty in construing the claims in the light of the specification. See 37 CFR 1.75, MPEP § 608.01(i) and § 1302.01.

608.01(p) Completeness[edit | edit source]

A disclosure in an application, to be complete, must contain such description and details as to enable any person skilled in the art or science to which the invention pertains to make and use the invention as of its filing date.

While the prior art setting may be mentioned in general terms, the essential novelty, the essence of the invention, must be described in such details, including proportions and techniques, where necessary, as to enable those persons skilled in the art to make and utilize the invention.

Specific operative embodiments or examples of the invention must be set forth. Examples and description should be of sufficient scope as to justify the scope of the claims. Markush claims must be provided with support in the disclosure for each member of the Markush group. Where the constitution and formula of a chemical compound is stated only as a probability or speculation, the disclosure is not sufficient to support claims identifying the compound by such composition or formula.

A complete disclosure should include a statement of utility. This usually presents no problem in mechanical cases. In chemical cases, varying degrees of specificity are required.

A disclosure involving a new chemical compound or composition must teach persons skilled in the art how to make the compound or composition. Incomplete teachings may not be completed by reference to subsequently filed applications.

I.INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

37 CFR 1.57. Incorporation by reference.

(a)Subject to the conditions and requirements of this paragraph, if all or a portion of the specification or drawing(s) is inadvertently omitted from an application, but the application contains a claim under § 1.55 for priority of a prior-filed foreign application, or a claim under § 1.78 for the benefit of a prior-filed provisional, nonprovisional, or international application, that was present on the filing date of the application, and the inadvertently omitted portion of the specification or drawing(s) is completely contained in the prior-filed application, the claim under § 1.55 or § 1.78 shall also be considered an incorporation by reference of the prior-filed application as to the inadvertently omitted portion of the specification or drawing(s).

(1) The application must be amended to include the inadvertently omitted portion of the specification or drawing(s) within any time period set by the Office, but in no case later than the close of prosecution as defined by § 1.114 (b), or abandonment of the application, whichever occurs earlier. The applicant is also required to:

(i) Supply a copy of the prior-filed application, except where the prior-filed application is an application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111;

(ii) Supply an English language translation of any prior-filed application that is in a language other than English; and

(iii)Identify where the inadvertently omitted portion of the specification or drawings can be found in the prior-filed application.

(2)Any amendment to an international application pursuant to this paragraph shall be effective only as to the United States, and shall have no effect on the international filing date of the application. In addition, no request to add the inadvertently omitted portion of the specification or drawings in an international application designating the United States will be acted upon by the Office prior to the entry and commencement of the national stage (§ 1.491) or the filing of an application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) which claims benefit of the international application.

(3)If an application is not otherwise entitled to a filing date under § 1.53(b), the amendment must be by way of a petition pursuant to this paragraph accompanied by the fee set forth in § 1.17(f).

(b)Except as provided in paragraph (a) of this section, an incorporation by reference must be set forth in the specification and must:

(1)Express a clear intent to incorporate by reference by using the root words “incorporat(e)” and “reference” (e.g., “incorporate by reference”); and

(2)Clearly identify the referenced patent, application, or publication.

(c)“Essential material” may be incorporated by reference, but only by way of an incorporation by reference to a U.S. patent or U.S. patent application publication, which patent or patent application publication does not itself incorporate such essential material by reference. “Essential material” is material that is necessary to:

(1)Provide a written description of the claimed invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same, and set forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor of carrying out the invention as required by the first paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112;

(2)Describe the claimed invention in terms that particularly point out and distinctly claim the invention as required by the second paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112; or

(3)Describe the structure, material, or acts that correspond to a claimed means or step for performing a specified function as required by the sixth paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112.

(d)Other material (“Nonessential material”) may be incorporated by reference to U.S. patents, U.S. patent application publications, foreign patents, foreign published applications, prior and concurrently filed commonly owned U.S. applications, or non- patent publications. An incorporation by reference by hyperlink or other form of browser executable code is not permitted.

(e)The examiner may require the applicant to supply a copy of the material incorporated by reference. If the Office requires the applicant to supply a copy of material incorporated by reference, the material must be accompanied by a statement that the copy supplied consists of the same material incorporated by reference in the referencing application.

(f)Any insertion of material incorporated by reference into the specification or drawings of an application must be by way of an amendment to the specification or drawings. Such an amendment must be accompanied by a statement that the material being inserted is the material previously incorporated by reference and that the amendment contains no new matter.

(g)An incorporation of material by reference that does not comply with paragraphs (b), (c), or (d) of this section is not effective to incorporate such material unless corrected within any time period set by the Office, but in no case later than the close of prosecution as defined by § 1.114(b), or abandonment of the application, whichever occurs earlier. In addition:

(1)A correction to comply with paragraph (b)(1) of this section is permitted only if the application as file d clearly conveys an intent to incorporate the material by reference. A mere reference to material does not convey an intent to incorporate the material by reference.

(2)A correction to comply with paragraph (b)(2) of this section is only permitted for material that was sufficiently described to uniquely identify the document.


The Director has considerable discretion in determining what may or may not be incorporated by reference in a patent application. Effective October 21, 2004, the Office codified in 37 CFR 1.57(b) – (g) existing practice with respect to explicit incorporations by reference with a few changes to reflect the eighteen-month publication of applications. In addition, 37 CFR 1.57(a) was added to provide a safeguard for applicants when a page(s) of the specification, or a portion thereof, or a sheet(s) of the drawing(s), or a portion thereof, is inadvertently omitted from an application, such as through a clerical error. 37 CFR 1.57(a) applies to applications filed on or after September 21, 2004. 37 CFR 1.57(a) permits inadvertently omitted material to be added to the application by way of a later filed amendment if the inadvertently omitted portion of the specification or drawing(s) is completely contained in a prior-filed application (for which priority/benefit is claimed) even though there is no explicit incorporation by reference of the prior-filed application. See MPEP § 201.17 for discussion regarding 37 CFR 1.57(a).

The incorporation by reference practice with respect to applications which issue as U.S. patents provides the public with a patent disclosure which minimizes the public’s burden to search for and obtain copies of documents incorporated by reference which may not be readily available. Through the Office’s incorporation by reference policy, the Office ensures that reasonably complete disclosures are published as U.S. patents. The following is the manner in which the Director has elected to exercise that discretion. Section A provides the guidance for incorporation by reference in applications which are to issue as U.S. patents. Section B provides guidance for incorporation by reference in benefit applications; i.e., those domestic (35 U.S.C. 120) or foreign (35 U.S.C. 119(a)) applications relied on to establish an earlier effective filing date. See MPEP § 2181 for the impact of incorporation by reference on the determination of whether applicant has complied with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph when 35 U.S.C. 112, sixth paragraph is invoked.

A.Review of Applications Which Are To Issue as Patents.

An application as filed must be complete in itself in order to comply with 35 U.S.C. 112. Material nevertheless may be incorporated by reference, Ex parte Schwarze, 151 USPQ 426 (Bd. App. 1966). An application for a patent when filed may incorporate “essential material” by reference to (1) a U.S. patent, or (2) a U.S. patent application publication, which patent or patent application publication does not itself incorporate such essential material by reference. See 37 CFR 1.57(c). Prior to October 21, 2004, Office policy also permitted incorporation by reference to a pending U.S. application.

“Essential material” is defined in 37 CFR 1.57(c) as that which is necessary to (1) provide a written description of the claimed invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same, and set forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor of carrying out the invention as required by the first paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112, (2) describe the claimed invention in terms that particularly point out and distinctly claim the invention as required by the second paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112, or (3) describe the structure, material, or acts that correspond to a claimed means or step for performing a specified function as required by the sixth paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112. In any application that is to issue as a U.S. patent, essential material may only be incorporated by reference to a U.S. patent or patent application publication. The practice of permitting incorporation by reference of material from unpublished applications in which the issue fee was paid was discontinued by rule on October 21, 2004.

Other material (“nonessential subject matter”) may be incorporated by reference to (1) patents or applications published by the United States or foreign countries or regional patent offices, (2) prior and concurrently filed, commonly owned U.S. applications, or (3) non-patent publications . Nonessential subject matter is subject matter referred to for purposes of indicating the background of the invention or illustrating the state of the art.

An incorporation by reference by hyperlink or other form of browser executable code is not permitted. See 37 CFR 1.57(d) and MPEP § 608.01.

Mere reference to another application, patent, or publication is not an incorporation of anything therein into the application containing such reference for the purpose of the disclosure required by 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph. In re de Seversky, 474 F.2d 671, 177 USPQ 144 (CCPA 1973). 37 CFR 1.57(b)(1) limits a proper incorporation by reference (except as provided in 37 CFR 1.57(a)) to instances only where the perfecting words “incorporated by reference” or the root of the words “incorporate” (e.g., incorporating, incorporated) and “reference” (e.g., referencing) appear. The requirement for specific root words will bring greater clarity to the record and provide a bright line test as to where something is being referred to is an incorporation by reference. The Office intends to treat references to documents that do not meet this “bright line” test as noncompliant incorporations by reference and may require correction pursuant to 37 CFR 1.57(g). If a reference to a document does not clearly indicate an intended incorporation by reference, examination will proceed as if no incorporation by reference statement has been made and the Office will not expend resources trying to determine if an incorporation by reference was intended. In addition to other requirements for an application, the referencing application must include an identification of the referenced patent, application, or publication. See 37 CFR 1.57(b)(2) Particular attention should be directed to specific portions of the referenced document where the subject matter being incorporated may be found. Guidelines for situations where applicant is permitted to fill in a number for Application No. __________ left blank in the application as filed can be found in In re Fouche, 439 F.2d 1237, 169 USPQ 429 (CCPA 1971) (Abandoned applications less than 20 years old can be incorporated by reference to the same extent as copending applications; both types are open to the public upon the referencing application issuing as a patent. See 37 CFR 1.14(a)(i)(iv) and (vi) and MPEP § 103).

1.Complete Disclosure Filed

If an application is filed with a complete disclosure, essential material may be canceled by amendment and may be substituted by reference to a U.S. patent or a U.S. patent application publication. The amendment must be accompanied by a statement signed by the applicant, or a practitioner representing the applicant, stating that the material canceled from the application is the same material that has been incorporated by reference and no new matter has been included (see 37 CFR 1.57(f). The same procedure is available for nonessential material.

If an application as filed incorporates material by reference , a copy of the incorporated by reference material may be required to be submitted to the Office even if the material is properly incorporated by reference. The examiner may require a copy of the incorporated material to review and to understand what is being incorporated or to put the description of the material in its proper context. Another instance where a copy of the incorporated material may be required is where the material is being inserted by amendment into the body of the application to replace an improper incorporation by reference statement so that the Office can determine that the material being added by amendment in lieu of the incorporation is the same material as was attempted to be incorporated. If the Office requires the applicant to supply a copy of the material incorporated by reference, the material must be accompanied by a statement that the copy supplied consists of the same material incorporated by reference in the referencing application. See 37 CFR 1.57(e).

2.Improper Incorporation

37 CFR 1.57(f) addresses corrections of incorporation by reference by inserting the material previously incorporated by reference. A noncompliant incorporation by reference statement may be corrected by an amendment. 37 CFR 1.57(f). However, the amendment must not include new matter. Incorporating by reference material that was not incorporated by reference on filing of an application may introduce new matter. An incorporation by reference of essential material to an unpublished U.S. patent application, a foreign application or patent, or to a publication is improper under 37 CFR 1.57(c). The improper incorporation by reference is not effective to incorporate the material unless corrected by the applicant (37 CFR 1.57(g)). Any underlying objection or rejection (e.g., under 35 U.S.C. 112) should be made by the examiner until applicant corrects the improper incorporation by reference by submitting an amendment to amend the specification or drawings to include the material incorporated by reference. A statement that the material being inserted is the material previously incorporated by reference and that the amendment contains no new matter is also required. 37 CFR 1.57(f). See also In re Hawkins, 486 F.2d 569, 179 USPQ 157 (CCPA 1973); In re Hawkins, 486 F.2d 579, 179 USPQ 163 (CCPA 1973); In re Hawkins, 486 F.2d 577, 179 USPQ 167 (CCPA 1973). Improper incorporation by reference statements and late corrections thereof require expenditure of unnecessary examination resources and slow the prosecution process. Applicants know (or should know) whether they want material incorporated by reference, and must timely correct any incorporation by reference errors. Correction must be done within the time period set forth in 37 CFR 1.57(g).

An incorporation by reference that does not comply with 37 CFR 1.57(b), (c), or (d) is not effective to incorporate such material unless corrected within any time period set by the Office (should the noncompliant incorporation by reference be first noticed by the Office and applicant informed thereof), but in no case later than the close of prosecution as defined by 37 CFR 1.114(b) (should applicant be the first to notice the noncompliant incorporation by reference and the Office informed thereof), or abandonment of the application, whichever occurs earlier. The phrase “or abandonment of the application” is included in 37 CFR 1.57(g) to address the situations where an application is abandoned prior to the close of prosecution, e.g., the situation where an application is abandoned after a non-final Office action.

37 CFR 1.57(g)(1) authorizes the correction of noncompliant incorporation by reference statements that do not use the root of the words “incorporate” and “reference” in the incorporation by reference statement. This correction cannot be made when the material was merely referred to and there was no clear specific intent to incorporate it by reference.

37 CFR 1.57(g)(2) states that a citation of a document can be corrected where the document is sufficiently described to uniquely identify the document. Correction of a citation for a document that cannot be identified as the incorporated document may be new matter and is not authorized by 37 CFR 1.57(g)(2). An example would be where applicant intended to incorporate a particular journal article but supplied the citation information for a completely unrelated book by a different author, and there is no other information to identify the correct journal article. Since it cannot be determined from the citation originally supplied what article was intended to be incorporated, it would be improper (e.g., new matter) to replace the original incorporation by reference with the intended incorporation by reference. A citation of a patent application by attorney docket number, inventor name, filing date and title of invention may sufficiently describe the document, but even then correction should be made to specify the application number.

A petition under 37 CFR 1.183 to suspend the time period requirement set forth in 37 CFR 1.57(g) will not be appropriate. After the application has been abandoned, applicant must file a petition to revive under 37 CFR 1.137 for the purpose of correcting the incorporation by reference. After the application has issued as a patent, applicant may correct the patent by filing a reissue application. Correcting an improper incorporation by reference with a certificate of correction is not an appropriate means of correction because it may alter the scope of the claims. The scope of the claims may be altered because 37 CFR 1.57(g) provides that an incorporation by reference that does not comply with paragraph (b), (c), or (d) is not an effective incorporation. For example, an equivalent means omitted from a patent disclosure by an ineffective incorporation by reference would be outside the scope of the patented claims. Hence, a correction of an incorporation by reference pursuant to 37 CFR 1.57may alter the scope of the claims by adding the omitted equivalent means. Changes involving the scope of the claims should be done via the reissue process. Additionally, the availability of the reissue process for corrections would make a successful showing required under 37 CFR 1.183 unlikely. The following examples show when an improper incorporation by reference is required to be corrected:

Example 1:

Upon review of the specification, the examiner noticed that the specification included an incorporation by reference statement incorporating essential material disclosed in a foreign patent. In a non- final Office action, the examiner required the applicant to amend the specification to include the essential material.

In reply to the non-final Office action, applicant must correct the improper incorporation by reference by filing an amendment to add the essential material disclosed in the foreign patent and a statement in compliance with 37 CFR1.57(f) within the time period for reply set forth in the non-final Office action.

Example 2:

Upon review of the specification, the examiner determined that the subject matter incorporated by reference from a foreign patent was “nonessential material” and therefore, did not object to the incorporation by reference. In reply to a non-final Office action, applicant filed an amendment to the claims to add a new limitation that was supported only by the foreign patent. The amendment filed by the applicant caused the examiner to re-determine that the incorporated subject matter was “essential material” under 37 CFR 1.57(c). The examiner rejected the claims that include the new limitation under 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph, in a final Office action.

Since the rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph was necessitated by the applicant’s amendment, the finality of the Office action is proper. If the applicant wishes to overcome the rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph by filing an amendment under 37 CFR 1.57(f) to add the subject material disclosed in the foreign patent into the specification, applicant may file the amendment as an after final amendment in compliance with 37 CFR 1.116. Alternatively, applicant may file an RCE under 37 CFR 1.114 accompanied by the appropriate fee, and an amendment per 37 CFR 1.57(f) within the time period for reply set forth in the final Office action.

The filing date of any application wherein essential material is improperly incorporated by reference will not be affected by applicant’s correction where (A) there is a clear intent to incorporate by reference the intended material and the correction is to add the root words of “incorporate” and “reference,” (B) the incorporated document can be uniquely identified and the correction is to clarify the document’s identification, and (C) where the correction is to insert the material from the reference where incorporation is to an unpublished U.S. patent application, foreign application or patent, or to a publication.

Reliance on a commonly assigned , prior filed or concurrently filed copending application by a different inventor may ordinarily be made for the purpose of completing the disclosure provided the incorporated material is directed to nonessential material. See 37 CFR 1.57(d). See In re Fried, 329 F.2d 323, 141 USPQ 27 (CCPA 1964), and General Electric Co. v. Brenner, 407 F.2d 1258, 159 USPQ 335 (D.C. Cir. 1968).

Since a disclosure must be complete as of the filing date, subsequent publications or subsequently filed applications cannot be relied on to establish a constructive reduction to practice or an enabling disclosure as of the filing date. White Consol. Indus., Inc. v. Vega Servo-Control, Inc., 713 F.2d 788, 218 USPQ 961 (Fed. Cir. 1983); In re Scarbrough, 500 F.2d 560, 182 USPQ 298 (CCPA 1974); In re Glass, 492 F.2d 1228, 181 USPQ 31 (CCPA 1974).

B.Review of Applications Which Are Relied on To Establish an Earlier Effective Filing Date.

The limitations on the material which may be incorporated by reference in U.S. patent applications which are to issue as U.S. patents do not apply to applications relied on only to establish an earlier effective filing date under 35 U.S.C. 119 or 35 U.S.C. 120. Neither 35 U.S.C. 119(a) nor 35 U.S.C. 120 places any restrictions or limitations as to how the claimed invention must be disclosed in the earlier application to comply with 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph. Accordingly, an application is entitled to rely upon the filing date of an earlier application, even if the earlier application itself incorporates essential material by reference to another document. See Ex parte Maziere, 27 USPQ2d 1705, 1706-07 (Bd. Pat. App. & Inter. 1993).

The reason for incorporation by reference practice with respect to applications which are to issue as U.S. patents is to provide the public with a patent disclosure which minimizes the public’s burden to search for and obtain copies of documents incorporated by reference which may not be readily available. Through the Office’s incorporation by reference policy, the Office ensures that reasonably complete disclosures are published as U.S. patents. The same policy concern does not apply where the sole purpose for which an applicant relies on an earlier U.S. or foreign application is to establish an earlier filing date. Incorporation by reference in the earlier application of (1) patents or applications published by foreign countries or regional patent offices, (2) nonpatent publications, (3) a U.S. patent or application which itself incorporates “essential material” by reference, or (4) a foreign application, is not critical in the case of a “benefit” application.

When an applicant, or a patent owner in a reexamination or interference, claims the benefit of the filing date of an earlier application which incorporates material by reference, the applicant or patent owner may be required to supply copies of the material incorporated by reference. For example, an applicant may claim the benefit of the filing date of a foreign application which itself incorporates by reference another earlier filed foreign application. If necessary, due to an intervening reference, applicant should be required to supply a copy of the earlier filed foreign application, along with an English language translation. A review can then be made of the foreign application and all material incorporated by reference to determine whether the foreign application discloses the invention sought to be patented in the manner required by the first paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112 so that benefit may be accorded. In re Gosteli, 872 F.2d 1008, 10 USPQ2d 1614 (Fed. Cir. 1989).

As a safeguard against the omission of a portion of a prior application for which priority is claimed under 35 U.S.C. 119(a)-(d) or (f), or for which benefit is claimed under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) or 120, applicant may include a statement at the time of filing of the later application incorporating by reference the prior application. See MPEP § 201.06(c) and § 201.11 where domestic benefit is claimed. See MPEP § 201.13 where foreign priority is claimed. See MPEP § 201.17 regarding 37 CFR 1.57(a) for applications filed on or after September 21, 2004. The inclusion of such an incorporation by reference statement in the later-filed application will permit applicant to include subject matter from the prior application into the later- filed application without the subject matter being considered as new matter. For the incorporation by reference to be effective as a proper safeguard, the incorporation by reference statement must be filed at the time of filing of the later-filed application. An incorporation by reference statement added after an application’s filing date is not effective because no new matter can be added to an application after its filing date (see 35 U.S.C. 132(a).

II.SIMULATED OR PREDICTED TEST RESULTS OR PROPHETIC EXAMPLES

Simulated or predicted test results and prophetical examples (paper examples) are permitted in patent applications. Working examples correspond to work actually performed and may describe tests which have actually been conducted and results that were achieved. Paper examples describe the manner and process of making an embodiment of the invention which has not actually been conducted. Paper examples should not be represented as work actually done. No results should be represented as actual results unless they have actually been achieved. Paper examples should not be described using the past tense. Hoffman-La Roche, Inc. v. Promega Corp., 323 F.3d 1354, 1367, 66 USPQ2d 1385, 1394 (Fed. Cir. 2003).

For problems arising from the designation of materials by trademarks and trade names, see MPEP § 608.01(v).

608.01 (q)Substitute or Rewritten Specification[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.125. Substitute specification.

(a)If the number or nature of the amendments or the legibility of the application papers renders it difficult to consider the application, or to arrange the papers for printing or copying, the Office may require the entire specification, including the claims, or any part thereof, be rewritten.

(b)Subject to § 1.312, a substitute specification, excluding the claims, may be filed at any point up to payment of the issue fee if it is accompanied by a statement that the substitute specification includes no new matter.

(c)A substitute specification submitted under this section must be submitted with markings showing all the changes relative to the immediate prior version of the specification of record. The text of any added subject matter must be shown by underlining the added text. The text of any deleted matter must be shown by strike-through except that double brackets placed before and after the deleted characters may be used to show deletion of five or fewer consecutive characters. The text of any deleted subject matter must be shown by being placed within double brackets if strike-through cannot be easily perceived. An accompanying clean version (without markings) must also be supplied. Numbering the paragraphs of the specification of record is not considered a change that must be shown pursuant to this paragraph.

(d)A substitute specification under this section is not permitted in a reissue application or in a reexamination proceeding.

The specification is sometimes in such faulty English that a new specification is necessary; in such instances, a new specification should be required.

Form paragraph 6.28 may be used where the specification is in faulty English.


¶ 6.28 Idiomatic English

A substitute specification in proper idiomatic English and in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52(a) and (b) is required. The substitute specification filed must be accompanied by a statement that it contains no new matter.

37 CFR 1.125(a) applies to a substitute specification required by the Office. If the number or nature of the amendments or the legibility of the application papers renders it difficult to consider the application, or to arrange the papers for printing or copying, the Office may require the entire specification, including the claims, or any part thereof be rewritten.

Form paragraph 6.28.01 may be used where the examiner, for reasons other than faulty English, requires a substitute specification.


¶ 6.28.01 Substitute Specification Required by Examiner

A substitute specification [1] the claims is required pursuant to 37 CFR 1.125(a) because [2].

A substitute specification must not contain new matter. The substitute specification must be submitted with markings showing all the changes relative to the immediate prior version of the specification of record. The text of any added subject matter must be shown by underlining the added text. The text of any deleted matter must be shown by strikethrough except that double brackets placed before and after the deleted characters may be used to show deletion of five or fewer consecutive characters. The text of any deleted subject matter must be shown by being placed within double brackets if strikethrough cannot be easily perceived. An accompanying clean version (without markings) and a statement




that the substitute specification contains no new matter must also be supplied. Numbering the paragraphs of the specification of record is not considered a change that must be shown.

