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1205    Appeal Brief [R-11.2013]

37 CFR 41.37  Appeal brief.

  • (a) Timing. Appellant must file a brief under this section within two months from the date of filing the notice of appeal under § 41.31. The appeal brief fee in an application or ex parte reexamination proceeding is $0.00, but if the appeal results in an examiner's answer, the appeal forwarding fee set forth in § 37 CFR 41.20(b)(4) must be paid within the time period specified in § 41.45 to avoid dismissal of an appeal.
  • (b) Failure to file a brief. On failure to file the brief within the period specified in paragraph (a) of this section, the appeal will stand dismissed.
  • (c) Content of appeal brief.
    • (1) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, the brief shall contain the following items under appropriate headings and in the order indicated in paragraphs (c)(1)(i) through (v) of this section, except that a brief filed by an appellant who is not represented by a registered practitioner need only substantially comply with paragraphs (c)(1)(i), (c)(1)(ii), (c)(1)(iv), and (c)(1)(v) of this section:
      • (i) Real party in interest. A statement identifying by name the real party in interest at the time the appeal brief is filed, except that such statement is not required if the named inventor or inventors are themselves the real party in interest. If an appeal brief does not contain a statement of the real party in interest, the Office may assume that the named inventor or inventors are the real party in interest.
      • (ii) Related appeals, interferences, and trials. A statement identifying by application, patent, appeal, interference, or trial number all other prior and pending appeals, interferences, trials before the Board, or judicial proceedings (collectively, "related cases") which satisfy all of the following conditions: involve an application or patent owned by the appellant or assignee, are known to appellant, the appellant’s legal representative, or assignee, and may be related to, directly affect or be directly affected by or have a bearing on the Board’s decision in the pending appeal, except that such statement is not required if there are no such related cases. If an appeal brief does not contain a statement of related cases, the Office may assume that there are no such related cases.
      • (iii) Summary of claimed subject matter. A concise explanation of the subject matter defined in each of the rejected independent claims, which shall refer to the specification in the Record by page and line number or by paragraph number, and to the drawing, if any, by reference characters. For each rejected independent claim, and for each dependent claim argued separately under the provisions of paragraph (c)(1)(iv) of this section, if the claim contains a means plus function or step plus function recitation as permitted by 35 U.S.C. 112(f), then the concise explanation must identify the structure, material, or acts described in the specification in the Record as corresponding to each claimed function with reference to the specification in the Record by page and line number or by paragraph number, and to the drawing, if any, by reference characters. Reference to the patent application publication does not satisfy the requirements of this paragraph.
      • (iv) Argument. The arguments of appellant with respect to each ground of rejection, and the basis therefor, with citations of the statutes, regulations, authorities, and parts of the Record relied on. The arguments shall explain why the examiner erred as to each ground of rejection contested by appellant. Except as provided for in §§ 41.41, 41.47 and 41.52, any arguments or authorities not included in the appeal brief will be refused consideration by the Board for purposes of the present appeal. Each ground of rejection contested by appellant must be argued under a separate heading, and each heading shall reasonably identify the ground of rejection being contested (e.g., by claim number, statutory basis, and applied reference, if any). For each ground of rejection applying to two or more claims, the claims may be argued separately (claims are considered by appellant as separately patentable), as a group (all claims subject to the ground of rejection stand or fall together), or as a subgroup (a subset of the claims subject to the ground of rejection stand or fall together). When multiple claims subject to the same ground of rejection are argued as a group or subgroup by appellant, the Board may select a single claim from the group or subgroup and may decide the appeal as to the ground of rejection with respect to the group or subgroup on the basis of the selected claim alone. Notwithstanding any other provision of this paragraph, the failure of appellant to separately argue claims which appellant has grouped together shall constitute a waiver of any argument that the Board must consider the patentability of any grouped claim separately. Under each heading identifying the ground of rejection being contested, any claim(s) argued separately or as a subgroup shall be argued under a separate subheading that identifies the claim(s) by number. A statement which merely points out what a claim recites will not be considered an argument for separate patentability of the claim.
      • (v) Claims appendix. An appendix containing a copy of the claims involved in the appeal.
    • (2) A brief shall not include any new or non-admitted amendment, or any new or non-admitted affidavit or other Evidence. See § 37 CFR 1.116 of this title for treatment of amendments, affidavits or other evidence filed after final action but before or on the same date of filing an appeal and § 41.33 for treatment of amendments, affidavits or other Evidence filed after the date of filing the appeal. Review of an examiner's refusal to admit an amendment or Evidence is by petition to the Director. See § 1.181 of this title.
  • (d) Notice of non-compliance. If a brief is filed which does not comply with all the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section, appellant will be notified of the reasons for non-compliance and given a time period within which to file an amended brief. If appellant does not, within the set time period, file an amended brief that overcomes all the reasons for non-compliance stated in the notification, the appeal will stand dismissed. Review of a determination of non-compliance is by petition to the Chief Administrative Patent Judge. See § 41.3.
  • (e) Extensions of time. The time periods set forth in this section are extendable under the provisions of § 1.136 of this title for patent applications and § 1.550(c) of this title for ex parte reexamination proceedings.