Examiner Note:

1.In bracket 1, insert either --excluding-- or --including--.

2.In bracket 2, insert clear and concise examples of why a new specification is required.

3.A new specification is required if the number or nature of the amendments render it difficult to consider the application or to arrange the papers for printing or copying, 37 CFR 1.125.

4.See also form paragraph 13.01 for partial rewritten specification.



37 CFR 1.125(b) applies to a substitute specification voluntarily filed by the applicant. Subject to the provisions of 37 CFR 1.312, a substitute specification, excluding claims, may be voluntarily filed by the applicant at any point up to the payment of the issue fee provided it is accompanied by a statement that the substitute specification includes no new matter. The Office will accept a substitute specification voluntarily filed by the applicant if the requirements of 37 CFR 1.125(b) are satisfied.

37 CFR 1.125(c) requires a substitute specification filed under 37 CFR 1.125(a) or (b) be submitted in clean form without markings. A marked-up copy of the substitute specification showing all the changes relative to the immediate prior version of the specification of record must also be submitted. The text of any added subject matter must be shown by underlining the added text. The text of any deleted matter must be shown by strike-through except that double brackets placed before and after the deleted characters may be used to show deletion of five of fewer consecutive characters. The text of any deleted subject matter must be shown by being placed within double brackets if strike-through cannot be easily perceived. Numbering the paragraphs of the specification of record is not considered a change that must be shown under 37 CFR 1.125(c) The paragraphs of any substitute specification, other than the claims, should be individually numbered in Arabic numerals (for example [0001]) so that any amendment to the specification may be made by replacement paragraph in accordance with 37 CFR 1.121(b)(1).

A substitute specification filed under 37 CFR 1.125(b) must be accompanied by a statement indicating that no new matter was included. There is no obligation on the examiner to make a detailed comparison between the old and the new specifications for determining whether or not new matter has been added. If, however, an examiner becomes aware that new matter is present, objection thereto should be made.

The filing of a substitute specification rather than amending the original application has the advantage for applicants of eliminating the need to prepare an amendment of the specification. If word processing equipment is used by applicants, substitute specifications can be easily prepared. The Office receives the advantage of saving the time needed to enter amendments in the specification and a reduction in the number of printing errors. A substitute specification is not permitted in a reissue application or in a reexamination proceeding. 37 CFR 1.125(d).

A substitute specification which complies with 37 CFR 1.125 should normally be entered. The examiner should write “Enter” or “OK to Enter” and his or her initials in ink in the left margin of the first page of the substitute specification. A substitute specification which is denied entry should be so marked.

Form paragraph 6.28.02 may be used to notify applicant that a substitute specification submitted under 37 CFR 1.125(b) has not been entered. For Image File Wrapper (IFW) processing, see IFW Manual.


¶ 6.28.02 Substitute Specification Filed Under 37 CFR 1.125(b) and (c) Not Entered.

The substitute specification filed [1] has not been entered because it does not conform to 37 CFR 1.125(b) and (c) because: [2]

Examiner Note:

1.In bracket 2, insert statement of why the substitute specification is improper, for example:

-- the statement as to a lack of new matter under 37 CFR 1.125(b) is missing--,

-- a marked-up copy of the substitute specification has not been supplied (in addition to the clean copy)--;

-- a clean copy of the substitute specification has not been supplied (in addition to the marked-up copy)--; or,

-- the substitute specification has been filed:

- in a reissue application or in a reexamination proceeding, 37 CFR 1.125(d)-, or

- after payment of the issue fee-, or

- containing claims (to be amended)- --.

2.A substitute specification filed after final action or appeal is governed by 37 CFR 1.116. A substitute specification filed after the mailing of a notice of allowance is governed by 37 CFR 1.312.




See MPEP § 714.20 regarding entry of amendments which include an unacceptable substitute specification.


For new matter in amendment, see MPEP § 608.04.

For application prepared for issue, see MPEP §

1302.02.

608.01(r)Derogatory Remarks About[edit | edit source]

Prior Art in Specification

The applicant may refer to the general state of the art and the advance thereover made by his or her invention, but he or she is not permitted to make derogatory remarks concerning the inventions of others. Derogatory remarks are statements disparaging the products or processes of any particular person other than the applicant, or statements as to the merits or validity of applications or patents of another person. Mere comparisons with the prior art are not considered to be disparaging, per se.

608.01(s)Restoration of Canceled Matter[R-5][edit | edit source]

Canceled text in the specification can be reinstated only by a subsequent amendment presenting the previously canceled matter as a new insertion. 37 CFR 1.121(b)(4). A claim canceled by amendment (deleted in its entirety) may be reinstated only by a subsequent amendment presenting the claim as a new claim with a new claim number. 37 CFR 1.121(c)(5). See MPEP § 714.

608.01(t)Use in Subsequent Application[edit | edit source]

A reservation for a future application of subject matter disclosed but not claimed in a pending application will not be permitted in the pending application. 37 CFR 1.79; MPEP § 608.01(e).

No part of a specification can normally be transferred to another application. Drawings may be transferred to another application only upon the granting of a petition filed under the provisions of 37 CFR 1.182. See MPEP § 608.02(i).

608.01(u)Use of Formerly Filed Incomplete[edit | edit source]

Application [R-3]

Parts of an incomplete application which have been retained by the Office may be used as part of a complete application if the missing parts are later supplied. See MPEP § 506.

608.01(v)Trademarks and Names Used in Trade[edit | edit source]

The expressions “trademarks” and “names used in trade” as used below have the following meanings:

Trademark: a word, letter, symbol, or device adopted by one manufacturer or merchant and used to identify and distinguish his or her product from those of others. It is a proprietary word, letter, symbol, or device pointing distinctly to the product of one producer.

Names Used in Trade: a nonproprietary name by which an article or product is known and called among traders or workers in the art, although it may not be so known by the public, generally. Names used in trade do not point to the product of one producer, but they identify a single article or product irrespective of producer.

Names used in trade are permissible in patent applications if:

(A) Their meanings are established by an accompanying definition which is sufficiently precise and definite to be made a part of a claim, or

(B) In this country, their meanings are well- known and satisfactorily defined in the literature.

Condition (A) or (B) must be met at the time of filing of the complete application.

I. TRADEMARKS[edit | edit source]

The relationship between a trademark and the product it identifies is sometimes indefinite, uncertain, and arbitrary. The formula or characteristics of the product may change from time to time and yet it may continue to be sold under the same trademark. In patent specifications, every element or ingredient of the product should be set forth in positive, exact, intelligible language, so that there will be no uncertainty as to what is meant. Arbitrary trademarks which are liable to mean different things at the pleasure of manufacturers do not constitute such language. Ex Parte Kattwinkle, 12 USPQ 11 (Bd. App. 1931).

However, if the product to which the trademark refers is set forth in such language that its identity is clear, the examiners are authorized to permit the use of the trademark if it is distinguished from common descriptive nouns by capitalization. If the trademark has a fixed and definite meaning, it constitutes sufficient identification unless some physical or chemical characteristic of the article or material is involved in the invention. In that event, as also in those cases where the trademark has no fixed and definite meaning, identification by scientific or other explanatory language is necessary. In re Gebauer- Fuelnegg, 121 F.2d 505, 50 USPQ 125 (CCPA 1941).

The matter of sufficiency of disclosure must be decided on an individual case-by-case basis. In re Metcalfe, 410 F.2d 1378, 161 USPQ 789 (CCPA 1969).

Where the identification of a trademark is introduced by amendment, it must be restricted to the characteristics of the product known at the time the application was filed to avoid any question of new matter.

If proper identification of the product sold under a trademark, or a product referred to only by a name used in trade, is omitted from the specification and such identification is deemed necessary under the principles set forth above, the examiner should hold the disclosure insufficient and reject on the ground of insufficient disclosure any claims based on the identification of the product merely by trademark or by the name used in trade. If the product cannot be otherwise defined, an amendment defining the process of its manufacture may be permitted. Such amendments must be supported by satisfactory showings establishing that the specific nature or process of manufacture of the product as set forth in the amendment was known at the time of filing of the application.

Although the use of trademarks having definite meanings is permissible in patent applications, the proprietary nature of the marks should be respected. Trademarks should be identified by capitalizing each letter of the mark (in the case of word or letter marks) or otherwise indicating the description of the mark (in the case of marks in the form of a symbol or device or other nontextual form). Every effort should be made to prevent their use in any manner which might adversely affect their validity as trademarks.

Form paragraph 6.20 may be used.

The examiner should not permit the use of language such as “the product X (a descriptive name) commonly known as Y (trademark)” since such language does not bring out the fact that the latter is a trademark. Language such as “the product X (a descriptive name) sold under the trademark Y” is permissible.

The use of a trademark in the title of an application should be avoided as well as the use of a trademark coupled with the word “type”, e.g., “Band-Aid type bandage.”

In the event that the proprietary trademark is a “symbol or device” depicted in a drawing, either the brief description of the drawing or the detailed description of the drawing should specify that the “symbol or device” is a registered trademark of Company X.

The owner of a trademark may be identified in the specification.

Technology Center Directors should reply to all trademark misuse complaint letters and forward a copy to the editor of this manual. Where a letter demonstrates a trademark misuse in a patent application publication, the Office should, where the application is still pending, ensure that the trademark is replaced by appropriate generic terminology.

See Appendix I for a partial listing of trademarks and the particular goods to which they apply.

II. INCLUSION OF COPYRIGHT OR MASK WORK NOTICE IN PATENTS[edit | edit source]
37 CFR 1.71. Detailed description and specification of the invention
.          .          .

(d) A copyright or mask work notice may be placed in a design or utility patent application adjacent to copyright and mask work material contained therein. The notice may appear at any appropriate portion of the patent application disclosure. For notices in drawings, see § 1.84(s). The content of the notice must be limited to only those elements provided for by law. For example, “©1983 John Doe” (17 U.S.C. 401) and “M John Doe” (17 U.S.C. 909) would be properly limited and, under current statutes, legally sufficient notices of copyright and mask work, respectively. Inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice will be permitted only if the authorization language set forth in paragraph (e) of this section is included at the beginning (preferably as the first paragraph) of the specification.

(e) The authorization shall read as follows:

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to (copyright or mask work) protection. The (copyright or mask work) owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all (copyright or mask work) rights whatsoever.


37 CFR 1.84. Standards for drawings

(s) Copyright or Mask Work Notice. A copyright or mask work notice may appear in the drawing, but must be placed within the sight of the drawing immediately below the figure representing the copyright or mask work material and be limited to letters having a print size of.32 cm. to.64 cm. (1/8 to 1/4 inches) high. The content of the notice must be limited to only those elements provided for by law. For example, “ ©1983 John Doe” (17 U.S.C. 401) and “M John Doe” (17 U.S.C. 909) would be properly limited and, under current statutes, legally sufficient notices of copyright and mask work, respectively. Inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice will be permitted only if the authorization language set forth in § 1.71(e) is included at the beginning (preferably as the first paragraph) of the specification.


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will permit the inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice in a design or utility patent application, and thereby any patent issuing therefrom, which discloses material on which copyright or mask work protection has previously been established, under the following conditions:

(A) The copyright or mask work notice must be placed adjacent to the copyright or mask work material. Therefore, the notice may appear at any appropriate portion of the patent application disclosure, including the drawing. However, if appearing in the drawing, the notice must comply with 37 CFR 1.84(s). If placed on a drawing in conformance with these provisions, the notice will not be objected to as extraneous matter under 37 CFR 1.84.

(B) The content of the notice must be limited to only those elements required by law. For example, “©1983 John Doe”(17 U.S.C. 401) and “M John Doe” (17 U.S.C. 909) would be properly limited, and under current statutes, legally sufficient notices of copyright and mask work respectively.

(C) Inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice will be permitted only if the following authorization in 37 CFR 1.71(e) is included at the beginning (preferably as the first paragraph) of the specification to be printed for the patent:

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to (copyright or mask work) protection. The (copyright or mask work) owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all (copyright or mask work) rights whatsoever.

(D) Inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice after a Notice of Allowance has been mailed will be permitted only if the criteria of 37 CFR 1.312 have been satisfied.

The inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice in a design or utility patent application, and thereby any patent issuing therefrom, under the conditions set forth above will serve to protect the rights of the author/inventor, as well as the public, and will serve to promote the mission and goals of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Therefore, the inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice which complies with these conditions will be permitted. However, any departure from these conditions may result in a refusal to permit the desired inclusion. If the authorization required under condition (C) above does not include the specific language “(t)he (copyright or mask work) owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records,...” the notice will be objected to as improper by the examiner of the application. If the examiner maintains the objection upon reconsideration, a petition may be filed in accordance with 37 CFR 1.181.

608.02 Drawing[edit | edit source]

35 U.S.C. 113. Drawings.

The applicant shall furnish a drawing where necessary for the understanding of the subject matter to be patented. When the nature of such subject matter admits of illustration by a drawing and the applicant has not furnished such a drawing, the Commissioner may require its submission within a time period of not less than two months from the sending of a notice thereof. Drawings submitted after the filing date of the application may not be used (i) to overcome any insufficiency of the specification due to lack of an enabling disclosure or otherwise inadequate disclosure therein, or (ii) to supplement the original disclosure thereof for the purpose of interpretation of the scope of any claim.


37 CFR 1.81. Drawings required in patent application.

(a) The applicant for a patent is required to furnish a drawing of his or her invention where necessary for the understanding of the subject matter sought to be patented; this drawing, or a high quality copy thereof, must be filed with the application. Since corrections are the responsibility of the applicant, the original drawing( s) should be retained by the applicant for any necessary future correction.

(b) Drawings may include illustrations which facilitate an understanding of the invention (for example, flow sheets in cases of processes, and diagrammatic views).

(c) Whenever the nature of the subject matter sought to be patented admits of illustration by a drawing without its being necessary for the understanding of the subject matter and the applicant has not furnished such a drawing, the examiner will require its submission within a time period of not less than two months from the date of the sending of a notice thereof.

(d) Drawings submitted after the filing date of the application may not be used to overcome any insufficiency of the specification due to lack of an enabling disclosure or otherwise inadequate disclosure therein, or to supplement the original disclosure thereof for the purpose of interpretation of the scope of any claim.


I. DRAWING REQUIREMENTS[edit | edit source]

The first sentence of 35 U.S.C 113 requires a drawing to be submitted upon filing where such drawing is necessary for the understanding of the invention. In this situation, the lack of a drawing renders the application incomplete and, as such, the application cannot be given a filing date until the drawing is received. The second sentence of 35 U.S.C. 113addresses the situation wherein a drawing is not necessary for the understanding of the invention, but the subject matter sought to be patented admits of illustration and no drawing was submitted on filing. The lack of a drawing in this situation does not render the application incomplete but rather is treated as an informality. The examiner should require such drawings in almost all such instances. Such drawings could be required during the initial processing of the application but do not have to be furnished at the time the application is filed. The applicant is given at least 2 months from the date of the letter requiring drawings to submit the drawing(s).

If the specification includes a sequence listing or a table, such a sequence listing or table is not permitted to be reprinted in the drawings. 37 CFR 1.83(a) and 1.58(a). If a sequence listing as shown in the drawings has more information than is contained in the specification, the sequence listing could be included in the specification and the drawings. Applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 371 are excluded from the prohibition from having the same tables and sequence listings in both the description portion of the specification and drawings.

II.RECEIPT OF DRAWING AFTER THE FILING DATE[edit | edit source]

If the examiner discovers new matter in a substitute or additional drawing, the drawing should not be entered. The drawing should be objected to as containing new matter. A new drawing without such new matter may be required if the examiner determines that a drawing is needed under 37 CFR 1.81 or 37 CFR 1.83. The examiner’s decision would be reviewable by filing a petition under 37 CFR 1.181. The Technology Center (TC) Director would decide such a petition.

III. HANDLING OF DRAWING REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE FIRST SENTENCE OF 35 U.S.C 113[edit | edit source]

The Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) will make the initial decision in all new applications as to whether a drawing is “necessary” under the first sentence of 35 U.S.C. 113. A drawing will be considered necessary under the first sentence of 35 U.S.C. 113 in all applications where the drawing is referred to in the specification and one or more figures have been omitted.

The determination under 35 U.S.C. 113 (first sentence) as to when a drawing is necessary will be handled in OIPE in accordance with the following procedure. OIPE will make the initial determination as to whether drawings are required for the understanding of the subject matter of the invention. When no drawings are included in the application as filed and drawings are required, the application is treated as incomplete and the applicant is so informed by OIPE. A filing date will not be granted and applicant will be notified to complete the application (37 CFR 1.53(e)). If a drawing is later furnished, a filing date may be granted as of the date of receipt of such drawing.

An OIPE formality examiner should not treat an application without drawings as incomplete if drawings are not required. A drawing is not required for a filing date under 35 U.S.C. 111 and 113 if the application contains:

(A) at least one process claim including the term “process” or “method” in its introductory phrase;

(B) at least one composition claim including the term “composition,” “compound,” “mixture” or “pharmaceutical” in its introductory phrase;

(C) at least one claim directed to a coated article or product or to an article or product made from a particular material or composition (i.e., an article of known and conventional character (e.g., a table), coated with or made of a particular composition (e.g., a specified polymer such as polyvinyl-chloride));

(D) at least one claim directed to a laminated article or product (i.e., a laminated article of known and conventional character (e.g., a table)); or

(E) at least one claim directed to an article, apparatus, or system where the sole distinguishing feature is the presence of a particular material (e.g., a hydraulic system using a particular hydraulic fluid, or a conventional packaged suture using a particular material).

For a more complete explanation about when a drawing is required, see MPEP § 601.01(f). For applications submitted without all of the drawings described in the specification, see MPEP § 601.01(g).

If an examiner determines that a filing date should not have been granted in an application because it does not contain drawings, the matter should be brought to the attention of the supervisory patent examiner (SPE) for review. If the SPE decides that drawings are required to understand the subject matter of the invention, the SPE should return the application to OIPE with a typed, signed, and dated memorandum requesting cancellation of the filing date and identifying the subject matter required to be illustrated.

IV. HANDLING OF DRAWING REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE SECOND SENTENCE OF 35 U.S.C 113 - ILLUSTRATION SUBSEQUENTLY REQUIRED[edit | edit source]

35 U.S.C.113 addresses the situation wherein a drawing is not necessary for the understanding of the invention, but the subject matter sought to be patented admits of illustration by a drawing and the applicant has not furnished a drawing. The lack of a drawing in this situation does not render the application incomplete but rather is treated as an informality. A filing date will be accorded with the original presentation of the papers, despite the absence of drawings. The acceptance of an application without a drawing does not preclude the examiner from requiring an illustration in the form of a drawing under 37 CFR 1.81(c) or 37 CFR 1.83(c). In requiring such a drawing, the examiner should clearly indicate that the requirement is made under 37 CFR 1.81(c) or 37 CFR 1.83(a) and be careful not to state that he or she is doing so “because it is necessary for the understanding of the invention,” as that might give rise to an erroneous impression as to the completeness of the application as filed. Examiners making such requirements are to specifically require, as a part of the applicant’s next reply, at least an ink sketch or permanent print of any drawing in reply to the requirement, even though no allowable subject matter is yet indicated. This will afford the examiner an early opportunity to determine the sufficiency of the illustration and the absence of new matter. See 37 CFR 1.121 and 37 CFR 1.81(d).

Applicant should also amend the specification accordingly to reference to the new illustration at the time of submission of the drawing(s). This may obviate further correspondence where an amendment places the application in condition for allowance.

V. DRAWING STANDARDS[edit | edit source]
37 CFR 1.84. Standards for drawings.

(a) Drawings. There are two acceptable categories for presenting drawings in utility and design patent applications.

(1) Black ink. Black and white drawings are normally required. India ink, or its equivalent that secures solid black lines, must be used for drawings; or

(2) Color. On rare occasions, color drawings may be necessary as the only practical medium by which to disclose the subject matter sought to be patented in a utility or design patent application or the subject matter of a statutory invention registration. The color drawings must be of sufficient quality such that all details in the drawings are reproducible in black and white in the printed patent. Color drawings are not permitted in international applications (see PCT Rule 11.13), or in an application, or copy thereof, submitted under the Office electronic filing system. The Office will accept color drawings in utility or design patent applications and statutory invention registrations only after granting a petition filed under this paragraph explaining why the color drawings are necessary. Any such petition must include the following:

(i) The fee set forth in § 1.17(h);

(ii) Three (3) sets of color drawings;

(iii) An amendment to the specification to insert (unless the specification contains or has been previously amended to contain) the following language as the first paragraph of the brief description of the drawings:

The patent or application file contains at least one drawing executed in color. Copies of this patent or patent application publication with color drawing(s) will be provided by the Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee.

(b) Photographs.—

(1) Black and white. Photographs, including photocopies of photographs, are not ordinarily permitted in utility and design patent applications. The Office will accept photographs in utility and design patent applications, however, if photographs are the only practicable medium for illustrating the claimed invention. For example, photographs or photomicrographs of: electrophoresis gels, blots (e.g., immunological, western, Southern, and northern), auto- radiographs, cell cultures (stained and unstained), histological tissue cross sections (stained and unstained), animals, plants, in vivo imaging, thin layer chromatography plates, crystalline structures, and, in a design patent application, ornamental effects, are acceptable. If the subject matter of the application admits of illustration by a drawing, the examiner may require a drawing in place of the photograph. The photographs must be of sufficient quality so that all details in the photographs are reproducible in the printed patent.

(2) Color photographs. Color photographs will be accepted in utility and design patent applications if the conditions for accepting color drawings and black and white photographs have been satisfied. See paragraphs (a)(2) and (b)(1) of this section.

(c) Identification of drawings. Identifying indicia should be provided, and if provided, should include the title of the invention, inventor’s name, and application number, or docket number (if any) if an application number has not been assigned to the application. If this information is provided, it must be placed on the front of each sheet within the top margin. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be identified as either “Replacement Sheet” or “New Sheet” pursuant to § 1.121(d). If a marked-up copy of any amended drawing figure including annotations indicating the changes made is filed, such marked-up copy must be clearly labeled as “Annotated Sheet” pursuant to § 1.121(d)(1).

(d) Graphic forms in drawings. Chemical or mathematical formulae, tables, and waveforms may be submitted as drawings and are subject to the same requirements as drawings. Each chemical or mathematical formula must be labeled as a separate figure, using brackets when necessary, to show that information is properly integrated. Each group of waveforms must be presented as a single figure, using a common vertical axis with time extending along the horizontal axis. Each individual waveform discussed in the specification must be identified with a separate letter designation adjacent to the vertical axis.

(e) Type of paper. Drawings submitted to the Office must be made on paper which is flexible, strong, white, smooth, non-shiny, and durable. All sheets must be reasonably free from cracks, creases, and folds. Only one side of the sheet may be used for the drawing. Each sheet must be reasonably free from erasures and must be free from alterations, overwritings, and interlineations. Photographs must be developed on paper meeting the sheet-size requirements of paragraph (f) of this section and the margin requirements of paragraph (g) of this section. See paragraph (b) of this section for other requirements for photographs.

(f) Size of paper. All drawing sheets in an application must be the same size. One of the shorter sides of the sheet is regarded as its top. The size of the sheets on which drawings are made must be:

(1) 21.0 cm. by 29.7 cm. (DIN size A4), or

(2) 21.6 cm. by 27.9 cm. (8 1/2 by 11 inches).

(g) Margins. The sheets must not contain frames around the sight (i.e., the usable surface), but should have scan target points (i.e., cross-hairs) printed on two cater-corner margin corners. Each sheet must include a top margin of at least 2.5 cm. (1 inch), a left side margin of at least 2.5 cm. (1 inch), a right side margin of at least 1.5 cm. (5/8 inch), and a bottom margin of at least 1.0 cm. (3/8 inch), thereby leaving a sight no greater than 17.0 cm. by 26.2 cm. on 21.0 cm. by 29.7 cm. (DIN size A4) drawing sheets, and a sight no greater than 17.6 cm. by 24.4 cm. (6 15/16 by 9 5/ 8 inches) on 21.6 cm. by 27.9 cm. (8 1/2 by 11 inch) drawing sheets.

(h) Views. The drawing must contain as many views as necessary to show the invention. The views may be plan, elevation, section, or perspective views. Detail views of portions of elements, on a larger scale if necessary, may also be used. All views of the drawing must be grouped together and arranged on the sheet(s) without wasting space, preferably in an upright position, clearly separated from one another, and must not be included in the sheets containing the specifications, claims, or abstract. Views must not be connected by projection lines and must not contain center lines. Waveforms of electrical signals may be connected by dashed lines to show the relative timing of the waveforms.

(1) Exploded views. Exploded views, with the separated parts embraced by a bracket, to show the relationship or order of assembly of various parts are permissible. When an exploded view is shown in a figure which is on the same sheet as another figure, the exploded view should be placed in brackets.

(2) Partial views. When necessary, a view of a large machine or device in its entirety may be broken into partial views on a single sheet, or extended over several sheets if there is no loss in facility of understanding the view. Partial views drawn on separate sheets must always be capable of being linked edge to edge so that no partial view contains parts of another partial view. A smaller scale view should be included showing the whole formed by the partial views and indicating the positions of the parts shown. When a portion of a view is enlarged for magnification purposes, the view and the enlarged view must each be labeled as separate views.

(i) Where views on two or more sheets form, in effect, a single complete view, the views on the several sheets must be so arranged that the complete figure can be assembled without concealing any part of any of the views appearing on the various sheets.

(ii) A very long view may be divided into several parts placed one above the other on a single sheet. However, the relationship between the different parts must be clear and unambiguous.

(3) Sectional views. The plane upon which a sectional view is taken should be indicated on the view from which the section is cut by a broken line. The ends of the broken line should be designated by Arabic or Roman numerals corresponding to the view number of the sectional view, and should have arrows to indicate the direction of sight. Hatching must be used to indicate section portions of an object, and must be made by regularly spaced oblique parallel lines spaced sufficiently apart to enable the lines to be distinguished without difficulty. Hatching should not impede the clear reading of the reference characters and lead lines. If it is not possible to place reference characters outside the hatched area, the hatching may be broken off wherever reference characters are inserted. Hatching must be at a substantial angle to the surrounding axes or principal lines, preferably 45°. A cross section must be set out and drawn to show all of the materials as they are shown in the view from which the cross section was taken. The parts in cross section must show proper material(s) by hatching with regularly spaced parallel oblique strokes, the space between strokes being chosen on the basis of the total area to be hatched. The various parts of a cross section of the same item should be hatched in the same manner and should accurately and graphically indicate the nature of the material(s) that is illustrated in cross section. The hatching of juxtaposed different elements must be angled in a different way. In the case of large areas, hatching may be confined to an edging drawn around the entire inside of the outline of the area to be hatched. Different types of hatching should have different conventional meanings as regards the nature of a material seen in cross section.

(4) Alternate position. A moved position may be shown by a broken line superimposed upon a suitable view if this can be done without crowding; otherwise, a separate view must be used for this purpose.

(5) Modified forms. Modified forms of construction must be shown in separate views. (i) Arrangement of views. One view must not be placed upon another or within the outline of another. All views on the same sheet should stand in the same direction and, if possible, stand so that they can be read with the sheet held in an upright position. If views wider than the width of the sheet are necessary for the clearest illustration of the invention, the sheet may be turned on its side so that the top of the sheet, with the appropriate top margin to be used as the heading space, is on the right-hand side. Words must appear in a horizontal, left-to-right fashion when the page is either upright or turned so that the top becomes the right side, except for graphs utilizing standard scientific convention to denote the axis of abscissas (of X) and the axis of ordinates (of Y). (j) Front page view. The drawing must contain as many views as necessary to show the invention. One of the views should be suitable for inclusion on the front page of the patent application publication and patent as the illustration of the invention. Views must not be connected by projection lines and must not contain center lines. Applicant may suggest a single view (by figure number) for inclusion on the front page of the patent application publication and patent. (k) Scale. The scale to which a drawing is made must be large enough to show the mechanism without crowding when the drawing is reduced in size to two-thirds in reproduction. Indications such as “actual size” or “scale 1/2” on the drawings are not permitted since these lose their meaning with reproduction in a different format. (l) Character of lines, numbers, and letters. All drawings must be made by a process which will give them satisfactory reproduction characteristics. Every line, number, and letter must be durable, clean, black (except for color drawings), sufficiently dense and dark, and uniformly thick and well-defined. The weight of all lines and letters must be heavy enough to permit adequate reproduction. This requirement applies to all lines however fine, to shading, and to lines representing cut surfaces in sectional views. Lines and strokes of different thicknesses may be used in the same drawing where different thicknesses have a different meaning. (m) Shading. The use of shading in views is encouraged if it aids in understanding the invention and if it does not reduce legibility. Shading is used to indicate the surface or shape of spherical, cylindrical, and conical elements of an object. Flat parts may also be lightly shaded. Such shading is preferred in the case of parts shown in perspective, but not for cross sections. See paragraph (h)(3) of this section. Spaced lines for shading are preferred. These lines must be thin, as few in number as practicable, and they must contrast with the rest of the drawings. As a substitute for shading, heavy lines on the shade side of objects can be used except where they superimpose on each other or obscure reference characters. Light should come from the upper left corner at an angle of 45°. Surface delineations should preferably be shown by proper shading. Solid black shading areas are not permitted, except when used to represent bar graphs or color. (n) Symbols. Graphical drawing symbols may be used for conventional elements when appropriate. The elements for which such symbols and labeled representations are used must be adequately identified in the specification. Known devices should be illustrated by symbols which have a universally recognized conventional meaning and are generally accepted in the art. Other symbols which are not universally recognized may be used, subject to approval by the Office, if they are not likely to be confused with existing conventional symbols, and if they are readily identifiable. (o) Legends. Suitable descriptive legends may be used subject to approval by the Office, or may be required by the examiner where necessary for understanding of the drawing. They should contain as few words as possible. (p) Numbers, letters, and reference characters.

(1) Reference characters (numerals are preferred), sheet numbers, and view numbers must be plain and legible, and must not be used in association with brackets or inverted commas, or enclosed within outlines, e.g., encircled. They must be oriented in the same direction as the view so as to avoid having to rotate the sheet. Reference characters should be arranged to follow the profile of the object depicted.

(2) The English alphabet must be used for letters, except where another alphabet is customarily used, such as the Greek alphabet to indicate angles, wavelengths, and mathematical formulas.

(3) Numbers, letters, and reference characters must measure at least.32 cm. (1/8 inch) in height. They should not be placed in the drawing so as to interfere with its comprehension. Therefore, they should not cross or mingle with the lines. They should not be placed upon hatched or shaded surfaces. When necessary, such as indicating a surface or cross section, a reference character may be underlined and a blank space may be left in the hatching or shading where the character occurs so that it appears distinct.

(4) The same part of an invention appearing in more than one view of the drawing must always be designated by the same reference character, and the same reference character must never be used to designate different parts.

(5) Reference characters not mentioned in the description shall not appear in the drawings. Reference characters mentioned in the description must appear in the drawings.

(q) Lead lines. Lead lines are those lines between the reference characters and the details referred to. Such lines may be straight or curved and should be as short as possible. They must originate in the immediate proximity of the reference character and extend to the feature indicated. Lead lines must not cross each other. Lead lines are required for each reference character except for those which indicate the surface or cross section on which they are placed. Such a reference character must be underlined to make it clear that a lead line has not been left out by mistake. Lead lines must be executed in the same way as lines in the drawing. See paragraph (l) of this section.

(r) Arrows. Arrows may be used at the ends of lines, provided that their meaning is clear, as follows:

(1) On a lead line, a freestanding arrow to indicate the entire section towards which it points;

(2) On a lead line, an arrow touching a line to indicate the surface shown by the line looking along the direction of the arrow; or

(3) To show the direction of movement.

(s) Copyright or Mask Work Notice. A copyright or mask work notice may appear in the drawing, but must be placed within the sight of the drawing immediately below the figure representing the copyright or mask work material and be limited to letters having a print size of 32 cm. to 64 cm. (1/8 to 1/4 inches) high. The content of the notice must be limited to only those elements provided for by law. For example, “©1983 John Doe” (17 U.S.C. 401) and “M John Doe” (17 U.S.C. 909) would be properly limited and, under current statutes, legally sufficient notices of copyright and mask work, respectively. Inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice will be permitted only if the authorization language set forth in § 1.71(e) is included at the beginning (preferably as the first paragraph) of the specification.

(t) Numbering of sheets of drawings. The sheets of drawings should be numbered in consecutive Arabic numerals, starting with 1, within the sight as defined in paragraph (g) of this section. These numbers, if present, must be placed in the middle of the top of the sheet, but not in the margin. The numbers can be placed on the right-hand side if the drawing extends too close to the middle of the top edge of the usable surface. The drawing sheet numbering must be clear and larger than the numbers used as reference characters to avoid confusion. The number of each sheet should be shown by two Arabic numerals placed on either side of an oblique line, with the first being the sheet number and the second being the total number of sheets of drawings, with no other marking.

(u) Numbering of views.

(1) The different views must be numbered in consecutive Arabic numerals, starting with 1, independent of the numbering of the sheets and, if possible, in the order in which they appear on the drawing sheet(s). Partial views intended to form one complete view, on one or several sheets, must be identified by the same number followed by a capital letter. View numbers must be preceded by the abbreviation “FIG.” Where only a single view is used in an application to illustrate the claimed invention, it must not be numbered and the abbreviation “FIG.” must not appear.

(2) Numbers and letters identifying the views must be simple and clear and must not be used in association with brackets, circles, or inverted commas. The view numbers must be larger than the numbers used for reference characters.

(v) Security markings. Authorized security markings may be placed on the drawings provided they are outside the sight, preferably centered in the top margin.

(w) Corrections. Any corrections on drawings submitted to the Office must be durable and permanent.

(x) Holes. No holes should be made by applicant in the drawing sheets.

(y) Types of drawings. See § 1.152 for design drawings, § 1.165 for plant drawings, and § 1.173(a)(2) for reissue drawings.


Drawings on paper are acceptable as long as they are in compliance with 37 CFR 1.84. Corrections thereto must be made in the form of replacement sheets labeled, in the header, “Replacement Sheet” since the Office does not release drawings for correction. See 37 CFR 1.85.

Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be identified as either “Replacement Sheet” or “New Sheet” so that the Office will recognize how to treat such a drawing sheet for entry into the application. See 37 CFR 1.84(c). If a marked-up copy of any amended drawing figure, including annotations indicating the changes made, is filed, such marked-up copy must be clearly labeled as “Annotated Sheet.”

Good quality copies made on office copiers are acceptable if the lines are uniformly thick, black, and solid. Facsimile copies of drawings are acceptable if included with application papers mailed or hand-carried to the Office or if submitted at the time of payment of the issue fee (see “Payment of the Issue Fee and Filing Related Correspondence by Facsimile,” 1254 O.G. 91 (January 15, 2002)). Applicants should ensure that the facsimile transmission process does not unreasonably degrade the quality of the drawings.

Drawings are currently accepted in two different size formats. It is, however, required that all drawing sheets in a particular application be the same size for ease of handling and reproduction.

For examples of proper drawings, in addition to selected rules of practice related to patent drawings and interpretations of those rules, see the “Guide for the Preparation of Patent Drawings” which is available from the USPTO web site at www.uspto.gov.

For information regarding certified copies of an application-as-filed which does not meet the sheet size/margin and quality requirements of 37 CFR 1.52, 1.84(f), and 1.84(g), see MPEP § 608.01.

For design patent drawings, 37 CFR 1.152, see MPEP § 1503.02.

For plant patent drawings, 37 CFR 1.165, see MPEP § 1606.

For reissue application drawings, see MPEP § 1413.

For correction of drawings, see MPEP § 608.02(p). For prints, preparation and distribution, see MPEP § 508 and § 608.02(m). For prints, return of drawings, see MPEP § 608.02(y).

For amendment of drawings, see MPEP § 714.

For pencil notations of classification and name or initials of assistant examiner to be placed on drawings, see MPEP § 719.03.

The filing of a divisional or continuation application under the provisions of 37 CFR 1.53(b) (unexecuted application) does not obviate the need for acceptable drawings. See MPEP § 608.02(b).

See MPEP § 601.01(f) for treatment of applications filed without drawings and MPEP § 601.01(g) for treatment of applications filed without all figures of drawings.

VI. DEFINITIONS[edit | edit source]

A number of different terms are used when referring to drawings in patent applications. The following definitions are used in this Manual.

Original drawings: The drawing submitted with the application when filed.

Substitute drawing: A drawing filed later than the filing date of an application. Usually submitted to replace an original informal drawing.

Acceptable drawing: A drawing that is acceptable for publication of the application or issuance of the patent.

Corrected drawing: A drawing that includes corrections of informalities and changes approved by the examiner.

Informal drawing: A drawing which does not comply with the form requirements of 37 CFR 1.84. Drawings may be informal because they are not on the proper size sheets, the quality of the lines is poor, or for other reasons such as the size of reference elements. Informal drawings could be acceptable for the purposes of publication and examination. An objection will generally only be made to an informal drawing if the Office is unable to reproduce the drawing or the contents of the drawing are unacceptable to the examiner.

Drawing print: This term is used for the white paper print prepared by the Scanning Division of the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) of original drawings in paper application files. The drawing prints contain the application number near the left- hand margin. Drawing prints should be placed on the top on the right-hand flap of the application file wrapper. A drawing print is not made for image file wrapper (IFW) applications.

Interference print: This term is used to designate the copy prepared of the original drawings filed in file cabinets separate from the paper file wrappers and used to make interference searches.

Plan: This term is used to illustrate the top view.

Elevation: This term is used to illustrate views showing the height of objects.

VII. BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHS[edit | edit source]
37 CFR 1.84. Standards for drawings.
.          .          .

(b) Photographs.—

(1) Black and white. Photographs, including photocopies of photographs, are not ordinarily permitted in utility and design patent applications. The Office will accept photographs in utility and design patent applications, however, if photographs are the only practicable medium for illustrating the claimed invention. For example, photographs or photomicrographs of: electrophoresis gels, blots (e.g., immunological, western, Southern, and northern), auto- radiographs, cell cultures (stained and unstained), histological tissue cross sections (stained and unstained), animals, plants, in vivo imaging, thin layer chromatography plates, crystalline structures, and, in a design patent application, ornamental effects, are acceptable. If the subject matter of the application admits of illustration by a drawing, the examiner may require a drawing in place of the photograph. The photographs must be of sufficient quality so that all details in the photographs are reproducible in the printed patent.


Photographs or photomicrographs (not photolithographs or other reproductions of photographs made by using screens) printed on sensitized paper are acceptable as final drawings, in lieu of India ink drawings, to illustrate inventions which are incapable of being accurately or adequately depicted by India ink drawings, e.g., electrophoresis gels, blots, (e.g., immunological, western, Southern, and northern), autoradiographs, cell cultures (stained and unstained), histological tissue cross sections (stained and unstained), animals, plants, in vivo imaging, thin layer chromatography plates, crystalline structures, metallurgical microstructures, textile fabrics, grain structures and ornamental effects. The photographs or photomicrographs must show the invention more clearly than they can be done by India ink drawings and otherwise comply with the rules concerning such drawings.

Black and white photographs submitted in lieu of ink drawings must comply with 37 CFR 1.84(b). There is no requirement for a petition or petition fee, and only one set of photographs is required. See 1213 O.G. 108 (Aug. 4, 1998) and 1211 O.G. 34 (June 9, 1998) and 37 CFR 1.84(b)(1).

Such photographs to be acceptable must be made on photographic paper having the following characteristics which are generally recognized in the photographic trade: double weight paper with a surface described as smooth with a white tint. Note that photographs filed on or after October 1, 2001 may no longer be mounted on Bristol Board. See 37 CFR 1.84(e) and 1246 O.G. 106 (May 22, 2001). If several photographs are used to make one sheet of drawings, the photographs must be contained (i.e., developed) on a single sheet.

See MPEP § 1503.02 for discussion of photographs used in design patent applications.

Photographs may be treated as artifacts and maintained in an artifact folder when the patent application is an IFW application since the photographs may not be able to be accurately reproduced by scanning.

VIII. COLOR DRAWINGS OR COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS[edit | edit source]
37 CFR 1.84. Standards for drawings.

(a) Drawings. There are two acceptable categories for presenting drawings in utility and design patent applications:

.          .          .

(2) Color. On rare occasions, color drawings may be necessary as the only practical medium by which to disclose the subject matter sought to be patented in a utility or design patent application or the subject matter of a statutory invention registration. The color drawings must be of sufficient quality such that all details in the drawings are reproducible in black and white in the printed patent. Color drawings are not permitted in international applications (see PCT Rule 11.13), or in an application, or copy thereof, submitted under the Office electronic filing system. The Office will accept color drawings in utility or design patent applications and statutory invention registrations only after granting a petition filed under this paragraph explaining why the color drawings are necessary. Any such petition must include the following:

(i)The fee set forth in § 1.17(h);

(ii)Three (3) sets of color drawings;

(iii)An amendment to the specification to insert (unless the specification contains or has been previously amended to contain) the following language as the first paragraph of the brief description of the drawings:

The patent or application file contains at least one drawing executed in color. Copies of this patent or patent application publication with color drawing(s) will be provided by the Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee.

(b) Photographs.

.          .          .

(2) Color photographs. Color photographs will be accepted in utility and design patent applications if the conditions for accepting color drawings and black and white photographs have been satisfied. See paragraphs (a)(2) and (b)(1) of this section.


Limited use of color drawings in utility patent applications is provided for in 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2) and (b)(2). Unless a petition is filed and granted, color drawings or color photographs will not be accepted in a utility or design patent application. The examiner must object to the color drawings or color photographs as being improper and require applicant either to cancel the drawings or to provide substitute black and white drawings.

Under 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2) and (b)(2), the applicant must file a petition with fee requesting acceptance of the color drawings or color photographs. Three sets of color drawings or color photographs must also be submitted (37 CFR1.84(a)(2)(ii)). The petition is decided by a Supervisory Patent Examiner. See MPEP § 1002.02(d).

If the application is an IFW application, the color photographs are maintained in an artifact folder.

Where color drawings or color photographs are filed in a continuing application, applicant must renew the petition under 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2) and (b)(2) even though a similar petition was filed in the prior application. Until the renewed petition is granted, the examiner must object to the color drawings or color photographs as being improper.

In light of the substantial administrative and economic burden associated with printing a utility patent with color drawings or color photographs, the patent copies which are printed at issuance of the patent will depict the drawings in black and white only. However, a set of color drawings or color photographs will be attached to the Letters Patent. Moreover, copies of the patent with color drawings or color photographs attached thereto will be provided by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office upon special request and payment of the fee necessary to recover the actual costs associated therewith.

Accordingly, the petition must also be accompanied by a proposed amendment to insert the following language as the first paragraph in the portion of the specification containing a brief description of the drawings:

The patent or application file contains at least one drawing executed in color. Copies of this patent or patent application publication with color drawing(s) will be provided by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee.

It is anticipated that such a petition will be granted only when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has determined that a color drawing or color photograph is the only practical medium by which to disclose in a printed utility patent the subject matter to be patented.

It is emphasized that a decision to grant the petition should not be regarded as an indication that color drawings or color photographs are necessary to comply with a statutory requirement. In this latter respect, clearly it is desirable to file any desired color drawings or color photographs as part of the original application papers in order to avoid issues concerning statutory defects (e.g., lack of enablement under 35 U.S.C. 112 or new matter under 35 U.S.C. 132).

IX. DRAWING SYMBOLS[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.84(n) indicates that graphic drawing symbols and other labeled representations may be used for conventional elements where appropriate, subject to approval by the Office. Also, suitable legends may be used, or may be required, in proper cases. For examples of suitable symbols and legends, see the “Guide for the Preparation of Patent Drawings” available from the USPTO web site at www.uspto.gov.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization whose numerous publications include some that pertain to graphical symbols. Such publications, for examples, Graphic Symbols for Fluid Power Diagrams, IEEE Standard Graphic Symbols for Logic Functions, Graphic Symbols for Electrical and Electronics Diagrams, are considered to be generally acceptable in patent drawings. ANSI headquarters are at 1819 L Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036, with offices at 25 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036. The organization’s Internet address is www.ansi.org. Although ANSI documents and other published sources may be used as guides during the selection of graphic symbols for patent drawings, the Office will not “approve” any published collection of symbols as a group because their use and clarity must be decided on a case-by- case basis. Overly specific symbols should be avoided. Symbols with unclear meanings should be labeled for clarification.

The following symbols should be used to indicate various materials where the material is an important feature of the invention. The use of conventional features is very helpful in making prior art searches.

Shading examples

MPEP608 02-1.jpg MPEP608 02-2.jpg

608.02(a) New Drawing — When Replacement is Required Before Examination[edit | edit source]

See MPEP § 608.02 for the procedure to follow when drawings have not been filed, but a drawing will aid in the understanding of the invention. See MPEP § 601.01(f) for the procedure to follow when applications appear to be missing sheets of drawings. Drawings in utility and plant applications will be reviewed by the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) for compliance with certain requirements of 37 CFR 1.84. OIPE will send a Notice to File Corrected Application Papers if the drawings are not acceptable for purposes of publication. The notice will give applicant a time period of 2 months from the mailing date of the notice to file acceptable drawings. This time period for reply is extendable under 37 CFR 1.136(a). OIPE will not release applications to the Technology Centers until acceptable drawings are filed in the applications.

If at the time of the initial assignment of an application to an examiner’s docket, or if at the time the application is taken up for action, the supervisory patent examiner believes the drawings to be of such a condition as to not permit reasonable examination of the application, applicant should be required to immediately submit corrected drawings. However, if the drawings do permit reasonable examination and the supervisory patent examiner believes the drawings are of such a character as to render the application defective under 35 U.S.C. 112, examination should begin immediately with a requirement for corrected drawings and a rejection of the claims as not being in compliance with 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph, being made.

If the drawings have been indicated by the applicant as informal, but no objection has been made to the drawings by OIPE (drawings considered acceptable by OIPE), the examiner should not require replacement of the “informal” drawings with new drawings. If the examiner does make objections to the drawings, the examiner should require correction in reply to the Office action and not permit the objection to be held in abeyance. See MPEP § 608.02(b), § 608.02(d) - § 608.02(h) and § 608.02(p) for further information on specific grounds for finding drawings informalities.

UNTIMELY FILED DRAWINGS

If a drawing is not timely received in reply to a notice from the Office or a letter from the examiner who requires a drawing, the application becomes abandoned for failure to reply.

For the handling of additional, duplicate, or substitute drawings, see MPEP § 608.02(h).

608.02(b) Informal Drawings[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.85. Corrections to drawings.

(a) A utility or plant application will not be placed on the files for examination until objections to the drawings have been corrected. Except as provided in § 1.215(c), any patent application publication will not include drawings filed after the application has been placed on the files for examination. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance, and a request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action (§ 1.135(c)). If a drawing in a design application meets the requirements of § 1.84(e), (f), and (g) and is suitable for reproduction, but is not otherwise in compliance with § 1.84, the drawing may be admitted for examination.

(b) The Office will not release drawings for purposes of correction. If corrections are necessary, new corrected drawings must be submitted within the time set by the Office.