1205.01   Time for Filing Appeal Brief [R-11.2013]

37 CFR 41.37(a) provides 2 months from the date of the notice of appeal for the appellant to file an appeal brief and the appeal brief fee set forth in 37 CFR 41.20(b)(2). Any brief in an application or an ex parte reeexamination proceeding filed on or after March 19, 2013 need not be accompanied by an appeal brief fee as the 37 CFR 41.20(b)(2) fee amount on or after that date is set at $0.

The usual period of time in which appellant must file his or her brief is 2 months from the date of appeal. The Office date of receipt of the notice of appeal (and not the date indicated on any Certificate of Mailing under 37 CFR 1.8) is the date from which this 2-month time period is measured. See MPEP § 512. If the notice of appeal is filed in accordance with 37 CFR 1.10 using the “Express Mail Post Office to Addressee” (now "Priority Mail Express") service of the United States Postal Service (USPS), the date of deposit with the USPS is the date from which this 2-month time period is measured because the date of deposit shown by the “date in” on the “Express Mail” label or other official USPS notation is considered to be the date of receipt. See MPEP § 513.

37 CFR 41.37(a) does not permit the brief to be filed within the time allowed for reply to the action from which the appeal was taken even if such time is later. Once appellant timely files a notice of appeal in compliance with 37 CFR 41.31, the time period for reply set forth in the last Office action is tolled and is no longer relevant for the time period for filing an appeal brief. For example, if appellant filed a notice of appeal within one month from the mailing of a final Office action which sets forth a 3-month shortened statutory period for reply, and then the appellant filed an appeal brief after 2 months from the filing date of the notice of appeal but within 3 months from the mailing of the final action, a petition for an extension of time for one month would be required. Similarly, if the appellant files a request for continued examination (RCE) under 37 CFR 1.114, instead of an appeal brief, after 2 months from the filing date of the notice of appeal but within 3 months from the mailing of the final action, the petition for an extension of time would be required.

This 2-month time period for a patent application may be extended under 37 CFR 1.136(a), and if 37 CFR 1.136(a) is not available, under 37 CFR 1.136(b) for extraordinary circumstances. In an ex parte reexamination proceeding, the time period can be extended only under the provisions of 37 CFR 1.550(c). See also MPEP § 2274.

In the event that the appellant finds that he or she is unable to file a brief within the time period allotted by the rule, he or she may file a petition for extension of time under 37 CFR 1.136(a) with the appropriate fee. Additional time in excess of 5 months will not be granted unless extraordinary circumstances are involved under 37 CFR 1.136(b). The time extended is added to the calendar day of the original period, as opposed to being added to the day it would have been due when said last day is a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday.

¶ 12.210    Extension To File Brief - Granted

The request for an extension of time under 37 CFR 1.136(b) for filing the appeal brief under 37 CFR 41.37 filed on [1] has been approved for [2].

Examiner Note:

  • 1. For use if the notice of appeal was filed on or after January 23, 2012.
  • 2. In bracket 2, insert the amount of time the extension of time has been approved for.
  • 3. This form paragraph should only be used when 37 CFR 1.136(a) is not available or has been exhausted, such as in litigation reissues or when appellant requests to reopen prosecution or file a reply brief as set forth in 37 CFR 41.39(b) and 37 CFR 41.50(a)(2).

¶ 12.211    Extension To File Brief - Denied

The request for an extension of time under 37 CFR 1.136(b) for filing the appeal brief under 37 CFR 41.37 filed on [1] has been disapproved because no sufficient cause for the extension has been shown.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. For use if the notice of appeal was filed on or after January 23, 2012.
  • 2. This form paragraph should only be used when 37 CFR 1.136(a) is not available or has been exhausted, such as in litigation reissues or when appellant requests to reopen prosecution or file a reply brief as set forth in 37 CFR 41.39(b) and 37 CFR 41.50(a)(2) .

When an application is revived after abandonment for failure on the part of the appellant to take appropriate action after final rejection, and the petition to revive was accompanied by a notice of appeal, appellant has 2 months, from the mailing date of the Director’s affirmative decision on the petition, in which to file the appeal brief. The time period for filing the appeal brief may be extended under 37 CFR 1.136.

FAILURE TO TIMELY FILE AN APPEAL BRIEF

The appeal ordinarily will be dismissed if the brief is not filed within the period provided by 37 CFR 41.37(a) or within such additional time as may be properly extended. Effective March 19, 2013, the statutory fee for filing an appeal brief was adjusted to $0. For so long as the fee under 37 CFR 41.20(b)(2) remains $0, the appeal will not be dismissed for failure to pay the fee.

A brief must be filed to preserve appellant’s right to the appealed claims, notwithstanding circumstances such as:

  • (A) the filing of a petition to invoke the supervisory authority of the Director under 37 CFR 1.181;
  • (B) the filing of an amendment, even if it is one which the examiner previously has indicated may place one or more claims in condition for allowance, unless the examiner, in acting on the amendment, disposes of all issues on appeal;
  • (C) the receipt of a letter from the examiner stating that prosecution is suspended, without the examiner withdrawing the final rejection from which appeal has been taken.

Although failure to file the brief within the permissible time will result in dismissal of the appeal, if any claims stand allowed the application does not become abandoned by the dismissal, but is returned to the examiner for action on the allowed claims. See MPEP § 1215.04. If there are no allowed claims, the application is abandoned as of the date the brief was due. Claims which have been objected to as dependent from a rejected claim do not stand allowed. In an ex parte reexamination proceeding, failure to file the brief will result in the issuance of the certificate under 37 CFR 1.570.

¶ 12.209    Appeal Dismissed - Allowed Claims, Formal Matters Remaining

In view of applicant’s failure to file a brief within the time prescribed by 37 CFR 41.37(a), the appeal stands dismissed and the proceedings as to the rejected claims are considered terminated. See 37 CFR 1.197(b).

This application will be passed to issue on allowed claim [1] provided the following formal matters are corrected. Prosecution is otherwise closed.

[2]

Applicant is required to make the necessary corrections within a shortened statutory period set to expire TWO MONTHS from the mailing date of this letter to avoid ABANDONMENT of the application. Extensions of time may be granted under 37 CFR 1.136.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. For use if the notice of appeal was filed on or after January 23, 2012.
  • 2. This form paragraph should only be used if the formal matters cannot be handled by examiner’s amendment. See MPEP § 1215.04.
  • 3. In bracket 2, insert a description of the formal matters to be corrected.
  • 4. Claims which have been indicated as containing allowable subject matter but are objected to as being dependent upon a rejected claim are to be considered as if they were rejected. See MPEP § 1215.04.

If the time for filing a brief has passed and the application has consequently become abandoned, the applicant may petition to revive the application under 37 CFR 1.137, as in other cases of abandonment. See MPEP § 711.03(c). If the appeal is dismissed, but the application is not abandoned because there is at least one allowed claim, the applicant may file a petition to reinstate the claims and the appeal, but a showing equivalent to that in a petition to revive under 37 CFR 1.137 is required. See MPEP § 711.03(c). In addition to the petition and petition fee, appellant must file:

  • (A) A request for continued examination (RCE) under 37 CFR 1.114 accompanied by a submission (i.e., a reply under 37 CFR 1.111) and the fee as set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(e) if the application is a utility or plant application filed on or after June 8, 1995, or a continuing application under 37 CFR 1.53(b) (or a CPA under 37 CFR 1.53(d) if the application is a design application); or
  • (B) An appeal brief and the appeal brief fee to reinstate the appeal. Effective March 19, 2013, the statutory fee for filing an appeal brief in an application or ex parte reexamination proceeding was adjusted to $0. For so long as the fee under 37 CFR 41.20(b)(2) remains $0, the appeal will not be dismissed for failure to pay the fee. A proper brief must be filed before the petition will be considered on its merits.