(c) If a corrected drawing is required or if a drawing does not comply with § 1.84 at the time an application is allowed, the Office may notify the applicant and set a three-month period of time from the mail date of the notice of allowability within which the applicant must file a corrected drawing in compliance with § 1.84 to avoid abandonment. This time period is not extendable under § 1.136 (a) or § 1.136 (b).


In instances where the drawing is such that the prosecution can be carried on without the corrections, applicant is informed of the reasons why the drawing is objected to on Form PTO-948 or in an examiner’s action, and that the drawing is admitted for examination purposes only (see MPEP § 707.07(a)). To be fully responsive, an amendment must include corrected drawings. See 37 CFR 1.85(c) and 37 CFR 1.121(d). The objection to the drawings will not be held in abeyance.

I. INFORMAL DRAWINGS[edit | edit source]

The Office no longer considers drawings as formal or informal. Drawings are either acceptable or not acceptable. Drawings will be accepted by the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE) if the drawings are readable and reproducible for publication purposes. See MPEP § 507.

Examiners should review the drawings for disclosure of the claimed invention and for proper use of reference numerals. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance. A request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fideattempt to advance the application to final action (37 CFR 1.135(c)). Drawing corrections should be made promptly before allowance of the application in order to avoid delays in issuance of the application as a patent or a reduction to any term adjustment. See 37 CFR 1.704(c)(10).

II. NOTIFYING APPLICANT[edit | edit source]

If the original drawings are not acceptable, a 2-part form, PTO-948, may be used to indicate what the objections are and that new corrected drawings are required. In either case, the drawings will be accepted as satisfying the requirements of 37 CFR 1.51. The examiners are directed to advise the applicants by way of form PTO-948 (see MPEP § 707.07(a)) in the first Office action of the reasons why the drawings are not acceptable.

III. HANDLING OF REPLACEMENT DRAWINGS[edit | edit source]

In those situations where an application is filed with unacceptable drawings, applicants will be notified by OIPE to file new acceptable drawings complying with 37 CFR 1.84 and 1.121(d). If the requirement for corrected drawings appears on the notice of allowability (PTOL-37), the drawings must be filed within three months of the date of mailing of the notice of allowability. Also, each sheet of the drawing should include the application number and the art unit in the upper center margin (37 CFR 1.84(c)) and labeled, in the header, “Replacement Sheet.” In the past, some drawings have been misdirected because the art unit indicated on the filing receipt was used rather than that indicated on the notice forms.

In utility applications, the examination will normally be conducted using the originally presented drawings. The sufficiency of disclosure, as concerns the subject matter claimed, will be made by the examiner utilizing the original drawings. IT IS APPLICANT’S RESPONSIBILITY TO SEE THAT NO NEW MATTER IS ADDED when submitting replacement drawings after allowance since they will not normally be reviewed by an examiner. Of course, if the examiner notices new matter in the replacement drawings, appropriate action to have the new matter deleted should be undertaken.

608.02(c) Drawing Print Kept in File Wrapper[edit | edit source]

The drawing prints must always be kept on top of the papers on the right side of the file wrapper under any bibliographic data sheet , if the application is maintained in paper. If the application is maintained in an image file wrapper (IFW) and the drawings are photographs or in color, the original photographs or color drawings may be maintained in an artifact folder. For IFW processing, see IFW Manual.

Applications may be sent to issue or to the Files Repository without the original drawing, if any, if the drawing cannot be located. For an application sent to issue with missing drawings, see MPEP § 608.02(z). For abandoned applications sent to the Files Repository, a notation should be made on the Contents portion of the file wrapper that the drawings were missing.

Upon initial processing, the original drawings are placed in the center portion of the application file wrapper under the specification , if the application is maintained in paper, and the executed oath or declaration by the Scanning Division.

608.02(d) Complete Illustration in Drawings[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.83. Content of drawing.

(a) The drawing in a nonprovisional application must show every feature of the invention specified in the claims. However, conventional features disclosed in the description and claims, where their detailed illustration is not essential for a proper understanding of the invention, should be illustrated in the drawing in the form of a graphical drawing symbol or a labeled representation (e.g., a labeled rectangular box). In addition, tables and sequence listings that are included in the specification are, except for applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 371, not permitted to be included in the drawings.

(b) When the invention consists of an improvement on an old machine the drawing must when possible exhibit, in one or more views, the improved portion itself, disconnected from the old structure, and also in another view, so much only of the old structure as will suffice to show the connection of the invention therewith.

(c) Where the drawings in a nonprovisional application do not comply with the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, the examiner shall require such additional illustration within a time period of not less than two months from the date of the sending of a notice thereof. Such corrections are subject to the requirements of § 1.81(d).

Any structural detail that is of sufficient importance to be described should be shown in the drawing. (Ex parte Good, 1911 C.D. 43, 164 O.G. 739 (Comm’r Pat. 1911).)

608.02(e) Examiner Determines Completeness and Consistency of Drawings[edit | edit source]

The examiner should see to it that the figures are correctly described in the brief description of the several views of the drawing section of the specification, that the reference characters are properly applied, that no single reference character is used for two different parts or for a given part and a modification of such part, and that there are no superfluous illustrations.

608.02(f) Modifications in Drawings[edit | edit source]

Modifications may not be shown in broken lines on figures which show in solid lines another form of the invention. Ex parte Badger, 1901 C.D. 195, 97 O.G. 1596 (Comm’r Pat. 1901).

All modifications described must be illustrated, or the text canceled. (Ex parte Peck, 1901 C.D. 136, 96 O.G. 2409 (Comm’r Pat. 1901).) This requirement does not apply to a mere reference to minor variations nor to well-known and conventional parts.

608.02(g) Illustration of Prior Art[edit | edit source]

Figures showing the prior art are usually unnecessary and should be canceled. Ex parte Elliott, 1904 C.D. 103, 109 O.G. 1337 (Comm’r Pat. 1904). However, where needed to understand applicant’s invention, they may be retained if designated by a legend such as “Prior Art.”

608.02(h) Replacement Drawings[edit | edit source]

When an amendment is filed stating that replacement sheets of drawings are filed with the amendment and such drawings have not been transmitted to the Technology Center (TC), the technical support staff in the TC should attempt to locate the missing drawings. In the next communication of the examiner, the applicant is notified if the drawings have been received and whether or not the replacement drawings have been entered in the application. If the replacement drawings are not entered, the examiner should give the applicant a concise and complete explanation as to why the drawings were not entered.

Replacement drawings, together with the file wrapper, may be routed through the TC Draftsperson if the examiner would like the draftsperson’s assistance in identifying errors in the drawings. For Image File Wrapper (IFW) processing, see IFW Manual. The draftsperson will note any defects of the drawings on a PTO-948.

The examiner should not overlook such factors as new matter, the necessity for the replacement sheets and consistency with other sheets. The technical support staff will routinely enter all replacement sheets in the contents of the application. For IFW processing, see IFW Manual. If the examiner decides that the sheets should not be entered, the examiner should provide the applicant with the complete, explicit reasoning for the denial of entry. The entries made by the technical support staff will be marked “(N.E.).”

608.02(i) Transfer of Drawings From Prior Applications[edit | edit source]

Transfer of drawings from a first pending application to another will be made only upon the granting of a petition filed under 37 CFR 1.182 which must set forth a hardship situation requiring such transfer of drawings.

608.02(m) Drawing Prints[edit | edit source]

Preparation and distribution of drawing prints is discussed in MPEP § 508.

Prints are made of acceptable drawings of an application maintained in paper. These prints are kept on top of the papers on the right side of the file wrapper under any bibliographic data sheet. See MPEP § 719.01(b). No drawing prints are made for an image file wrapper (IFW) application.

The original drawing, of course, should not be marked up by the examiner. Where, as in an electrical wiring application, it is desirable to identify the various circuits by different colors, or in any more or less complex application, it is advantageous to apply legends, arrows, or other indicia, the drawing prints may be used and retained unofficially in the file since the drawing prints are no longer needed for a record of the drawings as originally filed. If the application is maintained in paper, the drawing prints, as colored by the examiner, may be retained in the paper application file. If the application is an IFW application, the drawing prints may be retained by the examiner.

Prints remain in the paper application file at all times except as provided in MPEP § 608.02(c).

608.02(n) Duplicate Prints in Patentability Report Applications[edit | edit source]

In patentability report cases having drawings, the examiner to whom the application is assigned should normally obtain a duplicate set of the interference prints of the drawing for filing in the Technology Center (TC) to which the application is referred.

When an application that has had patentability report prosecution is passed for issue or becomes abandoned, notification of this fact is given by the TC having jurisdiction of the case to each TC that submitted a patentability report. The examiner of each such reporting TC notes the date of allowance or abandonment on his or her duplicate set of prints. At such time as these prints become of no value to the reporting TC, they may be destroyed.

For patentability reports, see MPEP § 705 to § 705.01(f).

608.02(o) Notations Entered on Drawing[edit | edit source]

Drawings are no longer endorsed with an application number or receipt date. A draftsperson’s “stamp” to indicate approval is no longer required on patent drawings, and these stamps are no longer used by draftspersons. If the drawings in an allowed application are not indicated as having been disapproved or canceled, the most-recently filed drawings will be used for printing the patent.

608.02(p) Correction of Drawings[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.121. Manner of making amendments in application.
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(d) Drawings: One or more application drawings shall be amended in the following manner: Any changes to an application drawing must be in compliance with § 1.84 and must be submitted on a replacement sheet of drawings which shall be an attachment to the amendment document and, in the top margin, labeled “Replacement Sheet”. Any replacement sheet of drawings shall include all of the figures appearing on the immediate prior version of the sheet, even if only one figure is amended. Any new sheet of drawings containing an additional figure must be labeled in the top margin as “New Sheet”. All changes to the drawings shall be explained, in detail, in either the drawing amendment or remarks section of the amendment paper.

(1) A marked-up copy of any amended drawing figure, including annotations indicating the changes made, may be included. The marked-up copy must be clearly labeled as “Annotated Sheet” and must be presented in the amendment or remarks section that explains the change to the drawings.

(2) A marked-up copy of any amended drawing figure, including annotations indicating the changes made, must be provided when required by the examiner.


37 CFR 1.85. Corrections to drawings.

(a) A utility or plant application will not be placed on the files for examination until objections to the drawings have been corrected. Except as provided in § 1.215(c), any patent application publication will not include drawings filed after the application has been placed on the files for examination. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance, and a request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action (§ 1.135(c)). If a drawing in a design application meets the requirements of § 1.84(e), (f), and (g) and is suitable for reproduction, but is not otherwise in compliance with § 1.84, the drawing may be admitted for examination.

(b) The Office will not release drawings for purposes of correction. If corrections are necessary, new corrected drawings must be submitted within the time set by the Office.

(c) If a corrected drawing is required or if a drawing does not comply with § 1.84 at the time an application is allowed, the Office may notify the applicant and set a three-month period of time from the mail date of the notice of allowability within which the applicant must file a corrected drawing in compliance with § 1.84 to avoid abandonment. This time period is not extendable under § 1.136(a) or § 1.136(b).


See also MPEP § 608.02(b). For correction at allowance and issue, see MPEP § 608.02(w) and MPEP § 1302.05.

A canceled figure may be reinstated. An amendment should be made to the specification adding the brief description of the view if a canceled figure is reinstated.

608.02(q) Conditions Precedent to Amendment of Drawing[edit | edit source]

See MPEP § 507 for changes to the patent drawings for purposes of a patent application publication.

If applicant wishes to amend the original drawings, at his or her own initiative, applicant is encouraged to submit new drawings as soon as possible, and preferably before allowance of the application.

608.02(t) Cancellation of Figures[edit | edit source]

If a drawing figure is canceled, a replacement sheet of drawings must be submitted without the figure (see 37 CFR 1.121(d)). If the canceled drawing figure was the only drawing on the sheet, then only a marked-up copy of the drawing sheet including an annotation showing that the drawing has been cancelled is required. The marked-up (annotated) copy must be clearly labeled as 'Annotated Sheet' and must be presented in the amendment or remarks section of the amendment document which explains the changes to the drawings (see 37 CFR 1.121(d)(1)). The brief description of the drawings should also be amended to reflect this change.

608.02(v) Drawing Changes Which Require Annotated Sheets[edit | edit source]

When changes are to be made in the drawing itself, other than mere changes in reference characters, designations of figures, or inking over lines pale and rough, a marked-up copy of the drawing should be filed with a replacement drawing. The marked-up copy must be clearly labeled as “Annotated Sheet.” See 37 CFR 1.84(c) and 1.121(d). Ordinarily, broken lines may be changed to full without a sketch.

Annotated sheets filed by an applicant and used for correction of the drawing will not be returned. All such annotated sheets must be in ink or permanent prints.

608.02(w) Drawing Changes Which May Be Made Without Applicant’s Annotated Sheets[edit | edit source]

Where an application is ready for issue except for a slight defect in the drawing not involving change in structure, the examiner will prepare a letter to the applicant indicating the change to be made and include a marked-up copy of the drawing showing the addition or alteration to be made. The marked-up copy of the drawing should be attached to the letter to the applicant and a copy placed in the application file.

The correction must be made at applicant’s expense.

As a guide to the examiner, the following corrections are illustrative of those that may be made by an annotated sheet:

(A) Adding two or three reference characters or exponents.

(B) Changing one or two numerals or figure ordinals. Garrett v. Cox, 233 F.2d 343, 346, 110 USPQ 52, 54 (CCPA 1956).

(C) Removing superfluous matter.

(D) Adding or reversing directional arrows.

(E) Changing Roman Numerals to Arabic Numerals to agree with specification.

(F) Adding section lines or brackets, where easily executed.

(G) Changing lead lines.

(H) Correcting misspelled legends.

608.02(x) Drawing Corrections or Changes Accepted Unless Notified Otherwise[edit | edit source]

Drawing corrections or changes will be entered at the time they are presented, unless applicant is notified to the contrary by the examiner in the action following the amended drawing submission.

CORRECTION OR CHANGE NOT ACCEPTED

Where the corrected or changed drawing is not accepted, for example, because the submitted corrections or changes are erroneous, or involve new matter or do not include all necessary corrections, the applicant will be notified and informed of any required corrective action in the next Office action. The examiner should explicitly and clearly set forth all the reasons for not approving the corrections to the drawings in the next communication to the applicant. See MPEP § 608.02(p) for suggested form paragraphs that may be used by examiners to notify applicants of drawing corrections.

608.02(y)Return of Drawing[edit | edit source]

Drawings will not be returned to the applicant.

608.02(z) Allowable Applications Needing Drawing Corrections or Corrected Drawings[edit | edit source]

If an application is being allowed, and corrected drawings have not been filed, form PTOL-37 provides an appropriate check box for requiring corrected drawings.

Allowable applications with drawings that were indicated by the applicant to be informal should be turned in for counting and forwarding to the Publishing Division without the drawings having been corrected. Examiners should not require new drawings merely because the applicant indicated that the drawings submitted on filing were informal. If at allowance, the examiner determines that correction is required, the drawings requiring correction should be placed as the top papers in the center fold of the file wrapper, if the application is maintained in paper. For Image File Wrapper (IFW) processing, see IFW Manual. A proposed drawing correction, for example a drawing sheet with corrections marked in pencil, should be stapled to the right outside flap of the file wrapper over the area having the search information. Care should be taken to make certain that the corrections have been approved by the examiner. Such approval should be made by the examiner prior to counting the allowance of the application by writing “Approved,” the examiner’s initials or full name, and the date, on the front page of the proposed drawing corrections. In IFW applications, generally, the most recently filed drawings will be used for printing, unless they have been indicated as “Not Entered.”

Extensions of time to provide acceptable drawings after the mailing of a notice of allowability are no longer permitted. If the Office of Publications receives drawings that cannot be scanned or are otherwise unacceptable for publication, the Office of Publication will mail a requirement for corrected drawings, giving applicant a shortened statutory period of two months (with no extensions of time permitted) to reply. The drawings will ordinarily not be returned to the examiner for corrections.

I. APPLICATIONS HAVING LOST DRAWINGS

A replacement drawing should be obtained from the Office of Initial Patent Examination’s records of the application as originally filed. If the reproduced drawings are not acceptable for publishing, applicant should be required to submit corrected drawings.

The Notice of Allowability is verified and printed using PALM, and the Notice is mailed to the applicant.

The application is then forwarded to Licensing and Review or the Publishing Division, as appropriate, using the PALM transaction code after the application has been revised for issue.

II. UTILITY PATENT APPLICATIONS RECEIVING FORMAL DRAWINGS AFTER THE NOTICE OF ALLOWABILITY

Where replacement drawings are received in utility patent applications examined with informal drawings and the Notice of Allowability was mailed prior to the receipt of the replacement drawings, the technical support staff should forward the replacement drawings to the Publishing Division. Submission to the examiner is not necessary unless an amendment accompanies the drawings which changes the specification, such as where the description of figures is added or canceled.

III. BORROWING FILES FROM PUBLISHING DIVISION

Allowed files requiring drawing corrections are sent to the Publishing Division. At times, examiners have a need to borrow these applications. When borrowing applications, examining corps personnel must submit a request to the Office of Patent Publications Customer Service Center.

IV. 37 CFR 1.312 AMENDMENTS

For information on handling amendments to drawings filed under 37 CFR 1.312, see MPEP § 714.16.

608.03 Models, Exhibits, Specimens[edit | edit source]

35 U.S.C. 114. Models, specimens.

The Director may require the applicant to furnish a model of convenient size to exhibit advantageously the several parts of his invention.

When the invention relates to a composition of matter, the Director may require the applicant to furnish specimens or ingredients for the purpose of inspection or experiment.


37 CFR 1.91. Models or exhibits not generally admitted aspart of application or patent.

(a) A model or exhibit will not be admitted as part of the record of an application unless it:

(1)Substantially conforms to the requirements of §1.52or §1.84;

(2) Is specifically required by the Office; or

(3) Is filed with a petition under this section including:

(i) The fee set forth in §1.17(h); and

(ii) An explanation of why entry of the model or exhibit in the file record is necessary to demonstrate patentability.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section, a model, working model, or other physical exhibit may be required by the Office if deemed necessary for any purpose in examination of the application.

(c) Unless the model or exhibit substantially conforms to the requirements of § 1.52 or § 1.84 under paragraph (a)(1) of this section, it must be accompanied by photographs that show multiple views of the material features of the model or exhibit and that substantially conform to the requirements of § 1.84.


Models or exhibits are generally not admitted as part of an application or patent unless the requirements of 37 CFR 1.91 are satisfied.

With the exception of cases involving perpetual motion, a model is not ordinarily required by the Office to demonstrate the operability of a device. If operability of a device is questioned, the applicant must establish it to the satisfaction of the examiner, but he or she may choose his or her own way of so doing.

Models or exhibits that are required by the Office or filed with a petition under 37 CFR 1.91(a)(3) must be accompanied by photographs that (A) show multiple views of the material features of the model or exhibit, and (B) substantially conform to the requirements of 37 CFR 1.84. See 37 CFR 1.91(c). Material features are considered to be those features which represent that portion(s) of the model or exhibit forming the basis for which the model or exhibit has been submitted. Where a video or DVD or similar item is submitted as a model or exhibit, applicant must submit photographs of what is depicted in the video or DVD (the content of the material such as a still image single frame of a movie) and not a photograph of a video cassette, DVD disc or compact disc.

37 CFR 1.93. Specimens.

When the invention relates to a composition of matter, the applicant may be required to furnish specimens of the composition, or of its ingredients or intermediates, for the purpose of inspection or experiment.


See MPEP Chapter 2400 regarding treatment of biotechnology deposits.

608.03(a)Handling of Models, Exhibits, and Specimens[edit | edit source]

All models and exhibits received in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office should be taken to the Technology Center (TC) assigned the related application for examination. The receipt of all models and exhibits which are to be entered into the application file record must be properly recorded on the “Contents” portion of the application file wrapper or, if the application is an Image File Wrapper (IFW) application, on an artifact sheet. For IFW processing, see IFW Manual section 3.6.

A label indicating the application number, filing date, and attorney’s name and address should be attached to the model or exhibit so that it is clearly identified and easily returned. The Office may return the model, exhibit, or specimen, at any time once it is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office and return of the model or exhibit is appropriate. See 37 CFR 1.94.

If the model or exhibit cannot be conveniently stored within the application file wrapper or in an artifact folder, it should not be accepted.

Models and exhibits may be presented for demonstration purposes during an interview. The models and exhibits should be taken away by applicant or his/her attorney or agent at the conclusion of the interview since models or exhibits are generally not permitted to be admitted as part of the application or patent unless the requirements of 37 CFR 1.91 are satisfied. See MPEP § 713.08. A full description of what was demonstrated or exhibited during the interview must be made of record. See 37 CFR 1.133. Any model or exhibit that is left with the examiner at the conclusion of the interview, which is not made part of the application or patent, may be disposed of at the discretion of the Office.

37 CFR 1.94. Return of models, exhibits or specimens.

(a) Models, exhibits, or specimens may be returned to the applicant if no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office. When applicant is notified that a model, exhibit, or specimen is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office and will be returned, applicant must arrange for the return of the model, exhibit, or specimen at the applicant’s expense. The Office will dispose of perishables without notice to applicant unless applicant notifies the Office upon submission of the model, exhibit or specimen that a return is desired and makes arrangements for its return promptly upon notification by the Office that the model, exhibit or specimen is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office.

(b) Applicant is responsible for retaining the actual model, exhibit, or specimen for the enforceable life of any patent resulting from the application. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply to a model or exhibit that substantially conforms to the requirements of § 1.52 or § 1.84, where the model or exhibit has been described by photographs that substantially conform to § 1.84, or where the model, exhibit or specimen is perishable.

(c) Where applicant is notified, pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, of the need to arrange for return of a model, exhibit or specimen, applicant must arrange for the return within the period set in such notice, to avoid disposal of the model, exhibit or specimen by the Office. Extensions of time are available under § 1.136, except in the case of perishables. Failure to establish that the return of the item has been arranged for within the period set or failure to have the item removed from Office storage within a reasonable amount of time notwithstanding any arrangement for return, will permit the Office to dispose of the model, exhibit or specimen.


When applicant is notified that a model, exhibit, or specimen is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office and will be returned, applicant must make arrangements for the return of the model, exhibit, or specimen at applicant’s expense. The Office may return the model, exhibit, or specimen at any time once it is no longer necessary for the conduct of business and need not wait until the close of prosecution or later. Where the model, exhibit, or specimen is a perishable, the Office will be presumed to have permission to dispose of the item without notice to applicant, unless applicant notifies the Office upon submission of the item that a return is desired and arrangements are promptly made for the item’s return upon notification by the Office.

For models, exhibits, or specimens that are returned, applicant is responsible for retaining the actual model, exhibit, or specimen for the enforceable life of any patent resulting from the application except where: (A) the model or exhibit substantially conforms to the requirements of 37 CFR 1.52 or 1.84; (B) the model or exhibit has been described by photographs that substantially conform to 37 CFR 1.84; or (C) the model, exhibit, or specimen is perishable. Applicant may be called upon to resubmit such returned model, exhibit, or specimen under appropriate circumstances, such as where a continuing application is filed.

The notification to applicant that a model, exhibit, or specimen is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office will set a time period within which applicant must make arrangements for a return of a model, exhibit, or specimen. The time period is normally one month from the mailing date of the notification, unless the item is perishable, in which case the time period will be shorter. Extensions of time are available under 37 CFR 1.136, except in the case of perishables. Failure by applicant to establish that arrangements for the return of a model, exhibit, or specimen have been made within the time period set in the notice will result in the disposal of the model, exhibit, or specimen by the Office.

For plant specimens, see MPEP § 1607 and 37 CFR 1.166.