Where the dismissal of the appeal is believed to be in error, filing a petition, pointing out the error, may be sufficient.

1205.02   Appeal Brief Content [R-11.2013]

Only one copy of the appeal brief is required. Any brief for which the notice of appeal was filed on or after January 23, 2012 must comply with the requirements set forth in current 37 CFR 41.37. For information pertaining to the Board’s ex parte appeal practice and procedure that is applicable if the notice of appeal was filed before January 23, 2012 (or if proceedings were commenced before September 16, 2012), see Chapter 1200 in the MPEP 8th Edition, Rev. 9 (August 2012)(available on the USPTO web site at www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/mpep.htm).

Appellant must file a brief under 37 CFR 41.37 within two months from the date of filing the notice of appeal under 37 CFR 41.31. The appeal brief fee in an application or ex parte reexamination proceeding is $0.00.For so long as the adjusted fee for filing an appeal brief remains at $0, the brief need not be accompanied by an attempt to pay the fee under 37 CFR 41.20(b)(2). A brief that is filed on or after January 23, 2012 that fails to comply with the requirements set forth in 37 CFR 41.37(c) shall be held to be non-compliant under 37 CFR 41.37(d). The brief, as well as every other document relating to an appeal, should indicate the number of the Technology Center (TC) to which the application or patent under reexamination is assigned and the application or reexamination control number. Oral argument at a hearing will not remedy deficiencies in a brief. The following discussion of the contents of an appeal brief pertains to briefs filed pursuant to the requirements set forth in 37 CFR 41.37.

An appellant’s brief must present arguments responsive to every ground of rejection stated by the examiner in the Office action from which the appeal has been taken (as modified by any advisory action and/or pre-appeal brief conference decision). See 37 CFR 41.31(c) and 37 CFR 41.37(c)(1)(iv). If a ground of rejection stated by the examiner is not addressed in the appellant’s brief, appellant has waived any challenge to that ground of rejection and the Board may summarily sustain it, unless the examiner subsequently withdrew the rejection in the examiner’s answer. See 37 CFR 41.39(a)(1). The fact that appellant may consider a ground to be clearly improper does not justify failure to point out to the Board the reasons for that belief, including an explanation of why the examiner erred as to the ground of rejection.

The mere filing of a document entitled as a brief will not necessarily be considered to be in compliance with 37 CFR 41.37(c). The rule requires that the brief must set forth arguments and the basis therefor, with citations of the statutes, regulations, authorities and parts of the record relied upon. It is essential that the Board be provided with a brief fully stating the position of the appellant with respect to each ground of rejection presented for review in the appeal so that no search of the Record is required in order to determine that position. Thus, the brief should not incorporate or reference previous responses. 37 CFR 41.37(c)(1) requires that the brief contain specific items, as discussed below. The brief must have all of the required items under appropriate headings in the order indicated in 37 CFR 41.37(c)(1). 37 CFR 41.37(c)(1) provides that in certain circumstances, the items listed in paragraphs (c)(1)(i) and (c)(1)(ii) may be omitted from an appeal brief and further provides that the Office may assume certain information about the appeal should these items be omitted from the appeal brief. As such, the headings are not required to be included in the appeal brief in the event that an item is not applicable (i.e., the real party in interest is the inventor(s), or there are no related appeals). To assist appellants in complying with 37 CFR 41.37, the Board has posted checklists for notices of appeal and appeal briefs on the USPTO Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/ip/boards/bpai/index.jsp .

An exception to the requirement that all the items specified in 37 CFR 41.37(c)(1) be included in the brief is made if the application or reexamination proceeding is being prosecuted by the appellant pro se, i.e., there is no attorney or agent of record, and the brief was neither prepared nor signed by a registered attorney or agent. The brief of a pro se appellant which does not contain all of the items specified in 37 CFR 41.37(c)(1) will be accepted as long as it substantially complies with the requirements of subparagraphs (i), (ii), (iv) and (v).