37 CFR 1.95. Copies of exhibits.

Copies of models or other physical exhibits will not ordinarily be furnished by the Office, and any model or exhibit in an application or patent shall not be taken from the Office except in the custody of an employee of the Office specially authorized by the Director.


608.04 New Matter[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.121. Manner of making amendments in applications.


(f)No new matter. No amendment may introduce new matter into the disclosure of an application.


In establishing a disclosure, applicant may rely not only on the specification and drawing as filed but also on the original claims if their content justifies it. See MPEP § 608.01(l).

While amendments to the specification and claims involving new matter are ordinarily entered, such matter is required to be canceled from the descriptive portion of the specification, and the claims affected are rejected under 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph.

When new matter is introduced into the specification, the amendment should be objected to under 35 U.S.C. 132 (35 U.S.C. 251 if a reissue application) and a requirement made to cancel the new matter. The subject matter which is considered to be new matter must be clearly identified by the examiner. If the new matter has been entered into the claims or affects the scope of the claims, the claims affected should be rejected under 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph, because the new matter is not described in the application as originally filed.

A “new matter” amendment of the drawing is ordinarily not entered; neither is an additional or substitute sheet containing “new matter” even though provisionally entered by the TC technical support staff. See MPEP § 608.02(h).

The examiner’s holding of new matter may be petitionable or appealable. See MPEP § 608.04(c).

For new matter in reissue application, see MPEP § 1411.02. For new matter in substitute specification, see MPEP § 608.01(q).

Note: No amendment is permitted in a provisional application after it receives a filing date.

608.04(a) Matter Not in Original Specification, Claims, or Drawings[edit | edit source]

Matter not in the original specification, claims, or drawings is usually new matter. Depending on circumstances such as the adequacy of the original disclosure, the addition of inherent characteristics such as chemical or physical properties, a new structural formula or a new use may be new matter. See Ex parte Vander Wal, 109 USPQ 119, 1956 C.D. 11, 705 O.G. 5 (Bd. App. 1955) (physical properties), Ex parte Fox, 128 USPQ 157, 1960 C.D. 28, 761 O.G. 906 (Bd. App. 1957) (new formula) and Ex parte Ayers, 108 USPQ 444 (Bd. App. 1955) (new use). For rejection of claim involving new matter, see MPEP §

706.03(o).

For completeness of disclosure, see MPEP § 608.01(p). For trademarks and tradenames, see MPEP § 608.01(v).

608.04(b)New Matter by PreliminaryAmendment [R-3][edit | edit source]

A preliminary amendment present on the filing date of the application (e.g., filed along with the filing of the application) is considered a part of the original disclosure. See MPEP § 714.01(e) and § 602. A preliminary amendment filed after the filing date of the application is not part of the original disclosure of the application. See MPEP § 706.03(o). For applications filed on or after September 21, 2004, the Office will automatically treat any preliminary amendment under 37 CFR 1.115(a)(1) that is present on the filing date of the application as part of the original disclosure. If a preliminary amendment is present on the filing date of an application, and the oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 does not also refer to the preliminary amendment, the normal operating procedure is to not screen the preliminary amendment to determine whether it contains subject matter not otherwise included in the specification or drawings of the




application as filed (i.e., subject matter that is “new matter” relative to the specification and drawings of the application). As a result, it is applicant’s obligation to review the preliminary amendment to ensure that it does not contain subject matter not otherwise included in the specification or drawings of the application as filed. If the preliminary amendment contains subject matter not otherwise included in the specification and drawings of the application, applicant must provide a supplemental oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.67 referring to such preliminary amendment. The failure to submit a supplemental oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.67 referring to a preliminary amendment that contains subject matter not otherwise included in the specification or drawings of the application as filed removes safeguards that are implied in the oath or declaration requirements that the inventor review and understand the contents of the application, and acknowledge the duty to disclose to the Office all information known to be material to patentability as defined in 37 CFR 1.56.

Applicants can avoid the need to file an oath or declaration referring to any preliminary amendment by incorporating any desired amendments into the text of the specification including a new set of claims when filing the application instead of filing a preliminary amendment, even where the application is a continuation or divisional application of a prior-filed application. Furthermore, applicants are strongly encouraged to avoid submitting any preliminary amendments so as to minimize the burden on the Office in processing preliminary amendments and reduce delays in processing the application.

During examination, if an examiner determines that a preliminary amendment that is present on the filing date of the application includes subject matter not otherwise supported by the originally filed specification and drawings, and the oath or declaration does not refer to the preliminary amendment, the examiner may require the applicant to file a supplemental oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.67 referring to the preliminary amendment. In response to the requirement, applicant must submit (1) an oath or declaration that refers to the preliminary amendment, (2) an amendment that cancels the subject matter not supported by the originally filed specification and drawings, or (3) a request for reconsideration.

For applications filed prior to September 21, 2004, a preliminary amendment that was present on the filing date of an application may be considered a part of the original disclosure if it was referred to in a first filed oath or declaration in compliance with 37 CFR 1.63. If the preliminary amendment was not referred to in the oath or declaration, applicant will be required to submit a supplemental oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.67 referring to both the application and the preliminary amendment filed with the original application. A surcharge under 37 CFR 1.16(f) will also be required unless it has been previously paid.

608.04(c)Review of Examiner’s Holding of New Matter[edit | edit source]

Where the new matter is confined to amendments to the specification, review of the examiner’s requirement for cancelation is by way of petition. But where the alleged new matter is introduced into or affects the claims, thus necessitating their rejection on this ground, the question becomes an appealable one, and should not be considered on petition even though that new matter has been introduced into the specification also. 37 CFR 1.181 and 37 CFR 1.191 afford the explanation of this seemingly inconsistent practice as affecting new matter in the specification.

608.05 Sequence Listing Table, or Computer Program Listing Appendix Submitted on a Compact Disc[R-5][edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.52. Language, paper, writing, margins, compact disc specifications.

(e) Electronic documents that are to become part of the permanent United States Patent and Trademark Office records in the file of a patent application or reexamination proceeding.

(1) The following documents may be submitted to the Office on a compact disc in compliance with this paragraph:
(i)A computer program listing (see § 1.96);
(ii)A “Sequence Listing” (submitted under § 1.821(c)); or
(iii)Any individual table (see § 1.58) if the table is more than 50 pages in length, or if the total number of pages of all of the tables in an application exceeds 100 pages in length, where a table page is a page printed on paper in conformance with paragraph (b) of this section and § 1.58(c).
(2)A compact disc as used in this part means a Compact Disc-Read Only Memory (CD-ROM) or a Compact Disc-Recordable (CD-R) in compliance with this paragraph. A CD-ROM is a “read-only” medium on which the data is pressed into the disc so that it cannot be changed or erased. A CD-R is a “write once” medium on which once the data is recorded, it is permanent and cannot be changed or erased.
(3)
(i) Each compact disc must conform to the International Standards Organization (ISO) 9660 standard, and the contents of each compact disc must be in compliance with the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII). CD-R discs must be finalized so that they are closed to further writing to the CD-R.
(ii)Each compact disc must be enclosed in a hard compact disc case within an unsealed padded and protective mailing envelope and accompanied by a transmittal letter on paper in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section. The transmittal letter must list for each compact disc the machine format (e.g., IBM-PC, Macintosh), the operating system compatibility (e.g., MS-DOS, MS-Windows, Macintosh, Unix), a list of files contained on the compact disc including their names, sizes in bytes, and dates of creation, plus any other special information that is necessary to identify, maintain, and interpret (e.g., tables in landscape orientation should be identified as landscape orientation or be identified when inquired about) the information on the compact disc. Compact discs submitted to the Office will not be returned to the applicant.
(4)Any compact disc must be submitted in duplicate unless it contains only the “Sequence Listing” in computer readable form required by § 1.821(e). The compact disc and duplicate copy must be labeled “Copy 1” and “Copy 2,” respectively. The transmittal letter which accompanies the compact disc must include a statement that the two compact discs are identical. In the event that the two compact discs are not identical, the Office will use the compact disc labeled “Copy 1” for further processing. Any amendment to the information on a compact disc must be by way of a replacement compact disc in compliance with this paragraph containing the substitute information, and must be accompanied by a statement that the replacement compact disc contains no new matter. The compact disc and copy must be labeled “COPY 1 REPLACEMENT MM/DD/YYYY” (with the month, day and year of creation indicated), and “COPY 2 REPLACEMENT MM/DD/YYYY,” respectively.
(5)The specification must contain an incorporation-by-reference of the material on the compact disc in a separate paragraph (§ 1.77(b)(5)), identifying each compact disc by the names of the files contained on each of the compact discs, their date of creation and their sizes in bytes. The Office may require applicant to amend the specification to include in the paper portion any part of the specification previously submitted on compact disc.
(6)A compact disc must also be labeled with the following information:
(i)The name of each inventor (if known);
(ii)Title of the invention;
(iii)The docket number, or application number if known, used by the person filing the application to identify the application; and
(iv)A creation date of the compact disc.
(v)If multiple compact discs are submitted, the label shall indicate their order (e.g. “1 of X”).
(vi)An indication that the disk is “Copy 1” or “Copy 2” of the submission. See paragraph (b)(4) of this section.
(7)If a file is unreadable on both copies of the disc, the unreadable file will be treated as not having been submitted. A file is unreadable if, for example, it is of a format that does not comply with the requirements of paragraph (e)(3) of this section, it is corrupted by a computer virus, or it is written onto a defective compact disc.

(f)

(1) Any sequence listing in an electronic medium in compliance with §§ 1.52(e) and 1.821(c) or (e), and any computer program listing filed in an electronic medium in compliance with §§ 1.52(e) and 1.96, will be excluded when determining the application size fee required by § 1.16(s) or § 1.492(j). For purposes of determining the application size fee required by § 1.16(s) or §1.492(j), for an application the specification and drawings of which, excluding any sequence listing in compliance with §1.821(c) or (e), and any computer program listing filed in an electronic medium in compliance with §§ 1.52(e) and 1.96, are submitted in whole or in part on an electronic medium other than the Office electronic filing system, each three kilobytes of content submitted on an electronic medium shall be counted as a sheet of paper.
(2)Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, the paper size equivalent of the specification and drawings of an application submitted via the Office electronic filing system will be considered to be the number of sheets of paper present in the specification and drawings of the application when entered into the Office file wrapper after being rendered by the Office electronic filing system for purposes of computing the application size fee required by § 1.16(s). Any sequence listing in compliance with § 1.821(c) or (e), and any computer program listing in compliance with § 1.96, submitted via the Office electronic filing system will be excluded when determining the application size fee required by § 1.16(s) if the listing is submitted in ACSII text as part of an associated file.

37 CFR 1.77. Arrangement of application elements.

(a)The elements of the application, if applicable, should appear in the following order:

(1)Utility application transmittal form.

(2)Fee transmittal form.

(3)Application data sheet (see § 1.76).

(4)Specification.

(5)Drawings.

(6)Executed oath or declaration.

(b)The specification should include the following sections in order:

(1)Title of the invention, which may be accompanied by an introductory portion stating the name, citizenship, and residence of the applicant (unless included in the application data sheet).




(2)Cross-reference to related applications (unless included in the application data sheet).

(3)Statement regarding federally sponsored research or development.

(4)The names of the parties to a joint research agreement.


(5)Reference to a “Sequence Listing,” a table, or a computer program listing appendix submitted on a compact disc and an incorporation-by-reference of the material on the compact disc (see § 1.52(e)(5)). The total number of compact discs including duplicates and the files on each compact disc shall be specified.

(6)Background of the invention.

(7)Brief summary of the invention.

(8)Brief description of the several views of the drawing.

(9)Detailed description of the invention.

(10) A claim or claims.

(11) Abstract of the disclosure.

(12) “Sequence Listing,” if on paper (see §§

1.821through 1.825).

(c)The text of the specification sections defined in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(12) of this section, if applicable, should be preceded by a section heading in uppercase and without underlining or bold type.

Special procedures for the presentation of large tables, computer program listings and certain biosequences on compact discs are set forth in 37 CFR 1.52(e). Use of compact discs is desirable in view of the lengthy data listings being submitted as part of the disclosure in some patent applications. Such listings are often several hundred pages or more in length. By filing and publishing such data listings on compact disc rather than on paper, substantial cost savings can result to the applicants, the public, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

BACKGROUND

A compact disc submitted under 37 CFR 1.52(e) must either be a CD-ROM or a CD-R. A CD-ROM is made by a process of pressing the disc from a master template; the data cannot be erased or rewritten. A CD-R is a compact disc that has a recording medium only capable of writing once. CD-RW type media which are erasable and rewriteable are not acceptable. Limiting the media types to CD-ROM and CD-R media will ensure the longevity and integrity of the data submitted. CD-R discs must be finalized so that they are closed to further writing to the CD-R. The files stored on the compact disc must contain only ASCII characters. No non-ASCII characters or proprietary file formats are permitted. A text viewer is recommended for viewing ASCII files. While virtually any word processor may be used to view an ASCII file, care must be taken since a word processor will often not distinguish ASCII and non-ASCII files when displayed. For example, a word processor normally does not display hidden proprietary non-ASCII characters used for formatting when viewing a non- ASCII word processor file.

Compact disc(s) filed on the date that the application was accorded a filing date are to be treated as part of the originally filed disclosure even if the requisite “incorporation by reference” statement (see 37 CFR 1.77(b)(5)) is omitted. Similarly, if a preliminary amendment that accompanies the application when it is filed in the Office is identified in the oath or declaration, and the preliminary amendment includes compact disc(s), the compact disc(s) will be treated as part of the original disclosure. The compact disc(s) is considered part of the original disclosure by virtue of its inclusion with the application on the date the application is accorded a filing date. The incorporation by reference statement of the material on the compact disc is required to be part of the specification to allow the Office the option of separately printing the material on compact disc. The examiner should require applicant(s) to insert this statement if it is omitted or the examiner may insert the statement by examiner’s amendment at the time of allowance.

37 CFR 1.52(e)(3)(ii) requires that each compact disc must be enclosed in a hard compact disc case within an unsealed padded and protective mailing envelope and accompanied by a transmittal letter on paper in accordance with 37 CFR 1.52(a). The transmittal letter must list for each compact disc the machine format (e.g., IBM-PC, Macintosh), the operating system compatibility (e.g., MS-DOS, MS-Windows, Macintosh, Unix), a list of files contained on the compact disc including their names, sizes in bytes, and dates of creation, plus any other special information that is necessary to identify, maintain, and interpret the information on the compact disc. Compact discs submitted to the Office will not be returned to the applicant.

All compact discs submitted under 37 CFR 1.52(e) must be submitted in duplicate labeled as “copy 1” and “copy 2” respectively. If more than one compact disc is required to hold all of the information, each compact disc must be submitted in duplicate to form two sets of discs: one set labeled “copy 1” and a sec




ond set labeled “copy 2.” Both disc copies should initially be routed to the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE). The compact discs will be checked by OIPE for viruses, readability, the presence of non-ASCII files, and compliance with the file and disc labeling requirements. OIPE will retain one copy of the discs and place the other copy in a holder fastened into the application file jacket. For Image File Wrapper (IFW) processing, see IFW Manual sections 2.2 and 3.6. In the event that there is not a complete set of files on both copies of the originally filed discs, OIPE will retain the originally filed discs and send a notice to the applicant to submit an additional complete copy. For provisional applications, OIPE will provide applicant notification and, where appropriate, require correction for virus infected compact discs, unreadable compact discs (or unreadable files thereon), and missing duplicate discs. An amendment to the material on a compact disc must be done by submitting a replacement compact disc with the amended file(s). The amendment should include a corresponding amendment to the description of the compact disc and the files contained on the compact disc in the paper portion of the specification. A replacement compact disc containing the amended files must contain all of the files of the original compact disc that were not amended. This will insure that the Office, printer, and public can quickly access all of the current files in an application or patent by referencing only the latest set of compact discs.

Compact discs should be stored in the compact disc holder provided in each application file. The compact discs, especially the non-label side, should not be scratched, marked or otherwise altered or deformed. Compact discs and application files containing compact discs should not be stored in areas exposed to heat and humidity that might damage the discs.

If a compact disc becomes damaged or lost from the file wrapper, OIPE will make a duplicate replacement copy of the disc from the copy retained in OIPE. At time of allowance, if a replacement disc is required, the application file and replacement request should be forwarded to OIPE to provide the replacement disc.

Examiners may view the files on the application compact disc using virtually any text reader or the MS Word word processor software installed on their workstation. Special text viewing software will be provided on examiner workstations in Technology Centers that receive ASCII files that are not readily readable using the MS Word word processor software.

608.05(a)Deposit of Computer Program Listings [R-5][edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.96. Submission of computer program listings.

(a)General. Descriptions of the operation and general content of computer program listings should appear in the description portion of the specification. A computer program listing for the purpose of this section is defined as a printout that lists in appropriate sequence the instructions, routines, and other contents of a program for a computer. The program listing may be either in machine or machine-independent (object or source) language which will cause a computer to perform a desired procedure or task such as solve a problem, regulate the flow of work in a computer, or control or monitor events. Computer program listings may be submitted in patent applications as set forth in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.

(b)Material which will be printed in the patent: If the computer program listing is contained in 300 lines or fewer, with each line of 72 characters or fewer, it may be submitted either as drawings or as part of the specification.

(1)Drawings. If the listing is submitted as drawings, it must be submitted in the manner and complying with the requirements for drawings as provided in § 1.84. At least one figure numeral is required on each sheet of drawing.

(2)Specification.

(i)If the listing is submitted as part of the specification, it must be submitted in accordance with the provisions of § 1.52.

(ii)Any listing having more than 60 lines of code that is submitted as part of the specification must be positioned at the end of the description but before the claims. Any amendment must be made by way of submission of a substitute sheet.


(c)As an appendix which will not be printed: Any computer program listing may, and any computer program listing having over 300 lines (up to 72 characters per line) must, be submitted on a compact disc in compliance with § 1.52(e). A compact disc containing such a computer program listing is to be referred to as a “computer program listing appendix.” The “computer program listing appendix” will not be part of the printed patent. The specification must include a reference to the “computer program listing appendix” at the location indicated in § 1.77(b)(5).

(1)Multiple computer program listings for a single application may be placed on a single compact disc. Multiple compact discs may be submitted for a single application if necessary. A separate compact disc is required for each application containing a computer program listing that must be submitted on a “computer program listing appendix.”

(2)The “computer program listing appendix” must be submitted on a compact disc that complies with § 1.52(e) and the following specifications (no other format shall be allowed):

(i)Computer Compatibility: IBM PC/XT/AT, or compatibles, or Apple Macintosh;

(ii)Operating System Compatibility: MS-DOS, MS- Windows, Unix, or Macintosh;

(iii)Line Terminator: ASCII Carriage Return plus ASCII Line Feed;

(iv)Control Codes: the data must not be dependent on control characters or codes which are not defined in the ASCII character set; and

(v)Compression: uncompressed data.

Special procedures for presentation of computer program listings in the form of compact disc files in U.S. national patent applications are set forth in 37 CFR 1.96. Use of compact disc files is desirable in view of the number of computer program listings being submitted as part of the disclosure in patent applications. Such listings are often several hundred pages in length. By filing and publishing such computer program listings on compact discs rather than on paper, substantial cost savings can result to the applicants, the public, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

I.BACKGROUND

A computer program listing, as used in these rules, means the printout that lists, in proper sequence, the instructions, routines, and other contents of a program for a computer. The listing may be either in machine or machine-independent (object or source) programming language which will cause a computer to perform a desired task, such as solving a problem, regulating the flow of work in computer, or controlling or monitoring events. The general description of the computer program listing will appear in the specification while the computer program listing may appear either directly or as a computer program listing on compact disc appendix to the specification and be incorporated into the specification by reference.




Copies of publicly available computer program listings are available from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on paper and on compact disc at the cost set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(a).

II.DISCUSSION OF THE BACKGROUND AND MAJOR ISSUES INVOLVED

The provisions of 37 CFR 1.52 and 37 CFR 1.84for submitting specifications and drawings on paper have been found suitable for most patent applications. However, when lengthy computer program listings must be disclosed in a patent application in order to provide a complete disclosure, use of paper copies can become burdensome. The cost of printing long computer programs in patent documents is also very expensive to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Under 37 CFR 1.96, several different methods for submitting computer program listings, including the use of compact discs, are set forth. A computer program listing contained on three hundred printout lines or less may be submitted either as drawings (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.84), as part of the written specification (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52), or on compact disc (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52(e)). A computer program listing contained on three hundred and one (301) printout lines or more must be submitted as ASCII files on compact discs (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.96(c)).

A computer program listing of more than three hundred lines will not be printed in any patent application publication, patent, or Statutory Invention Registration. See 37 CFR 1.96(c).


III.OTHER INFORMATION

A computer program listing on compact disc filed with a patent application will be referred to as a Computer Program Listing Appendix on compact disc and will be identified as such on the front page of the patent but will not be part of the printed patent. “Computer Program Listing Appendix on compact disc” denotes the total computer program listing files contained on all compact discs. The face of the file wrapper will bear a label to denote that an appendix on compact disc is included in the application. A statement must be included in the specification to the effect that a computer program listing appendix on compact disc is included in the application. The specification entry must appear at the beginning of the specification immediately following any cross-reference to related applications. 37 CFR 1.77(b)(5). When an application containing compact discs is received in the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE), a special envelope will be affixed to the right side of the file wrapper underneath all papers, and the compact discs inserted therein. For Image File Wrapper (IFW) processing, see IFW Manual section 3.6. The application file will then proceed on its normal course.

IV.TEMPORARY CONTINUATION OF MICROFICHE PRACTICE UNTIL MARCH 1, 2001

The Office provided for the continuation of prior microfiche appendix practice for computer listings until March 1, 2001. All computer listings as part of the application disclosure filed prior to March 2, 2001 that are in conformance with the microfiche appendix rules below may rely on the microfiche and need not submit a computer program listing appendix on compact disc; all computer listings as part of the application disclosure not in conformance with the microfiche appendix rules below must conform to the requirements of 37 CFR 1.52 and 37 CFR 1.96 as set forth above.

The prior microfiche practice continued through March 1, 2001 to accommodate applicants who incurred the time and expense of preparing microfiche. Those applicants with computer program listings in the disclosure who have not prepared microfiche will generally incur significantly less time and expense creating compact disc files than creating microfiche.

All computer listings submitted on microfiche through March 1, 2001, must conform to the requirements of former 37 CFR 1.96(c), as reproduced below:

Former 37 CFR 1.96. Submission of computer program listings.


(c)As an appendix which will not be printed. If a computer program listing printout is eleven or more pages long, applicants must submit such listing in the form of

microfiche, referred to in the specification (see §

1.77(a)(6)). Such microfiche filed with a patent application is to be referred to as a “microfiche appendix.” The “microfiche appendix” will not be part of the printed patent. Reference in the application to the “microfiche appendix” must be made at the beginning of the specification at the location indicated in § 1.77(a)(6). Any amendments thereto must be made by way of revised microfiche.

(1)Availability of appendix. Such computer program listings on microfiche will be available to the public for inspection, and microfiche copies thereof will be available for purchase with the file wrapper and contents, after a patent based on such application is granted or the application is otherwise made publicly available.


(2)Submission requirements. Except as modified or clarified in this paragraph (c)(2), computer-generated information submitted as a “microfiche appendix” to an application shall be in accordance with the standards set forth in 36 CFR Part 1230 (Micrographics).

(i)Film submitted shall be a first generation (camera film) negative appearing microfiche (with

emulsion on the back side of the film when viewed with the images right-reading).

(iii)At least the left-most third (50 mm. x 12 mm.) of the header or title area of each microfiche submitted shall be clear or positive appearing so that the Patent and Trademark Office can apply an application number and filing date thereto in an eye- readable form. The middle portion of the header shall be used by applicant to apply an eye-readable application identification such as the title and/or the first inventor's name. The attorney's docket number may be included. The final right-hand portion of the microfiche shall contain sequence in formation for the microfiche, such as 1 of 4, 2 of 4, etc.

(ii)Reduction ratio of microfiche submitted should be 24:1 or a similar ratio where variation from said ratio is required in order to fit the documents into the image area of the microfiche format used.

(iv)Additional requirements which apply specifically to microfiche of filmed paper copy:

(A)The first frame of each microfiche submitted shall contain a test target.

(B)The second frame of each microfiche submitted must contain a fully descriptive title and the inventor's name as filed.




(C)The pages or lines appearing on the microfiche frames should be consecutively numbered.

(D)Pagination of the microfiche frames shall be from left to right and from top to bottom.

(E)At a reduction of 24:1, resolution of the original microfilm shall be at least 120 lines per mm. (5.0 target).

(F)An index, when included, should appear in the last frame (lower-right hand corner when data is right-reading) of each microfiche.

(v)Microfiche generated by Computer Output Microfilm.


(A)The first frame of each microfiche submitted should contain a resolution test frame.

(B)The second frame of each microfiche submitted must contain a fully descriptive title and the inventor's name as filed.

(C)The pages or lines appearing on the microfiche frames should be consecutively numbered.

(D)It is preferred that pagination of the microfiche frames be from left to right and top to bottom but the alternative, i.e., from top to bottom and from left to right, is also acceptable.

(E)An index, when included, should appear on the last frame (lower-right hand corner when data is right reading) of each microfiche.


A microfiche filed with a patent application will be referred to as a “Microfiche Appendix,” and will be identified as such on the front page of the patent but will not be part of the printed patent. “Microfiche Appendix” denotes the total microfiche, whether only one or two or more. One microfiche is equivalent to a maximum of either 63 (9x7) or 98 (14x7) frames (pages), or less. The face of the file wrapper will bear a label to denote that a Microfiche Appendix is included in the application. For IFW processing, see IFW Manual section 3.6. A statement must be included in the specification to the effect that a microfiche appendix is included in the application. The specification entry must appear at the beginning of the specification immediately following any cross-reference to related applications. When an application containing microfiche is received in the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE), a special envelope will be affixed to the right side of the file wrapper underneath all papers, and the microfiche inserted therein. For IFW processing, see IFW Manual section 2.2. The application file will then proceed on its normal course.

Form paragraph 6.64.04 may be used to notify applicant of an unacceptable microfiche appendix.

¶ 6.64.04 “Microfiche Appendix” Unacceptable

The computer program listing filed on [1] as a “microfiche appendix” is unacceptable. A computer program listing conforming to the requirements of 37 CFR 1.96 is required.

Examiner Note:

1. This form paragraph should be used if a “microfiche appendix” was filed after March 1, 2001 or if a “microfiche appendix” filed on or before March 1, 2001 was not in compliance with former rule 37 CFR 1.96(c). See MPEP § 608.05(a).

2.In bracket 1, insert the date the “microfiche appendix” was filed.

608.05(b)Compact Disc Submissions of Large Tables [R-3]

37 CFR 1.58. Chemical and mathematical formulae and tables.


(b)Tables that are submitted in electronic form (§§ 1.96(c) and 1.821(c)) must maintain the spatial relationships (e.g., alignment of columns and rows) of the table elements when displayed so as to visually preserve the relational information they convey. Chemical and mathematical formulae must be encoded to maintain the proper positioning of their characters when displayed in order to preserve their intended meaning.


The provisions of 37 CFR 1.52 and 37 CFR 1.58for submitting specifications and tables on paper have been found suitable for most patent applications. However, when lengthy tables must be disclosed in a patent application in order to provide a complete disclosure, use of paper copies can become burdensome. The cost of printing long tables in patent documents is also very expensive to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In the past, all disclosures forming part of a patent application were presented on paper with the exception of microorganisms and computer program listings. Under 37 CFR 1.58, several different methods for submitting large tables, including the use of CD-ROM and CD-R, are set forth. If CD-R discs are used, 37 CFR 1.52(e)(3)(i) requires that the CD-R discs to be finalized so that they are closed to further writing to the CD-R.

The files stored on the compact disc containing the table must contain only ASCII characters. No special formatting characters or proprietary file formats are permitted. Accordingly, great care must be taken so that the spatial arrangement of the data in rows and columns is maintained in the table when the file is opened for viewing at the Office. This will allow the




table to viewed with virtually any text viewer. A single table contained on fifty pages or less must be submitted either as drawings (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.84) or as part of the specification in paper (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52).

A single table contained on 51 pages or more , or if there are multiple tables in an application and the total number of pages of the tables exceeds one hundred pages, the tables may be submitted on a CD- ROM or CD-R (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52(e) and 37 CFR 1.58). A table page is defined in 37 CFR 1.52(e)(1)(iii) as a page printed on paper in conformance with 37 CFR 1.52(b) and 1.58(c). The presentation of a subheading to divide a large table into smaller sections of less than 51 pages should not be used to prevent an applicant from submitting the table on a compact disc unless the subdivided tables are presented as numerous files on the compact disc so as to lose their relationship to the overall large table.

Tables in landscape orientation should be identified as landscape orientation in the transmittal letter accompanying the compact disc to allow the Office to properly upload the tables into the Image File Wrapper (IFW) or other automated systems. 37 CFR 1.52(e)(3)(ii). Most tables filed with patent applications are intended to be rendered in portrait mode. Accordingly, filings without an identification of landscape mode will be rendered as portrait mode tables by the Office.

If tables on more than two hundred consecutive pages, or large numbers of tables (lengthy tables) are submitted on a CD as provided in 37 CFR 1.52(e), or in an electronic format in response to a specific request from the Office of Patent Publication, these lengthy tables will not be published as part of a patent document (e.g., patent, patent application publication or Statutory Invention Registration (SIR)). The lengthy tables will be published separately on the sequence homepage of the USPTO Internet web site (http://seqdata.uspto.gov) as an XML file. See, for example, patent application publication nos. US 2003/ 0235811 A1 and US 2003/0237110 A9.

When the lengthy tables are separately published on the USPTO Internet web site, there will be a standardized “Lengthy Table” statement, in the patent document following of the detailed description (see 37 CFR 1.77(b)(8)).

For a patent application publication, the following page-wide text would appear:

LENGTHY TABLE

The patent application contains a lengthy table section. A copy of the table is available in electronic form from the USPTO web site (http://seqdata. uspto.gov/?pageRequest=docDetail& docID=20047654321). An electronic copy of the table will also be available from the USPTO upon request and payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b)(3).

For a patent, the following page-wide text would appear:

LENGTHY TABLE

The patent contains a lengthy table section. A copy of the table is available in electronic form from the USPTO web site (http://seqdata.uspto.gov/?pageRequest= docDetail&docID=7654321B1). An electronic copy of the table will also be available from the USPTO upon request and payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b)(3).

For a SIR, the following page-wide text would appear:

LENGTHY TABLE

The statutory invention registration contains a lengthy table section. A copy of the table is available in electronic form from the USPTO web site (http:// seqdata.uspto.gov/?pageRequest=docDetail& docID=H0009999H1). An electronic copy of the table will also be available from the USPTO upon request and payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b)(3).

The Office discourages the embedding of a lengthy table in the specification of a patent application. If a lengthy table is embedded in the specification of a patent application, and if the lengthy table is available in an electronic form (either XML or a format convertible to XML), when the patent, patent application publication or SIR is published, the following single- column statement will be inserted in place of each replaced table in the document.




LENGTHY TABLE

Lengthy table referenced here. Please refer to the end of the specification for access instructions.

Form paragraphs 6.63.01 and 6.63.02 may be used to notify applicant of corrections needed to comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.52(e) and 37 CFR 1.58(b) with respect to tables.

608.05(c)Compact Disc Submissions of Biosequences[edit | edit source]

Filing of biosequence information on compact disc is now permitted in lieu of filing on paper. See MPEP § 2420 and § 2422.03.


609 Information Disclosure Statement[edit | edit source]

37 CFR 1.97. Filing of information disclosure statement.

(a) In order for an applicant for a patent or for a reissue of a patent to have an information disclosure statement in compliance with § 1.98 considered by the Office during the pendency of the application, the information disclosure statement must satisfy one of paragraphs (b), (c), or (d) of this section.

(b) An information disclosure statement shall be considered by the Office if filed by the applicant within any one of the following time periods:

(1) Within three months of the filing date of a national application other than a continued prosecution application under § 1.53(d);

(2) Within three months of the date of entry of the national stage as set forth in § 1.491 in an international application;

(3) Before the mailing of a first Office action on the merits; or

(4) Before the mailing of a first Office action after the filing of a request for continued examination under § 1.114.

(c) An information disclosure statement shall be considered by the Office if filed after the period specified in paragraph (b) of this section, provided that the information disclosure statement is filed before the mailing date of any of a final action under § 1.113, a notice of allowance under § 1.311, or an action that otherwise closes prosecution in the application, and it is accompanied by one of:

(1) The statement specified in paragraph (e) of this section; or

(2) The fee set forth in § 1.17(p).

(d) An information disclosure statement shall be considered by the Office if filed by the applicant after the period specified in paragraph (c) of this section, provided that the information disclosure statement is filed on or before payment of the issue fee and is accompanied by:

(1) The statement specified in paragraph (e) of this section; and

(2) The fee set forth in § 1.17(p).

(e) A statement under this section must state either:

(1) That each item of information contained in the information disclosure statement was first cited in any communication from a foreign patent office in a counterpart foreign application not more than three months prior to the filing of the information disclosure statement; or

(2) That no item of information contained in the information disclosure statement was cited in a communication from a foreign patent office in a counterpart foreign application, and, to the knowledge of the person signing the certification after making reasonable inquiry, no item of information contained in the information disclosure statement was known to any individual designated in § 1.56(c) more than three months prior to the filing of the information disclosure statement.

(f) No extensions of time for filing an information disclosure statement are permitted under § 1.136. If a bona fide attempt is made to comply with § 1.98, but part of the required content is inadvertently omitted, additional time may be given to enable full compliance.

(g) An information disclosure statement filed in accordance with section shall not be construed as a representation that a search has been made.

(h) The filing of an information disclosure statement shall not be construed to be an admission that the information cited in the statement is, or is considered to be, material to patentability as defined in § 1.56(b).

(i) If an information disclosure statement does not comply with either this section or § 1.98, it will be placed in the file but will not be considered by the Office.


37 CFR 1.98. Content of information disclosure statement.

(a) Any information disclosure statement filed under § 1.97 shall include the items listed in paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2) and (a)(3) of this section.

(1) A list of all patents, publications, applications, or other information submitted for consideration by the Office. U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications must be listed in a section separately from citations of other documents. Each page of the list must include:

(i) The application number of the application in which the information disclosure statement is being submitted;

(ii) A column that provides a space, next to each document to be considered, for the examiner’s initials; and

(iii) A heading that clearly indicates that the list is an information disclosure statement.

(2) A legible copy of:

(i) Each foreign patent;

(ii) Each publication or that portion which caused it to be listed, other than U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications unless required by the Office;

(iii) For each cited pending unpublished U.S. application, the application specification including the claims, and any drawing of the application, or that portion of the application which caused it to be listed including any claims directed to that portion; and

(iv) All other information or that portion which caused it to be listed.

(3)

(i) A concise explanation of the relevance, as it is presently understood by the individual designated in § 1.56(c) most knowledgeable about the content of the information, of each patent, publication, or other information listed that is not in the English language. The concise explanation may be either separate from applicant’s specification or incorporated therein.

(ii) A copy of the translation if a written English-language translation of a non-English-language document, or portion thereof, is within the possession, custody, or control of, or is readily available to any individual designated in § 1.56(c).

(b)

(1) Each U.S. patent listed in an information disclosure statement must be identified by inventor, patent number, and issue date.

(2) Each U.S. patent application publication listed in an information disclosure statement shall be identified by applicant, patent application publication number, and publication date.

(3) Each U.S. application listed in an information disclosure statement must be identified by the inventor, application number, and filing date.

(4) Each foreign patent or published foreign patent application listed in an information disclosure statement must be identified by the country or patent office which issued the patent or published the application, an appropriate document number, and the publication date indicated on the patent or published application.

(5) Each publication listed in an information disclosure statement must be identified by publisher, author (if any), title, relevant pages of the publication, date, and place of publication.

(c) When the disclosures of two or more patents or publications listed in an information disclosure statement are substantively cumulative, a copy of one of the patents or publications as specified in paragraph (a) of this section may be submitted without copies of the other patents or publications, provided that it is stated that these other patents or publications are cumulative.

(d) A copy of any patent, publication, pending U.S. application or other information, as specified in paragraph (a) of this section, listed in an information disclosure statement is required to be provided, even if the patent, publication, pending U.S. application or other information was previously submitted to, or cited by, the Office in an earlier application, unless:

(1) The earlier application is properly identified in the information disclosure statement and is relied on for an earlier effective filing date under 35 U.S.C. 120; and

(2) The information disclosure statement submitted in the earlier application complies with paragraphs (a) through (c) of this section.


In nonprovisional applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), applicants and other individuals substantively involved with the preparation and/or prosecution of the application have a duty to submit to the Office information which is material to patentability as defined in 37 CFR 1.56. The provisions of 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98 provide a mechanism by which patent applicants may comply with the duty of disclosure provided in 37 CFR 1.56.

Third parties cannot file information disclosure statements under 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98. Third parties may only submit patents and publications in compliance with 37 CFR 1.99 in applications published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b). See MPEP § 1134.01. For unpublished, pending applications, any member of the public, including private persons, corporate entities, and government agencies, may file a protest under 37 CFR 1.291 prior to the mailing of a notice of allowance under 37 CFR 1.311. See MPEP Chapter 1900. Alternatively, third parties may provide information to the applicant who may submit the information to the Office in an IDS. See 37 CFR 1.56(d). The Office will review any improper IDS filed by a third party to determine whether the submission is in compliance with 37 CFR 1.99. The Office will discard any submission that is not in compliance with 37 CFR 1.99, before the application is forwarded to the examiner for examination.

Information Disclosure Statements (IDSs) are not permitted in provisional applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(b). See 37 CFR 1.51(d). Since no substantive examination is given in provisional applications, a disclosure of information is unnecessary. Any such statement filed in a provisional application will be returned or destroyed at the option of the Office.

An information disclosure statement filed in accordance with the provisions of 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98 will be considered by the examiner assigned to the application. Individuals associated in a substantive way with the filing and prosecution of a patent application are encouraged to submit information to the Office so the examiner can evaluate its relevance to the claimed invention. The procedures for submitting an information disclosure statement under the rules are designed to encourage individuals to submit information to the Office promptly and in a uniform manner. These rules provide certainty for the public by defining the requirements for submitting information disclosure statements to the Office so that the Office will consider information contained therein before a patent is granted.

The filing of an information disclosure statement shall not be construed as a representation that a search has been made. 37 CFR 1.97(g). There is no requirement that an applicant for a patent make a patentability search. Further, the filing of an information disclosure statement shall not be construed to be an admission that the information cited in the statement is, or is considered to be, material to patentability as defined in 37 CFR 1.56(b). 37 CFR 1.97(h). See MPEP 2129 regarding admissions by applicant.

In order to have information considered by the Office during the pendency of a patent application, an information disclosure statement must be (1) in compliance with the content requirements of 37 CFR 1.98, and (2) filed in accordance with the procedural requirements of 37 CFR 1.97. The requirements as to content are discussed in MPEP § 609.04(a). The requirements based on the time of filing the statement are discussed in MPEP § 609.04(b). Examiner handling of information disclosure statements is discussed in MPEP § 609.05. For discussion of IDS filed electronically (e-IDS) via the Office’s Electronic Filing System (EFS), see MPEP § 609.07. For discussion of electronic processing of IDS, see MPEP § 609.08.

Once the minimum requirements of 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98 are met, the examiner has an obligation to consider the information. There is no requirement that the information must be prior art references in order to be considered by the examiner. Consideration by the examiner of the information submitted in an IDS means nothing more than considering the documents in the same manner as other documents in Office search files are considered by the examiner while conducting a search of the prior art in a proper field of search. The initials of the examiner placed adjacent to the citations mean that the information has been considered by the examiner to the extent noted above. Information submitted to the Office that does not comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98 will not be considered by the Office but will be placed in the application file.

Multiple information disclosure statements may be filed in a single application, and they will be considered, provided each is in compliance with the appropriate requirements of 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98.

609.01 Examiner Checklist for Information Disclosure Statements[edit | edit source]

Examiners must check to see if an information disclosure statement (IDS) complies with:

(A) All the time-related requirements of 37 CFR 1.97, which are based on the time of the filing of the IDS. See MPEP § 609.04(b) for more information.

Time when IDS is filed 37 CFR 1.97 Requirements
(1)(a) for national applications (not including CPAs), within 3 months of filing or before first Office action on the merits, whichever is later; (b) for national stage applications, within 3 months of entry into national stage or before first Office action on the merits, whichever is later; (c) for RCEs and CPAs before the first Office action on the merits. None
(2) After (1) but before final action, notice of allowance, or Quayle action 1.97(e) statement or 1.17(p) fee.
(3) After (2) and before (or with) payment of issue fee. 1.97(e) statement, and 1.17(p) fee.
(4) After payment of issue fee. IDS will not be considered.

(B) All content requirements of 37 CFR 1.98. See MPEP § 609.04(a) for more information.

(1) Requirements for the IDS listing:

(a) A separate section for citations of U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications;

(b) The application number of the application in which the IDS is being submitted on each page of the listing, if known;

(c) A column that provides a blank space next to each citation for the examiner’s initials when the examiner considers the cited document; and

(d) A heading on the listing that clearly indicates that the list is an Information Disclosure Statement;

(e) Proper identification of all cited references:

(i) U.S. patents cited by patent number, issue date and inventor(s);

(ii) U.S. patent application publications cited by publication number, publication date and inventor(s);

(iii) Pending U.S. applications cited by application number, filing date and inventor(s);

(iv) Foreign patent documents cited by document number (including kind code), country and publication or issue date; and

(v) Non-patent literature cited by publisher, author (if any), title, relevant pages, and date and place of publication.

(2) The requirement of copies for:

(a) Each cited foreign patent document;

(b) Each cited non-patent literature publication, or the portion therein which caused it to be listed;

(c) Each cited U.S. pending application that is not stored in IFW;

(d) All information cited (e.g., an affidavit or Office action), other than the specification, including claims and drawings, of a pending U.S. application; and

(e) All other cited information or the portion which caused it to be listed.

(3) For non-English documents that are cited, the following must be provided:

(a) A concise explanation of the relevance, as it is presently understood by the individual designated in 37 CFR 1.56(c) most knowledgeable about the content of the information, unless a complete translation is provided; and/or

(b) A written English language translation of a non-English language document, or portion thereof, if it is within the possession, custody or control of, or is readily available to any individual designated in 37 CFR 1.56(c).

After the examiner reviews the IDS for compliance with 37 CFR 1.97 and 1.98, the examiner should: (See MPEP § 609.05).

(A) Consider the information properly submitted in an IDS in the same manner that the examiner considers other documents in Office search files while conducting a search of the prior art in a proper field of search.

(1) For e-IDS, use the e-IDS icon on examiner's workstation to consider cited U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications. See MPEP § 609.07 for more information on e-IDS.

(2) Initial the blank column next to the citation to indicate that the information has been considered by the examiner.

(B) Draw a line through the citation to show that it has not been considered if the citation fails to comply with all the requirements of 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98. - The examiner should inform applicant the reasons why a citation was not considered.

(C) Write “not considered” on an information disclosure statement if none of the information listed complies with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98. - The examiner will inform applicant the reasons why the IDS was not considered by using form paragraphs 6.49 through 6.49.09.

(D) Sign and date the bottom of the IDS listing.

(E) Ensure that a copy of the IDS listing that is signed and dated by the examiner is entered into the file and mailed to applicant.

For discussion of electronic processing of IDS, see [[MPEP_609#609.08_Electronic_Processing_of_Information_Disclosure_Statement|MPEP § 609.08.

609.02 Information Disclosure Statements in Continued Examinations or Continuing Applications[edit | edit source]

When filing a continuing application that claims benefit under 35 U.S.C. 120 to a parent application (other than an international application that designated the U.S.), it will not be necessary for the applicant to submit an information disclosure statement in the continuing application that lists the prior art cited by the examiner in the parent application unless the applicant desires the information to be printed on the patent issuing from the continuing application (for continued prosecution applications filed under 37 CFR 1.53(d), see subsection A.1. below). The examiner of the continuing application will consider information which has been considered by the Office in the parent application.

When filing a continuing application that claims benefit under 35 U.S.C. 120 to an international application that designated the U.S. (see MPEP § 1895), it will be necessary for the applicant to submit an information disclosure statement complying with 37 CFR 1.97 and 1.98 in the continuing application listing the documents cited in the international search report and/ or the international preliminary examination report of the international application if applicant wishes to ensure that the information be considered by the examiner in the continuing application.

IDS IN CONTINUED EXAMINATIONS OR CONTINUING APPLICATIONS

A. IDS That Has Been Considered (1) in the Parent Application, or (2) Prior to the Filing of a Request for Continued Examination (RCE)

1. Continued Prosecution Applications (CPAs) Filed Under 37 CFR 1.53(d)

Information which has been considered by the Office in the parent application of a continued prosecution application (CPA) filed under 37 CFR 1.53(d) will be part of the file before the examiner and need not be resubmitted in the continuing application to have the information considered and listed on the patent.

2. Continuation Applications, Divisional Applications, or Continuation-in-Part Applications Filed Under 37 CFR 1.53(b)

The examiner will consider information which has been considered by the Office in a parent application when examining: (A) a continuation application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b), (B) a divisional application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b), or (C) a continuation-in- part application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b). A listing of the information need not be resubmitted in the continuing application unless the applicant desires the information to be printed on the patent.

If resubmitting a listing of the information, applicant should submit a new listing that complies with the format requirements in 37 CFR 1.98(a)(1). Applicants are strongly discouraged from submitting a list that includes copies of PTO/SB/08 or PTO- 892 forms from other applications. A completed PTO/ SB/08 form from another application may already have initials of an examiner and the application number of another application. This information will likely confuse the record. Furthermore, when the spaces provided on the form have initials of an examiner, there are no spaces available next to the documents listed for the examiner of the subsequent application to provide his or her initials, and the previously relevant initials may be erroneously construed as being applied for the current application.

3. Requests for Continued Examination (RCE) Under 37 CFR 1.114

Information which has been considered by the Office in the application before the filing of a RCE will be part of the file before the examiner and need not be resubmitted to have the information considered by the examiner and listed on the patent.

B. IDS That Has Not Been Considered (1) in the Parent Application, or (2) Prior to the Filing of a Request for Continued Examination

1. Continued Prosecution Applications Filed Under 37 CFR 1.53(d)

Information filed in the parent application that complies with the content requirements of 37 CFR 1.98 will be considered by the examiner in the CPA. No specific request from the applicant that the previously submitted information be considered by the examiner is required.

2. Continuation Applications, Divisional Applications, or Continuation-In-Part Applications Filed Under 37 CFR 1.53(b)

For these types of applications, in order to ensure consideration of information previously submitted, but not considered, in a parent application, applicant must resubmit the information in the continuing application in compliance with 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98. Pursuant to 37 CFR 1.98(d), if the IDS submitted in the parent application complies with 37 CFR 1.98(a) to (c), copies of the patents, publications, pending U.S. applications, or other information submitted in the parent application need not be resubmitted in the continuing application.