While it is no longer a requirement to include an evidence appendix, the Office strongly encourages and appreciates receiving copies of the evidence relied upon (e.g., copies of declarations and affidavits, evidence of secondary considerations, etc.). This ensures that the Board is considering the proper evidence and avoids any confusion as to the particular evidence referenced in the appeal brief. In the alternative, the Board recommends that appellants clearly identify in the appeal brief the evidence relied upon using a clear description of the evidence along with the date of entry of such evidence into the Image File Wrapper.

An amendment or other evidence submitted under 37 CFR 1.116 or 37 CFR 41.33 will not be entered as part of the record for the appeal unless entered by the examiner.

The specific items required by 37 CFR 41.37(c)(1) are:

(i) Real party in interest. A statement identifying by name the real party in interest at the time the appeal brief is filed, except that such statement is not required if the named inventor or inventors are themselves the real party in interest. If an appeal brief does not contain a statement of the real party in interest, the Office may assume that the named inventor or inventors are the real party in interest.

The identification of the real party in interest allows members of the Board to comply with ethics regulations associated with working in matters in which the member has a financial interest to avoid any potential conflict of interest. When an application is assigned to a subsidiary corporation, the real party in interest is both the assignee and either the parent corporation or corporations, in the case of joint ventures. One example of a statement identifying the real party in interest is: The real party in interest is XXXX corporation, the assignee of record, which is a subsidiary of a joint venture between YYYY corporation and ZZZZ corporation.

(ii) Related appeals, interferences, and trials. A statement identifying by application, patent, appeal, interference, or trial number all other prior and pending appeals, interferences, trials before the Board, or judicial proceedings (collectively, "related cases") which satisfy all of the following conditions: Involve an application or patent owned by the appellant or assignee; are known to appellant, the appellant’s legal representative, or assignee; and may be related to, directly affect or be directly affected by or have a bearing on the Board’s decision in the pending appeal. If there are no such related cases, the appellant is not required to include the statement, and if the appellant has not included the statement, then the Office may assume that there are no such related cases.

The rule does not require Appellant to provide copies of decisions in related cases.

(iii) Summary of claimed subject matter. A concise explanation of the subject matter defined in each of the rejected independent claims, which shall refer to the specification in the Record by page and line number or by paragraph number, and to the drawing, if any, by reference characters. For each rejected independent claim, and for each dependent claim argued separately under the provisions of paragraph (c)(1)(iv) of this section, if the claim contains a means plus function or step plus function recitation as permitted by 35 U.S.C. 112(f), then the concise explanation must identify the structure, material, or acts described in the specification in the Record as corresponding to each claimed function with reference to the specification in the Record by page and line number or by paragraph number, and to the drawing, if any, by reference characters. Reference to the patent application publication does not satisfy the requirements of this paragraph.

(iv) Argument. The arguments of appellant with respect to each ground of rejection and the basis therefor, including citations of statutes, regulations, authorities and parts of the Record relied on, should be presented in this section. The arguments shall explain why the examiner erred as to each ground of rejection contested by appellant. See Ex parte Frye, 94 USPQ2d 1072, 1075-76 (BPAI 2010) (per curiam) (precedential) and In re Jung, 637 F.3d 1356, 98 USPQ2d 1174 (Fed. Cir. 2011). A statement which merely points out what a claim recites will not be considered an argument for patentability of the claim.

37 CFR 41.37(c)(1)(iv) contains the following sentence:

Except as provided for in §§ 41.41, 41.47 and 41.52, any arguments or authorities not included in the appeal brief will be refused consideration by the Board for purposes of the present appeal.

This sentence emphasizes that all arguments and authorities which an appellant wishes the Board to consider for purposes of the present appeal should be included in the appeal brief. It should be noted that arguments not presented in the briefs and made for the first time at the oral hearing are not normally entitled to consideration except as provided for in 37 CFR 41.47. In re Chiddix, 209 USPQ 78 (Comm’r Pat. 1980); Rosenblum v. Hiroshima, 220 USPQ 383 (Comm’r Pat. 1983).

This sentence is not intended to preclude the filing of a supplemental brief or document if new authority should become available or relevant after the brief or reply brief was filed. An example of such circumstances would be where a pertinent decision of a court or other tribunal was not published until after the brief or reply brief was filed.