When resubmitting a listing of the information, applicant should submit a new listing that complies with the format requirements in 37 CFR 1.98(a)(1). Applicants are strongly discouraged from submitting a list that includes copies of PTO/SB/08 or PTO- 892 forms from other applications. A PTO/SB/08 form from another application may already have the application number of another application. This information will likely confuse the record.

3. Requests for Continued Examination Under 37 CFR 1.114

Information filed in the application in compliance with the content requirements of 37 CFR 1.98 before the filing of a RCE will be considered by the examiner after the filing of the RCE. For example, an applicant filed an IDS in compliance with 37 CFR 1.98after the mailing of a final Office action, but the IDS did not comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.97(d)(1) and (d)(2) and therefore, the IDS was not considered by the examiner. After applicant files a RCE, the examiner will consider the IDS filed prior to the filing of the RCE. For more details on RCE, see MPEP § 706.07(h).

609.03 Information Disclosure Statements in National Stage Applications[edit | edit source]

The examiner will consider the documents cited in the international search report in a PCT national stage application when the Form PCT/DO/EO/903 indicates that both the international search report and the copies of the documents are present in the national stage file. In such a case, the examiner should consider the documents from the international search report and indicate by a statement in the first Office action that the information has been considered. There is no requirement that the examiner list the documents on a PTO- 892 form.

609.04(a) Content Requirements for an Information Disclosure Statement[edit | edit source]

An information disclosure statement (IDS) must comply with the provisions of 37 CFR 1.98 as to content for the information listed in the IDS to be considered by the Office. Each information disclosure statement must comply with the applicable provisions of subsection I., II., and III. below.

I. LIST OF ALL PATENTS, PUBLICATIONS, U.S. APPLICATIONS, OR OTHER INFORMATION

Each information disclosure statement must include a list of all patents, publications, U.S. applications, or other information submitted for consideration by the Office.

37 CFR 1.98(a)(1) requires the following format for an IDS listing:

(A) a specified format/identification for each page of an IDS, and that U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications be listed in a section separately from citations of other documents;

(B) a column that provides a space next to each document listed to permit the examiner’s initials; and

(C) a heading that identifies the list as an IDS.

37 CFR 1.98(a)(1) specifically requires that U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications be listed separately from the citations of other documents. The separation of citations will permit the Office to obtain the U.S. patent numbers and the U.S. patent application publication numbers by optical character recognition (OCR) from the scanned documents such that the documents can be made available electronically to the examiner to facilitate searching and retrieval of the cited U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications from the Office’s search databases. Applicants will comply with this requirement if they use forms PTO/SB/08A and 08B , which provide a separate section for listing U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications. Applicants who do not use these forms for submitting an IDS must make sure that the U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications are listed in a separate section from citations of other documents.

37 CFR 1.98(a)(1) also requires that each page of the list must clearly identify the application number of the application in which the IDS is being submitted, if known. In the past, the Office has experienced problems associated with lists that do not properly identify the application in which the IDS is being submitted (e.g., when applicants submit a list that includes copies of PTO/SB/08 or PTO-892 forms from other applications). Even though the IDS transmittal letter had the proper application number, each page of the list did not include the proper application number, but instead had the application numbers of the other applications. If the pages of the list became separated, the Office could not associate the pages with the proper application.

In addition, 37 CFR 1.98(a)(1) requires that the list must include a column that provides a space next to each document listed in order to permit the examiner to enter his or her initials next to the citations of the documents that have been considered by the examiner. This provides a notification to the applicant and a clear record in the application to indicate which documents have been considered by the examiner in the application. Applicants are strongly discouraged from submitting a list that includes copies of PTO/SB/08 or PTO-892 forms from other applications. A completed PTO/SB/08 form from another application may already have initials of an examiner and the application number of another application. This information will likely confuse the record. Furthermore, when the spaces provided on the form have initials of an examiner, there are no spaces available next to the documents listed for the examiner of the subsequent application to provide his or her initials, and the previously relevant initials may be erroneously construed as being applied for the current application.

37 CFR 1.98(a)(1) also requires that each page of the list include a heading that clearly indicates that the list is an IDS. Since the Office treats an IDS submitted by the applicant differently than information submitted by a third-party (e.g., the Office may discard any non-compliant third-party submission under 37 CFR 1.99), a heading on each page of the list to indicate that the list is an IDS would promote proper treatment of the IDS submitted by the applicant and reduce handling errors.

37 CFR 1.98(b) requires that each item of information in an IDS be identified properly. U.S. patents must be identified by the inventor, patent number, and issue date. U.S. patent application publications must be identified by the applicant, patent application publication number, and publication date. U.S. applications must be identified by the inventor, the eight digit application number (the two digit series code and the six digit serial number), and the filing date. If a U.S. application being listed in an IDS has been issued as a patent or has been published, the applicant should list the patent or application publication in the IDS instead of the application. Each foreign patent or published foreign patent application must be identified by the country or patent office which issued the patent or published the application, an appropriate document number, and the publication date indicated on the patent or published application. Each publication must be identified by publisher, author (if any), title, relevant pages of the publication, and date and place of publication. The date of publication supplied must include at least the month and year of publication, except that the year of publication (without the month) will be accepted if the applicant points out in the information disclosure statement that the year of publication is sufficiently earlier than the effective U.S. filing date and any foreign priority date so that the particular month of publication is not in issue. The place of publication refers to the name of the journal, magazine, or other publication in which the information being submitted was published. Pending U.S. applications that are being cited can be listed under the non-patent literature section or in a new section appropriately labeled.

The list of information complying with the format requirements of 37 CFR 1.98(a)(1) and the identification requirements of 37 CFR 1.98(b) may not be incorporated into the specification of the application in which it is being supplied, but must be submitted in a separate paper. A separate list is required so that it is easy to confirm that applicant intends to submit an information disclosure statement and because it provides a readily available checklist for the examiner to indicate which identified documents have been considered. A separate list will also provide a simple means of communication to applicant to indicate the listed documents that have been considered and those listed documents that have not been considered. Use of form PTO/SB/08A and 08B, Information Disclosure Statement, to list the documents is encouraged.

II. LEGIBLE COPIES

In addition to the list of information, each information disclosure statement must also include a legible copy of:

(A) Each foreign patent document;

(B) Each publication or that portion which caused it to be listed;

(C) For each cited pending unpublished U.S. application, the application specification including the claims, and any drawings of the application, or that portion of the application which caused it to be listed including any claims directed to that portion, unless the cited pending U.S. application is stored in the Image File Wrapper (IFW) system. The requirement in 37 CFR 1.98(a)(2)(iii) for a legible copy of the specification, including the claims, and drawings of each cited pending U.S. patent application (or portion of the application which caused it to be listed) is sua sponte waived where the cited pending application is stored in the USPTO’s IFW system. See Waiver of the Copy Requirement in 37 CFR 1.98 for Cited Pending U.S. Patent Applications, 1287 O.G. 163 (Oct. 19, 2004); and

(D) All other information or that portion which caused it to be listed.

The requirement for a copy of each U.S. patent or U.S. patent application publication listed in an IDS, has been eliminated, unless required by the Office. 37 CFR 1.98(a)(2).

37 CFR 1.98(a)(2)(iii) requires a copy of a pending U.S. application that is being cited in an IDS if (A) the cited information is not part of the specification, including the claims, and the drawings (e.g., an Office Action, remarks in an amendment paper, etc.), or (B) the cited application is not stored in the USPTO’s IFW system. The requirement in 37 CFR 1.98(a)(2)(iii) for a legible copy of the specification, including the claims, and drawings of each cited pending U.S. patent application (or portion of the application which caused it to be listed) is sua spontewaived where the cited pending application is stored in the USPTO’s IFW system. A pending U.S. application only identified in the specification’s background information rather than being cited separately on an IDS listing is not part of an IDS submission. Therefore, the requirements of 37 CFR 1.98(a)(2)(iii) of supplying a copy of the pending application is not applicable. Pursuant to 37 CFR 1.98(a)(2)(iii), applicant may choose to cite only a portion of a pending application including any claims directed to that portion rather than the entire application.

There are exceptions to this requirement that a copy of the information must be provided. First, 37 CFR 1.98(d) states that a copy of any patent, publication, pending U.S. application, or other information listed in an information disclosure statement is not required to be provided if: (A) the information was previously cited by or submitted to, the Office in a prior application, provided that the prior application is properly identified in the IDS and is relied on for an earlier filing date under 35 U.S.C. 120; and (B) the IDS submitted in the earlier application complies with 37 CFR 1.98(a)-(c). If both of these conditions are met, the examiner will consider the information previously cited or submitted to the Office and considered by the Office in a prior application relied on under 35 U.S.C. 120. This exception to the requirement for copies of information does not apply to information which was cited in an international application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty. If the information cited or submitted in the prior application was not in English, a concise explanation of the relevance of the information to the new application is not required unless the relevance of the information differs from its relevance as explained in the prior application. See subsection III. below.

Second, 37 CFR 1.98(c) states that when the disclosures of two or more patents or publications listed in an information disclosure statement are substantively cumulative, a copy of one of the patents or publications may be submitted without copies of the other patents or publications provided that a statement is made that these other patents or publications are cumulative. The examiner will then consider only the patent or publication of which a copy is submitted and will so indicate on the list, form PTO/SB/08A and 08B, submitted, e.g., by crossing out the listing of the cumulative information. But see Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 204 F.3d 1368, 1374, 54 USPQ2d 1001, 1005 (Fed. Cir. 2000) (Reference was not cumulative since it contained a more complete combination of the claimed elements than any other reference before the examiner. “A withheld reference may be highly material when it discloses a more complete combination of relevant features, even if those features are before the patent examiner in other references.” (citations omitted).).

37 CFR 1.98(a)(3)(ii) states that if a written English language translation of a non-English language document, or portion thereof, is within the possession, custody or control of, or is readily available to any individual designated in 37 CFR 1.56(c), a copy of the translation shall accompany the statement. Translations are not required to be filed unless they have been reduced to writing and are actually translations of what is contained in the non-English language information. If no translation is submitted, the examiner will consider the information in view of the concise explanation and insofar as it is understood on its face, e.g., drawings, chemical formulas, English language abstracts, in the same manner that non-English language information in Office search files is considered by examiners in conducting searches.

Electronic means or medium for filing IDSs are not permitted except for: (A) citations to U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications in an IDS filed via the Office’s Electronic Filing System (EFS) (see MPEP § 609.07); or (B) a compact disc (CD) that has tables, sequence listings, or program listings included in a paper IDS in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52(e). A CD cannot be used to submit an IDS listing or copies of the documents cited in the IDS.

III. CONCISE EXPLANATION OF RELEVANCE FOR NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE INFORMATION

Each information disclosure statement must further include a concise explanation of the relevance, as it is presently understood by the individual designated in 37 CFR 1.56(c) most knowledgeable about the content of the information listed that is not in the English language. The concise explanation may be either separate from the specification or part of the specification. If the concise explanation is part of the specification, the IDS listing should include the page(s) or line(s) numbers where the concise explanation is located in the specification.

The requirement for a concise explanation of relevance is limited to information that is not in the English language. The explanation required is limited to the relevance as understood by the individual designated in 37 CFR 1.56(c) most knowledgeable about the content of the information at the time the information is submitted to the Office. If a complete translation of the information into English is submitted with the non-English language information, no concise explanation is required. An English-language equivalent application may be submitted to fulfill this requirement if it is, in fact, a translation of a foreign language application being listed in an information disclosure statement. There is no requirement for the translation to be verified. Submission of an English language abstract of a reference may fulfill the requirement for a concise explanation. Where the information listed is not in the English language, but was cited in a search report or other action by a foreign patent office in a counterpart foreign application, the requirement for a concise explanation of relevance can be satisfied by submitting an English-language version of the search report or action which indicates the degree of relevance found by the foreign office. This may be an explanation of which portion of the reference is particularly relevant, to which claims it applies, or merely an “X”, “Y”, or “A” indication on a search report. The requirement for a concise explanation of non-English language information would not be satisfied by a statement that a reference was cited in the prosecution of a United States application which is not relied on under 35 U.S.C. 120.

If information cited or submitted in a prior application relied on under 35 U.S.C. 120 was not in English, a concise explanation of the relevance of the information to the new application is not required unless the relevance of the information differs from its relevance as explained in the prior application.

The concise explanation may indicate that a particular figure or paragraph of the patent or publication is relevant to the claimed invention. It might be a simple statement pointing to similarities between the item of information and the claimed invention. It is permissible but not necessary to discuss differences between the cited information and the claims. However, see Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 204 F.3d 1368, 1376, 54 USPQ2d 1001, 1007 (Fed. Cir. 2000) (“[A]lthough MPEP Section 609A(3) allows the applicant some discretion in the manner in which it phrases its concise explanation, it nowhere authorizes the applicant to intentionally omit altogether key teachings of the reference.”).

In Semiconductor Energy Laboratory, patentee during prosecution submitted an untranslated 29-page Japanese reference as well as a concise explanation of its relevance and an existing one-page partial English translation, both of which were directed to less material portions of the reference. The untranslated portions of the Japanese reference “contained a more complete combination of the elements claimed [in the patent] than anything else before the PTO.” 204 F.3d at 1376, 54 USPQ2d at 1005. The patentee, whose native language was Japanese, was held to have understood the materiality of the reference. “The duty of candor does not require that the applicant translate every foreign reference, but only that the applicant refrain from submitting partial translations and concise explanations that it knows will misdirect the examiner’s attention from the reference’s relevant teaching.” 204 F.3d at 1378, 54 USPQ2d at 1008.

Although a concise explanation of the relevance of the information is not required for English language information, applicants are encouraged to provide a concise explanation of why the English-language information is being submitted and how it is understood to be relevant. Concise explanations (especially those which point out the relevant pages and lines) are helpful to the Office, particularly where documents are lengthy and complex and applicant is aware of a section that is highly relevant to patentability or where a large number of documents are submitted and applicant is aware that one or more are highly relevant to patentability.

609.04(b) Timing Requirements for an Information Disclosure Statement[edit | edit source]

The procedures and requirements under 37 CFR 1.97 for submitting an information disclosure statement are linked to four stages in the processing of a patent application:

(1)(a) for national applications (not including CPAs), within 3 months of filing, or before the mailing of a first Office action on the merits, whichever is later;

(b)for international applications, within 3 months of the date of entry of the national stage as set forth in 37 CFR 1.491 or before the mailing of a first Office action on the merits in the national stage application, whichever is later;

(c)for continued examinations (i.e., RCEs filed under 37 CFR 1.114) and CPAs filed under 37 CFR 1.53(d), before the mailing of a first Office action on the merits;

(2)after the period in (1), but prior to the prosecution of the application closes, i.e., before the mailing of a final Office action, a Notice of Allowance, or an Ex parte Quayle action, whichever is earlier;

(3)after the period in (2) but on or before the date the issue fee is paid; and

(4)after the period in (3) and up to the time the patent application can be effectively withdrawn from issue under 37 CFR 1.313(c).

These procedures and requirements apply to applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) (utility), 161 (plants), 171 (designs), and 251 (reissue), as well as international applications entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371.

The requirements based on the time when the information disclosure statement is filed are summarized in MPEP § 609.01.

I. INFORMATION DISCLOSURE STATEMENT FILED BEFORE FIRST ACTION ON THE MERITS OR WITHIN THREE (3) MONTHS OF ACTUAL FILING DATE (37 CFR 1.97(b))

An information disclosure statement will be considered by the examiner if filed within any one of the following time periods:

(A)for national applications (not including CPAs), within 3 months of the filing date of the national application or before the mailing date of a first Office action on the merits;

(B)for international applications, within 3 months of the date of entry of the national stage as set forth in 37 CFR 1.491 or before the mailing date of a first Office action on the merits; or

(C)for RCEs and CPAs, before the mailing date of a first Office action on the merits.

An information disclosure statement filed within one of these periods requires neither a fee nor a statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e). An information disclosure statement will be considered to have been filed on the day it was received in the Office, or on an earlier date of mailing if accompanied by a properly executed certificate of mailing or facsimile transmission under 37 CFR 1.8, or if it is in compliance with the provisions of “Express Mail” delivery under 37 CFR 1.10. If the last day of the three months period set forth in 37 CFR 1.97(b)(1) and (b)(2) falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a Federal holiday within the District of Columbia, the IDS will be considered timely if filed on the next succeeding business day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or a Federal holiday. See 37 CFR 1.7(a). An Office action is mailed on the date indicated in the Office action.

It would not be proper to make final a first Office action in a continuing application or in an application after the filing of a RCE if the information submitted in the IDS during the time period set forth in 37 CFR 1.97(b) is used in a new ground of rejection.

A. National or International Applications

The term “national application” includes continuing applications (continuations, divisions, and continuations- in-part but not CPAs), so 3 months will be measured from the actual filing date of an application as opposed to the effective filing date of a continuing application. For international applications, the 3 months will be measured from the date of entry of the national stage.

All information disclosure statements that comply with the content requirements of 37 CFR 1.98 and are filed within 3 months of the filing date, will be considered by the examiner, regardless of whatever else has occurred in the examination process up to that point in time. Thus, in the rare instance that a final Office action, a notice of allowance, or an Ex parte Quayle action is mailed prior to a date which is 3 months from the filing date, any information contained in a complete information disclosure statement filed within that 3-month window will be considered by the examiner.

Likewise, an information disclosure statement will be considered if it is filed later than 3 months after the application filing date but before the mailing date of a first Office action on the merits. An action on the merits means an action which treats the patentability of the claims in an application, as opposed to only formal or procedural requirements. An action on the merits would, for example, contain a rejection or indication of allowability of a claim or claims rather than just a restriction requirement (37 CFR 1.142) or just a requirement for additional fees to have a claim considered (37 CFR 1.16). Thus, if an application was filed on January 2 and the first Office action on the merits was not mailed until 6 months later on July 2, the examiner would be required to consider any proper information disclosure statement filed prior to July 2.

B. RCE and CPA

The 3-month window as discussed above does not apply to a RCE filed under 37 CFR 1.114 or a CPA filed under 37 CFR 1.53(d) (effective July 14, 2003, CPAs are only available for design applications). An IDS filed after the filing of a RCE will be considered if the IDS is filed before the mailing date of a first Office action on the merits. A RCE is not the filing of an application, but merely the continuation of prosecution in the current application. After the mailing of a RCE, such application is treated as an amended application by the examiner and is subject to a short turnover time. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to file any IDS with the filing of a RCE. See MPEP § 706.07(h) for details on RCEs.

Similarly, an IDS filed in a CPA will be considered if the IDS is filed before the mailing date of a first Office action on the merits. Applicants are encouraged to file any IDS in a CPA as early as possible, preferably at the time of filing of the CPA request.

If an IDS cannot be filed before the mailing of a first Office action on the merits (generally within 2 months from the filing of the RCE or CPA), applicants may request a 3-month suspension of action under 37 CFR 1.103(c) in an application at the time of filing of the RCE, or under 37 CFR 1.103(b) in a CPA, at the time of filing of the CPA. Where an IDS is mailed to the Office shortly before the expiration of a 3-month suspension under 37 CFR 1.103(b) or (c), applicant is requested to make a courtesy call to notify the examiner as to the IDS submission.

II. INFORMATION DISCLOSURE FILED AFTER I. ABOVE BUT BEFORE MAILING OF FINAL ACTION, NOTICE OF ALLOWANCE, OR AN EX PARTE QUAYLE ACTION (37 CFR 1.97(c))

An information disclosure statement will be considered by the examiner if filed after the period specified in subsection I. above, but prior to the date the prosecution of the application closes, i.e., before (not on the same day as the mailing date of any of the following:

a final action under 37 CFR 1.113, e.g., final rejection;

a notice of allowance under 37 CFR 1.311; or

an action that closes prosecution in the application, e.g., an Ex parte Quayle action,

whichever occurs first, provided the information disclosure statement is accompanied by either (1) a statement as specified in 37 CFR 1.97(e) (see the discussion in subsection III.B(5) below); or (2) the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(p). If a final action, notice of allowance, or an Ex parte Quayle action is mailed in an application and later withdrawn, the application will be considered as not having had a final action, notice of allowance, or an Ex parte Quayle action mailed for purposes of considering an information disclosure statement.

An Ex parte Quayle action is an action that closes the prosecution in the application as referred to in 37 CFR 1.97(c). Therefore, an information disclosure statement filed after an Ex parte Quayle action, must comply with the provisions of 37 CFR 1.97(d).

A.Information is Used in a New Ground of Rejection

1.Final Rejection is Not Appropriate

If information submitted during the period set forth in 37 CFR 1.97(c) with a statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e) is used in a new ground of rejection on unamended claims, the next Office action will not be made final since in this situation it is clear that applicant has submitted the information to the Office promptly after it has become known and the information is being submitted prior to a final determination on patentability by the Office.

2.Final Rejection Is Appropriate

The information submitted with a statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e) can be used in a new ground of rejection and the next Office action can be made final, if the new ground of rejection was necessitated by amendment of the application by applicant. Where the information is submitted during this period with a fee as set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(p), the examiner may use the information submitted, and make the next Office action final whether or not the claims have been amended, provided that no other new ground of rejection which was not necessitated by amendment to the claims is introduced by the examiner. See MPEP § 706.07(a).

III.INFORMATION DISCLOSURE STATEMENT FILED AFTER II. ABOVE BUT PRIOR TO PAYMENT OF ISSUE FEE (37 CFR 1.97(d))

An information disclosure statement will be considered by the examiner if filed on or after the mailing date of any of the following: a final action under 37 CFR 1.113; a notice of allowance under 37 CFR 1.311; or an action that closes prosecution in the application, e.g., an Ex parte Quayle action, but before or simultaneous with payment of the issue fee, provided the statement is accompanied by:

(A)a statement as specified in 37 CFR 1.97(e) (see the discussion in subsection V; and

(B)the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(p).

These requirements are appropriate in view of the late stage of prosecution when the information is being submitted, i.e., after the examiner has reached a final determination on the patentability of the claims presented for examination. Payment of the fee (37 CFR 1.17(p)) and submission of the appropriate statement (37 CFR 1.97(e)) are the essential elements for having information considered at this advanced stage of prosecution, assuming the content requirements of 37 CFR 1.98 are satisfied.

The requirements of 37 CFR 1.97 provide for consideration by the Office of information which is submitted within a reasonable time, i.e., within 3 months after an individual designated in 37 CFR 1.56(c) becomes aware of the information or within 3 months of the information being cited in a communication from a foreign patent office in a counterpart foreign application. This undertaking by the Office to consider information would be available throughout the pendency of the application until the point where the patent issue fee was paid.

If an applicant chose not to comply, or could not comply, with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.97(d), the applicant may file a RCE under 37 CFR 1.114, or a continuing application under 37 CFR 1.53(b) (or 37 CFR 1.53(d) if the application is a design application) to have the information considered by the examiner. If the applicant files a continuing application under 37 CFR 1.53(b), the parent application could be permitted to become abandoned by not paying the issue fee required in the Notice of Allowance. If the prior application is a design application, the filing of a continued prosecution application under 37 CFR 1.53(d) automatically abandons the prior application. See the discussion in MPEP § 609.02.

IV.INFORMATION DISCLOSURE STATEMENT FILED AFTER PAYMENT OF ISSUE FEE

After the issue fee has been paid on an application, it is impractical for the Office to attempt to consider newly submitted information. Information disclosure statements filed after payment of the issue fee in an application will not be considered but will merely be placed in the application file. See MPEP § 609.05(b). The application may be withdrawn from issue at this point, pursuant to 37 CFR 1.313(c)(2) or 1.313(c)(3) so that the information can be considered in the application upon the filing of a RCE under 37 CFR 1.114or in a continuing application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b) (or 37 CFR 1.53(d) if the application is a design application). In this situation, a RCE, or a CPA (if the prior application is a design application), or a continuing application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b) could be filed even though the issue fee had already been paid. See MPEP § 1308. Applicants are encouraged to file the petition under 37 CFR 1.313(c)(2) with a RCE, or the petition under 37 CFR 1.313(c)(3) with a CPA or continuing application under 37 CFR 1.53(b), by facsimile transmission to the Office of Petitions (see MPEP § 502.01, subsection I.B. and § 1730 for the facsimile number). Alternatively, petitions to withdraw from issue may be hand-carried to the Office of Petitions (see MPEP § 502). The Office cannot ensure that any petition under 37 CFR 1.313(c) will be acted upon prior to the date of patent grant. Applicants considering filing a petition under 37 CFR 1.313(c) are encouraged to call the Office of Petitions to determine whether sufficient time remains before the patent issue date to consider and grant a petition under 37 CFR 1.313(c). The petition need not be accompanied by the information disclosure statement if the size of the statement makes its submission by facsimile impracticable, but the petition should indicate that an IDS will be filed in the application or in the continuing application if it does not accompany the petition under 37 CFR 1.313(c). The IDS should be filed before the mailing of a first Office action on the merits. If the IDS cannot be filed within this time period, applicants may request a three-month suspension of action under 37 CFR 1.103 at the time of filing of the RCE or CPA. See the discussion above in paragraph I.B.

Alternatively, for example, a petition pursuant to 37 CFR 1.313(c)(1) could be filed if applicant states that one or more claims are unpatentable. This statement that one or more claims are unpatentable over the information must be unequivocal. A statement that a serious question as to patentability of a claim has been raised, for example, would not be acceptable to withdraw an application from issue under 37 CFR 1.313(c)(1).

If an application has been withdrawn from issue under one of the provisions of 37 CFR 1.313(c)(1)- (3), it will be treated as though no notice of allowance had been mailed and the issue fee had not yet been paid with regard to the time for filing information disclosure statements. Petitions under 37 CFR 1.313(c) should be directed to the Office of Petitions in the Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy. See MPEP § 1308.

V.STATEMENT UNDER 37 CFR 1.97(e)

A statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e) must state either

(1)that each item of information contained in the information disclosure statement was first cited in any communication from a foreign patent office in a counterpart foreign application not more than three months prior to the filing of the statement, or

(2)that no item of information contained in the information disclosure statement was cited in a communication from a foreign patent office in a counterpart foreign application, and, to the knowledge of the person signing the statement after making reasonable inquiry, no item of information contained in the information disclosure statement was known to any individual designated in 37 CFR 1.56(c) more than three months prior to the filing of the statement.

A statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e) can contain either of two statements. One statement is that each item of information in an information disclosure statement was first cited in any communication, such as a search report, from a patent office outside the U.S. in a counterpart foreign application not more than 3 months prior to the filing date of the statement. Applicant would not be able to make a statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e) where an item of information was first cited by a foreign patent office, for example, a year before the filing of the IDS, in a communication from that foreign patent office, and the same item of information is once again cited by another foreign patent office within three months prior to the filing of the IDS in the Office. Similarly, applicant would not be able to make a statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e) where an item of information was cited in an examination report and the same item of information was previously cited more than three months prior to the filing of the IDS in the Office, in a search report from the same foreign patent office. Under this statement, it does not matter whether any individual with a duty of disclosure actually knew about any of the information cited before receiving the search report.

The date on the communication by the foreign patent office begins the 3-month period in the same manner as the mailing of an Office action starts a 3- month shortened statutory period for reply. If the communication contains two dates, the mailing date of the communication is the one which begins the 3- month period. The date which begins the 3-month period is not the date the communication was received by a foreign associate or the date it was received by a U.S. registered practitioner. Likewise, the statement will be considered to have been filed on the date the statement was received in the Office, or on an earlier date of mailing or transmission if accompanied by a properly executed certificate of mailing or facsimile transmission under 37 CFR 1.8, or if it is in compliance with the provisions for “Express Mail” delivery under 37 CFR 1.10.

The term counterpart foreign patent application means that a claim for priority has been made in either the U.S. application or a foreign application based on the other, or that the disclosures of the U.S. and foreign patent applications are substantively identical (e.g., an application filed in the European Patent Office claiming the same U.K. priority as claimed in the U.S. application).

Communications from foreign patent offices in foreign applications sometimes include a list of the family of patents corresponding to a particular patent being cited in the communication. The family of patents may include a United States patent or other patent in the English language. Some applicants submit information disclosure statements to the PTO which list and include copies of both the particular patent cited in the foreign patent office communication and the related United States or other English language patent from the family list. Since this is to be encouraged, the United States or other English language patent will be construed as being cited by the foreign patent office for purposes of a statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e)(1). The examiner should consider the United States or other English language patent if 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98 are complied with.

If an information disclosure statement includes a copy of a dated communication from a foreign patent office which clearly shows that the statement is being submitted within 3 months of the date on the communication, the copy of the dated communication from the foreign patent office by itself will not be accepted as the required statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e)(1) since it would not be clear from the dated communication whether the information in the IDS was “first cited” in any communication from a foreign patent office not more than 3 months prior to the filing of the IDS as required by 37 CFR 1.97(e)(1).

In the alternative, a statement can be made if no item of information contained in the information disclosure statement was cited in a communication from a foreign patent office in a counterpart foreign application and, to the knowledge of the person signing the statement after making reasonable inquiry, neither was it known to any individual having a duty to disclose more than 3 months prior to the filing of the statement. If an inventor of the U.S. application is also a named inventor of one of the items of information contained in the IDS, the 37 CFR 1.97(e)(2) statement cannot be made for that particular item of information, and if made, will not be accepted.

The phrase “after making reasonable inquiry” makes it clear that the individual making the statement has a duty to make reasonable inquiry regarding the facts that are being stated. The statement can be made by a registered practitioner who represents a foreign client and who relies on statements made by the foreign client as to the date the information first became known. A registered practitioner who receives information from a client without being informed whether the information was known for more than 3 months, however, cannot make the statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e)(2) without making reasonable inquiry. For example, if an inventor gave a publication to the attorney prosecuting an application with the intent that it be cited to the Office, the attorney should inquire as to when that inventor became aware of the publication and should not submit a statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e)(2) to the Office until a satisfactory response is received. The statement can be based on present, good faith knowledge about when information became known without a search of files being made.

A statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e) need not be in the form of an oath or a declaration under 37 CFR 1.68. A statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e) by a registered practitioner or any other individual that the statement was filed within the 3-month period of either first citation by a foreign patent office or first discovery of the information will be accepted as dispositive of compliance with this provision in the absence of evidence to the contrary. For example, a statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e) could read as follows:

I hereby state that each item of information contained in this Information Disclosure Statement was first cited in any communication from a foreign patent office in a counterpart foreign application not more than 3 months prior to the filing of this statement.,

or

I hereby state that no item of information in the Information Disclosure Statement filed herewith was cited in a communication from a foreign patent office in a counterpart foreign application, and, to my knowledge after making reasonable inquiry, no item of information contained in this Information Disclosure Statement was known to any individual designated in 37 CFR 1.56(c) more than 3 months prior to the filing of this Information Disclosure Statement.

An information disclosure statement may include two lists and two statements, similar to the above examples, in situations where some of the information listed was cited in a communication from a foreign patent office not more than 3 months prior to filing the statement and some was not, but was not known more than 3 months prior to filing the statement.

A copy of the foreign search report need not be submitted with the statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e), but an individual may wish to submit an English-language version of the search report to satisfy the requirement for a concise explanation where non- English language information is cited. The time at which information was known to any individual designated in 37 CFR 1.56(c) is the time when the information was discovered in association with the application even if awareness of the materiality came later. The Office wishes to encourage prompt evaluation of the relevance of information and to have a date certain for determining if a statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e) can properly be made. A statement on information and belief would not be sufficient. Examiners should not remind or otherwise make any comment about an individual’s duty of candor and good faith. Questions about the adequacy of any statement received in writing by the Office should be directed to the Office of Patent Legal Administration.

VI.EXTENSIONS OF TIME (37 CFR 1.97(f))

No extensions of time for filing an information disclosure statement are permitted under 37 CFR 1.136(a) or (b). If a bona fide attempt is made to comply with the content requirements of 37 CFR 1.98, but part of the required content is inadvertently omitted, additional time may be given to enable full compliance.

609.05 Examiner Handling of Information Disclosure Statements[edit | edit source]

Information disclosure statements will be reviewed for compliance with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.97and 37 CFR 1.98 as discussed in MPEP § 609.04(a) and § 609.04(b). Applicant will be notified of compliance and noncompliance with the rules as discussed in MPEP § 609.05(a) and § 609.05(b).

609.05(a) Noncomplying Information Disclosure Statements[edit | edit source]

Pursuant to 37 CFR 1.97(i), submitted information, filed before the grant of a patent, which does not comply with 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98 will be placed in the file, but will not be considered by the Office. Information submitted after the grant of a patent must comply with 37 CFR 1.501.

If an information disclosure statement does not comply with the requirements based on the time of filing of the IDS as discussed in MPEP § 609.04(b), including the requirements for fees and/or statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e), the IDS will be placed in the application file, but none of the information will be considered by the examiner. The examiner may use form paragraph 6.49 which is reproduced below to inform applicant that the information has not been considered. Applicant may then file a new information disclosure statement or correct the deficiency in the previously filed IDS, but the date that the new IDS or correction is filed will be the date of the IDS for purposes of determining compliance with the requirements based on the time of filing of the IDS (37 CFR 1.97).

The examiner should write “not considered” on an information disclosure statement where none of the information listed complies with the requirements, e.g., the format requirements of 37 CFR 1.98(a)(1) are not met. For Image File Wrapper (IFW) processing, see IFW Manual. If none of the information listed on a PTO/SB/08A and 08B form is considered, a diagonal line should also be drawn in pencil across the form and the form placed on the right side of the application file to instruct the printer not to list the information on the face of the patent if the application goes to issue. The paper containing the disclosure statement or list will be placed in the record in the application file. The examiner will inform applicant that the information has not been considered and the reasons why by using form paragraphs 6.49 through 6.49.09. If the improper citation appears as part of another paper, e.g., an amendment, which may be properly entered and considered, the portion of the paper which is proper for consideration will be considered.

If an item of information in an IDS fails to comply with all the requirements of 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98, that item of information in the IDS will not be considered and a line should be drawn through the citation to show that it has not been considered. However, other items of information that do comply with all the requirements of 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98will be considered by the examiner.

If information listed in the specification rather than in a separate paper, or if the other content requirements as discussed in MPEP § 609.04(a) are not complied with, the information need not be considered by the examiner, in which case, the examiner should notify applicant in the next Office action that the information has not been considered.

609.05(b) Complying Information Disclosure Statements[edit | edit source]

The information contained in information disclosure statements which comply with both the content requirements of 37 CFR 1.98 and the requirements, based on the time of filing the statement, of 37 CFR 1.97 will be considered by the examiner. Consideration by the examiner of the information submitted in an IDS means that the examiner will consider the documents in the same manner as other documents in Office search files are considered by the examiner while conducting a search of the prior art in a proper field of search. The initials of the examiner placed adjacent to the citations on the PTO/SB/08A and 08B or its equivalent mean that the information has been considered by the examiner to the extent noted above.

Examiners must consider all citations submitted in conformance with the rules, and their initials when placed adjacent to the considered citations on the list or in the boxes provided on a form PTO/SB/08A and 08B provides a clear record of which citations have been considered by the Office. The examiner must also fill in his or her name and the date the information was considered in blocks at the bottom of the PTO/SB/08A and 08B form. For IFW processing, see IFW Manual section 3. If any of the citations are considered, a copy of the submitted list, form PTO/ SB/08A and 08B, as reviewed by the examiner, will be returned to the applicant with the next communication. Those citations not considered by the examiner will have a line drawn through the citation and any citations considered will have the examiner's initials adjacent thereto. The original copy of the list, form PTO/SB/08A and 08B will be entered into the application file. The copy returned to applicant will serve both as acknowledgement of receipt of the information disclosure statement and as an indication as to which references were considered by the examiner. Forms PTO-326 and PTOL-37 include a box to indicate the attachment of form PTO/SB/08A and 08B.

Information which complies with requirements as discussed in this section but which is in a non-English language will be considered in view of the concise explanation submitted (see MPEP § 609.04(a), subsection III.) and insofar as it is understood on its face, e.g., drawings, chemical formulas, in the same manner that non-English language information in Office search files is considered by examiners in conducting searches. The examiner need not have the information translated unless it appears to be necessary to do so. The examiner will indicate that the non-English language information has been considered in the same manner as consideration is indicated for information submitted in English. The examiner should not require that a translation be filed by applicant. The examiner should not make any comment such as that the non-English language information has only been considered to the extent understood, since this fact is inherent. See Semiconductor Energy Laboratory Co. V. Samsung Electronics Co., 204 F.3d 1368, 1377-78, 54 USPQ2d 1001, 1008 (Fed. Cir. 2000) (“[A]s MPEP Section 609C(2) reveals, the examiner’s understanding of a foreign reference is generally limited to that which he or she can glean from the applicant’s concise statement…Consequently, while the examiner’s initials require that we presume that he or she considered the [foreign] reference, this presumption extends only to the examiner’s consideration of the brief translated portion and the concise statement.”).

Since information is required to be submitted in a separate paper listing the citations rather than in the specification, there is no need to mark “All checked” or “Checked” in the margin of a specification containing citations.

If an item of information in an IDS fails to comply with requirements of 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98, a line should be drawn through the citation to show that it has not been considered. The other items of information listed that do comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98 will be considered by the examiner and will be appropriately initialed.

609.05(c) Documents Submitted as Part of Applicant’s Reply to Office Action[edit | edit source]

Occasionally, documents are submitted and relied on by an applicant when replying to an Office action. These documents may be relied on by an applicant, for example, to show that an element recited in the claim is operative or that a term used in the claim has a recognized meaning in the art. Documents may be in any form but are typically in the form of an affidavit, declaration, patent, or printed publication.

To the extent that a document is submitted as evidence directed to an issue of patentability raised in an Office action, and the evidence is timely presented, applicant need not satisfy the requirements of 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98 in order to have the examiner consider the information contained in the document relied on by applicant. In other words, compliance with the information disclosure rules is not a threshold requirement to have information considered when submitted by applicant to support an argument being made in a reply to an Office action. However, consideration by the examiner of the document submitted as evidence directed to an issue of patentability raised in the Office action is limited to the portion of the document relied upon as rebuttal evidence; the entirety of the document may not necessarily be considered by the examiner.

At the same time, the document supplied and relied on by applicant as evidence need not be processed as an item of information that was cited in an information disclosure statement. The record should reflect whether the evidence was considered, but listing on a form (e.g., PTO-892, or PTO/SB/08A and 08B) and appropriate marking of the form by the examiner is not required.

For example, if applicant submits and relies on three patents as evidence in reply to the first Office action and also lists those patents on a PTO/SB/ 08A and 08B along with two journal articles, but does not file a statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e) or the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(p), it would be appropriate for the examiner to indicate that the teachings relied on by applicant in the three patents have been considered, but to line through the citation of all five documents on the PTO/SB/08A and 08B and to inform applicant that the information disclosure statement did not comply with 37 CFR 1.97(c).

609.06 Information Printed on Patent[edit | edit source]

A citation listed on form PTO/SB/08A and 08B and considered by the examiner will be printed on the patent. A citation listed in a separate paper, equivalent to but not on form PTO/SB/08A and 08B, and considered by the examiner will be printed on the patent if the list lends itself to easy capture of the necessary information by the Office printing contractor, i.e., each item of information is listed on a single line, the lines are at least double-spaced from each other, and the information is uniform in format for each listed item. For patents printed after January 1, 2001, citations from information disclosure statements that are printed on the face of the patent will be distinguished from citations cited by the examiner on a form PTO- 892. The citations cited by the examiner on a form PTO-892 will be marked with an asterisk. If an item of information is cited more than once in an IDS and on a form PTO-892, the citation of the item will be listed only once on the patent as a citation cited by the examiner.

If the applicant does not provide classification information for a citation, or if the examiner lines through incorrect classification data, the citation will be printed on the face of the patent without the classification information. If a U.S. patent application number is listed on a PTO/SB/08A and 08B form or its equivalent and the examiner considers the information and initials the form, the application number will be printed on the patent. Applicants may wish to list U.S. patent application numbers on other than a form PTO/SB/08A and 08B format to avoid the application numbers of pending applications being published on the patent. If a citation is not printed on the patent but has been considered by the examiner, the patented file will reflect that fact as noted in MPEP § 609.05(b).

609.07 IDSs Electronically Submitted (e-IDS) Using EFS[edit | edit source]

As of May of 2002 IDSs may be submitted to the Office via the EFS. Applicants can file an e-IDS using the EFS by (A) entering the references’ citation information in an electronic data entry form, equivalent to the paper PTO/SB/08A form, and (B) transmitting the electronic data entry form to the Office. This electronic form allows only citations of U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications. No paper copies of U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications cited in the IDS are required to be submitted by the applicants with the e-IDS. If any references to foreign patent documents or non-patent literature documents (NPLs) or unpublished U.S. patent applications are to be cited, applicants must submit those citations on a separate, conventional paper forms PTO/SB/08A and/or PTO/SB/08B. A legible copy of each cited foreign patent document, NPL, and unpublished U.S. patent application (if the cited application is not stored in IFW or the cited information is not part of the specification, including the claims, and the drawings) must accompany the conventional IDS form and the requirements of 37 CFR 1.97 and 1.98 must be complied with for the IDS to be considered by the Office.

The requirement in 37 CFR 1.98(a)(2)(iii) for a legible copy of the specification, including the claims, and drawings of each cited pending U.S. patent application (or a portion of the application which caused it to be listed) is sua sponte waived where the cited pending application is stored in the Office’s IFW system. See MPEP § 609.04(a), subsection II.

The electronic IDS form may be included with a new EFS electronic application filing, or it may be submitted for previously filed patent applications. An e-IDS contains an electronic list of U.S. patent numbers and U.S. patent application publication numbers. An individual e-IDS may contain a listing of up to 50 U.S. patents and 50 U.S. patent application publications. To file a complete IDS containing more than 50 U.S. patents and/or 50 U.S. patent application publications, applicants are permitted to file more than one e-IDS. Similarly, applicants may file a portion of an IDS using e-IDS and another portion using conventional paper procedures for references that cannot be submitted using e-IDS (e.g., NPLs).

If more than one e-IDS is necessary and/or it is necessary to file the e-IDS with a conventional paper IDS to file a complete IDS for which a fee is required under 37 CFR 1.17(p), only a single fee under 37 CFR 1.17(p) will be required under the following conditions:

(A)the fee required by 37 CFR 1.17(p) is included with the first e-IDS submission (since it will normally be processed first);

(B)all subsequent submissions making up the IDS should explicitly state that the fee was included in the earlier submission and request that the one fee be accepted for the second and any subsequent submission; and

(C)all subsequent submissions (electronic or paper) must be received by the Office on the same date as the first e-IDS submission with which the fee was included.

A subsequent non-electronic submission is considered received by the Office on the same date as the first e-IDS submission with which the fee was included for purposes of the fee due under 37 CFR 1.17(p) if it is deposited in Express Mail under 37 CFR 1.10, deposited in the first class U.S. mail with a certificate of mailing in accordance with 37 CFR 1.8, or transmitted by facsimile with a certificate of transmission in accordance with 37 CFR 1.8, on the same date as the first e-IDS submission with which the fee was included. If a subsequent e-IDS submission is received by the Office on a date later than the date the fee was paid, the later submission will require an additional fee.

A paper copy of the e-IDS form will be placed in paper application files, similar to the PTO/SB/08A, and PTO/SB/08B forms. The e-IDS form has the title “Electronic Information Disclosure Statement” at the top. A copy of the e-IDS form will be scanned to become part of the IFW for IFW applications. In all applications, the e-IDS will be added to the application file contents listing, and to the PALM EXPO database record for the application.

If the e-IDS complies with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.97, examiners must consider the e-IDS and complete the e-IDS form by initialing, signing, and dating the e-IDS form entries. Examiners may notice numbering gaps in the “Citation No.” column on the printed e-IDS form due to an applicant data entry error. This data entry error will not affect the e-IDS and is not a sufficient reason not to consider the e- IDS. A copy of the initialed, signed, and dated e-IDS form must be sent to the applicant. The original completed e-IDS form will be retained in the application file if the application file is maintained in paper. The completed copy of the e-IDS form sent to an applicant in an IFW application should be made of record in the IFW when the copy is sent to the applicant.

An electronic list of all U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications on an e-IDS form is available and accessible from the examiner’s workstation by clicking on the e-IDS icon, on the workstation desktop. Consideration of the e-IDS may not be deferred and an examiner should not require an applicant to submit paper copies of e-IDS references. It is most important that the U.S. patent and U.S. patent application publication numbers listed on the e-IDS be accurate and devoid of transcription error since no copies of the documents listed on the e-IDS are provided in the file wrapper for the examiner to review. Instead the examiner will electronically retrieve the U.S. patents and U.S. patent application publications identified by the cited document numbers. The only mechanism for having the correct document reviewed and considered when an erroneous U.S. patent or U.S. patent application publication is cited in an e-IDS will be by citing the correct citation number in a subsequent IDS that conforms to the requirements of 37 CFR 1.97 and 1.98.

Examiners can copy and paste U.S. patent and U.S. patent application publication numbers from the e- IDS to EAST and/or WEST for searching. For applications maintained in paper, the e-IDS reference listing form has a bar code that corresponds to the U.S. patent numbers and U.S. patent application publication numbers which may be wanded using the Examiner’s bar code reader. Examiners should copy and paste U.S. patent and U.S. patent application publication numbers from the e-IDS to EAST and/or WEST to review the references that are listed in the e-IDS.

The Office’s EFS system starting with version 5.1 released on April 14, 2003, permits applicants and registered practitioners to sign portions of an EFS submission with an electronic signature. The electronic signature is any typed combination of alphanumeric characters. The electronic signature must comply with 37 CFR 1.4(d)(3). The electronic signature may be on EFS transmittal letters, declarations, powers of attorney, fee sheets, and later filed biosequence listings. Accordingly, an e-IDS should not be denied consideration solely because it has an alpha numeric electronic signature if filed on or after April 14, 2003.

If the e-IDS transmittal letter and list of references is missing from an application file, an examiner may request that the technical support staff obtain an additional printed copy of the letter and reference list from the Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE).

609.08 Electronic Processing of Information Disclosure Statement[edit | edit source]

As of January 18, 2006, the Office began electronic processing of the list of citations (e.g., form PTO/SB/ 08) submitted as part of an information disclosure statement (IDS) submitted in applications stored by the Office in image form. Examiners are provided with a tool on their desktop (Annotation Tool deployed as part of eDAN 2.0) to electronically annotate citations and electronically sign the IDS when reviewing the cited references. The electronically processed IDS will be stored in the Office’s official record as an entry in the application’s image file wrapper (IFW) and a copy will be mailed to applicant as part of an Office action. Applicants that receive numerous Office actions may receive some IDS annotated by hand while receiving other IDSs annotated by electronic means for a limited time period.

ELECTRONIC ANNOTATION AND SIGNATURE

The electronic annotation, similar to hand written annotations, will cause the initials of the reviewing examiner to be applied to either: (A) the immediate left of each citation reviewed; or (B) the immediate left of the first of several consecutive citations and the left of the last of the consecutive citations reviewed with a line connecting the initials. Citations that have not been considered will be lined through.

The electronic signature will be in the form /John Q. Examiner/ at the bottom of the last sheet of citations of an IDS. The examiner may elect to electronically sign each sheet of citations considered.


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