This sentence is also limited to “the present appeal” and is not intended to extend the Board’s refusal to consider other arguments or authorities to subsequent appeals in the same application or to appeals in other applications.

Each ground of rejection must be argued under a separate heading, which clearly identifies the ground of rejection being contested. For each ground of rejection applying to two or more claims, the claims may be argued separately (claims are considered by appellants as separately patentable), as a group (all claims subject to the ground of rejection stand or fall together), or as a subgroup (a subset of the claims subject to the ground of rejection stand or fall together). When multiple claims subject to the same ground of rejection are argued as a group or subgroup by appellant, the Board may select a single claim from the group of claims and may decide the appeal as to the ground of rejection with respect to the group or subgroup of claims as to the ground of rejection on the basis of the selected claim alone. The failure of appellant to separately argue claims which appellant has grouped together constitutes a waiver of any argument that the Board must consider the patentability of any grouped claim separately. See In re McDaniel, 293 F.3d 1379, 1384, 63 USPQ2d 1462, 1465-66 (Fed. Cir. 2002). Under each heading identifying the ground of rejection being contested, any claim(s) argued separately or as a subgroup shall be placed under a separate subheading that identifies the claim(s) by number.

For example, if Claims 1 to 5 stand rejected under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b) as being anticipated by U.S. Patent No. Y and appellant is arguing only the limitations of independent claim 1, and thereby grouping dependent claims 2 to 5 to stand or fall with independent claim 1, then one possible heading as required by this subsection could be “Rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(b) over U.S. Patent No. Y” and an optional subheading would be “Claims 1 to 5.” Another example is where claims 1 to 3 stand rejected under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b) as being anticipated by U.S. Patent No. Z and appellant wishes to argue separately the patentability of each claim, a possible heading as required by this subsection could be “Rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102 (b) over U.S. Patent No. Z,” and the required subheadings would be “Claim 1,” “Claim 2” and “Claim 3.” Under each subheading the appellant would present the argument for patentability of that claim. Another example is where claims 1-10 stand rejected under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b) as being anticipated over U.S. Patent No. X and appellant wishes to argue claims 1-3 as a first subgroup, claim 4 separately, and claims 5-10 as another subgroup. A possible heading as required by this subsection could be “Rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(b) over U.S. Patent No. X,” and the required subheadings would be “Claims 1-3,” “Claim 4,” and “Claims 5-10.” To make certain that an argument for separate consideration of a claim or subgroup of claims is not overlooked by the examiner or by the Board, the rule requires appellant to use a subheading for each claim for which separate consideration by the Board is desired.

(v) Claims appendix. An appendix containing a copy of the claims involved in the appeal.

The copy of the claims should be a clean copy and should not include any markings such as brackets or underlining except for claims in a reissue application and a reexamination proceeding. See MPEP § 1454 for the presentation of the copy of the claims in a reissue application. See 37 CFR 1.530(d) and (f) for reexamination proceedings, see also MPEP § 2274 for ex parte reexamination and MPEP § 2675 for inter partes reexamination.

The copy of the claims should be double-spaced and the appendix should start on a new page. 37 CFR 41.37(c)(1) merely specifies the minimum requirements for a brief. An appellant may include in the brief a list of references, table of contents, table of cases, copies of evidence entered by the examiner and relied upon in the brief, etc. A brief is in compliance with 37 CFR 41.37(c)(1) as long as it includes items (i) to (v) in the order set forth.

37 CFR 41.37(c)(2) prohibits the inclusion in a brief of any new or non-admitted amendment, affidavit or other evidence. If an appellant wishes to seek review of an examiner’s refusal to admit an amendment, affidavit or evidence, such review is by petition to the Director under 37 CFR 1.181. The time for filing this petition, described in 37 CFR 1.181(f), is based on the date the examiner refused to enter the amendment, affidavit or evidence and not the date the brief is filed.

An example of a format and content for an appeal brief for a patent application is a brief containing the following items, with each item starting on a separate page:

  • (A) Identification page setting forth the applicant’s name(s), the application number, the filing date of the application, the title of the invention, the name of the examiner, the art unit of the examiner and the title of the paper (i.e., Appeal Brief);
  • (B) Table of Contents page(s);
  • (C) Real party in interest page(s);
  • (D) Related appeals, interferences, and trials page(s);
  • (E) Summary of claimed subject matter page(s);
  • (F) Argument page(s);
  • (G) Claims appendix page(s);

In accordance with the above, the brief must be directed to the claims and to the record of the case as they appeared at the time of the appeal. If an appellant wishes to remove claims from consideration on appeal, the appellant must submit an amendment to cancel the claims from the application. See 37 CFR 41.31(c) and 37 CFR 41.33. An appellant may, of course, choose not to present arguments or rely upon particular evidence as to certain claim rejections; however, such arguments and evidence are waived for purposes of the appeal and the Board may summarily sustain any grounds of rejections not argued. Examiners should no longer follow the practice described in Ex parte Ghuman, 88 USPQ2d 1478, 2008 WL 2109842 (BPAI 2008) (precedential, but superceeded by rule). 37 CFR 41.31(c) supercedes the Office’s procedure under Ghuman and also simplifies practice for examiners by no longer requiring examiners to cancel non-appealed claims.

A timely filed brief will be referred to the Patent Appeal Center and the Board for consideration of its compliance with the applicable rules. If the brief is proper it will be forwarded to the examiner for preparation of an examiner’s answer if the application is not allowable. The examiner’s answer may withdraw the rejection of claims, if appropriate. The examiner, with supervisory approval, may also determine that it is necessary to reopen prosecution to enter a new ground of rejection. See MPEP § 1207.04.

1205.03   Non-Compliant Appeal Brief and Amended Brief [R-11.2013]

The Board has the responsibility for determining whether appeal briefs filed in patent applications comply with 37 CFR 41.37, and will complete the determination before the appeal brief is forwarded to the examiner for consideration. The determination should be completed within approximately one month from the filing of the appeal brief. If the appeal brief is determined to be compliant with the rules or it contains only minor informalities that do not affect the Board panel’s ability to render a decision, the Board will accept the appeal brief and forward it to the examiner for consideration. If the Board determines that the appeal brief is non-compliant with 37 CFR 41.37 and sends appellant a notice of non-compliant brief requiring a corrected brief, appellant will be required to file a corrected brief within the time period set forth in the notice to avoid the dismissal of the appeal. The Board will also have the responsibility for determining whether corrected briefs comply with 37 CFR 41.37.

If appellant disagrees with the holding of noncompliance, a petition under 37 CFR 41.3 may be filed. Filing a petition will not toll the time period for reply set in the notice. Appellant must timely reply to the notice or the Office communication that requires an amended brief.

Once an appeal brief is accepted by the Board as in compliance with 37 CFR 41.37, the appeal brief will not later be held as defective by the Patent Appeal Center or the examiner. The Board will not return or remand the application to the examiner for issues related to a non-compliant appeal brief. Furthermore, examiners are not required to review appeal briefs for the purposes of determining whether the appeal briefs comply with 37 CFR 41.37. Accordingly, the Notification of Non-Compliant Appeal Brief (PTOL-462) and form paragraphs for holding an appeal brief defective are no longer available in OACS for the examiner to use.

Furthermore, the Board will correspond directly with the appellant on non-compliant brief issues. Examiners may use form paragraphs 12.150.0112.156.01 to draft examiner’s answers to respond to appeal briefs filed in any format. In those rare situation where an appeal brief contains serious defects that will prevent the examiner from drafting an examiner’s answer, the primary examiner should report the issue to the Patent Appeal Center who will communicate with the Board regarding the issue.

The responsibility of the Board for determining whether appeal briefs comply with 37 CFR 41.37 is not considered a transfer of jurisdiction when an appeal brief is filed, but rather is only a transfer of the specific responsibility of notifying appellants under 37 CFR 41.37(d) of the reasons for non-compliance. The patent examining corps retains the jurisdiction over the application to consider the appeal brief, conduct an appeal conference, decide the entry of amendments, evidence, and information disclosure statements filed after final or after the filing of a notice of appeal, and draft an examiner’s answer until jurisdiction passes to the Board pursuant to 37 CFR 41.35(a). Furthermore, petitions concerning the refusal to enter amendments and/or evidence remain delegated according to MPEP §§ 1002.02(b) and 1002.02(c).

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