uspto.gov
Skip over navigation

1490    Disclaimers [R-11.2013]

35 U.S.C. 253   Disclaimer.

  • (a) IN GENERAL.—Whenever a claim of a patent is invalid the remaining claims shall not thereby be rendered invalid. A patentee, whether of the whole or any sectional interest therein, may, on payment of the fee required by law, make disclaimer of any complete claim, stating therein the extent of his interest in such patent. Such disclaimer shall be in writing and recorded in the Patent and Trademark Office, and it shall thereafter be considered as part of the original patent to the extent of the interest possessed by the disclaimant and by those claiming under him.
  • (b) ADDITIONAL DISCLAIMER OR DEDICATION.—In the manner set forth in subsection (a), any patentee or applicant may disclaim or dedicate to the public the entire term, or any terminal part of the term, of the patent granted or to be granted.

35 U.S.C. 253(a) corresponds to the provisions of pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 253, first paragraph except that the first sentence of pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 251 includes the phrase “, without any deceptive intention,” between “Whenever” and “a claim.” Effective September 16, 2012, Public Law 112-29, sec. 20, 125 Stat. 284 (Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA)), amended 35 U.S.C. 253 to eliminate the “without any deceptive intention” clause. 35 U.S.C. 253(b) corresponds to the provisions of pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 252, second paragraph.

A disclaimer is a statement filed by an owner (in part or in entirety) of a patent or of a patent to be granted (i.e., an application), in which said owner relinquishes certain legal rights to the patent. There are two types of disclaimers: a statutory disclaimer and a terminal disclaimer. The owner of a patent or an application is the original inventor(s) who has/have not assigned away their rights or the assignee(s) of the original inventor(s), or a combination of the two. The patent or application is assigned by one assignment or by multiple assignments which establish a chain of title from the inventor(s) to the assignee(s).

I.   SIGNING AND SUPPORTING A DISCLAIMER

37 C.F.R. 1.321   Statutory disclaimers, including terminal disclaimers.

  • (a) A patentee owning the whole or any sectional interest in a patent may disclaim any complete claim or claims in a patent. In like manner any patentee may disclaim or dedicate to the public the entire term, or any terminal part of the term, of the patent granted. Such disclaimer is binding upon the grantee and its successors or assigns. A notice of the disclaimer is published in the Official Gazette and attached to the printed copies of the specification. The disclaimer, to be recorded in the Patent and Trademark Office, must:
    • (1) be signed by the patentee, or an attorney or agent of record;
    • (2) identify the patent and complete claim or claims, or term being disclaimed. A disclaimer which is not a disclaimer of a complete claim or claims, or term, will be refused recordation;
    • (3) state the present extent of patentee’s ownership interest in the patent; and
    • (4) be accompanied by the fee set forth in § 1.20(d).
  • (b) An applicant or assignee may disclaim or dedicate to the public the entire term, or any terminal part of the term, of a patent to be granted. Such terminal disclaimer is binding upon the grantee and its successors or assigns. The terminal disclaimer, to be recorded in the Patent and Trademark Office, must:
    • (1) be signed:
      • (i) by the applicant, or
      • (ii) if there is an assignee of record of an undivided part interest, by the applicant and such assignee, or
      • (iii) if there is an assignee of record of the entire interest, by such assignee, or
      • (iv) by an attorney or agent of record;
    • (2) specify the portion of the term of the patent being disclaimed;
    • (3) state the present extent of applicant’s ownership interest in the patent to be granted; and
    • (4) be accompanied by the fee set forth in § 1.20(d).
  • (c) A terminal disclaimer, when filed to obviate judicially created double patenting in a patent application or in a reexamination proceeding except as provided for in paragraph (d) of this section, must:
    • (1) Comply with the provisions of paragraphs (b)(2) through (b)(4) of this section;
    • (2) Be signed in accordance with paragraph (b)(1) of this section if filed in a patent application or in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section if filed in a reexamination proceeding; and
    • (3) Include a provision that any patent granted on that application or any patent subject to the reexamination proceeding shall be enforceable only for and during such period that said patent is commonly owned with the application or patent which formed the basis for the judicially created double patenting.
  • (d) A terminal disclaimer, when filed in a patent application or in a reexamination proceeding to obviate double patenting based upon a patent or application that is not commonly owned but was disqualified as prior art as set forth in either § 1.104(c)(4)(ii) or (c)(5)(ii) as resulting from activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement, must:
    • (1) Comply with the provisions of paragraphs (b)(2) through (b)(4) of this section;
    • (2) Be signed in accordance with paragraph (b)(1) of this section if filed in a patent application or be signed in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section if filed in a reexamination proceeding;
    • (3) Include a provision waiving the right to separately enforce any patent granted on that application or any patent subject to the reexamination proceeding and the patent or any patent granted on the application which formed the basis for the double patenting, and that any patent granted on that application or any patent subject to the reexamination proceeding shall be enforceable only for and during such period that said patent and the patent, or any patent granted on the application, which formed the basis for the double patenting are not separately enforced.

Pursuant to 37 CFR 1.321(a), a disclaimer filed in a patent or a reexamination proceeding must be signed by either (1) the patentee (the assignee, the inventor(s) if the patent is not assigned, or the assignee and the inventors if the patent is assigned-in-part), or (2) an attorney or agent of record. A registered practitioner acting in a representative capacity under 37 CFR 1.34 is not permitted to sign the disclaimer. Where the attorney or agent of record signs the disclaimer, there is no need to comply with 37 CFR 3.73.

37 CFR 1.321(b) sets forth the signature requirements for a terminal disclaimer. Note that the signature requirements for terminal disclaimers filed in a pending application differ depending on the filing date of the application. If the application filing date is on or after September 16, 2012, see subsection A., below; if the application was filed was filed before September 16, 2012, see subsection B., below.

Note that the signature on the disclaimer need not be an original signature. Pursuant to 37 CFR 1.4(d)(1)(ii), the submitted disclaimer can be a copy, such as a photocopy or facsimile transmission of an original disclaimer.

A.   Disclaimer in Application Filed On or After September 16, 2012

A disclaimer filed in a pending application that was filed on or after September 16, 2012 must be signed by the applicant or an attorney or agent of record.

The word “applicant,” in this context, refers to the inventor or all of the joint inventors, or to the person applying for a patent as provided in 37 CFR 1.43, 1.45, or 1.46. Under 37 CFR 1.43, “applicant” refers to the legal representative of a deceased or legally incapacitated inventor. Under 37 CFR 1.45, “applicant” refers to the inventors; if fewer than all joint inventors are applying for a patent as provided in 37 CFR 1.45, the phrase “the applicant” means the joint inventors who are applying for the patent without the omitted inventor(s). Under 37 CFR 1.46, “applicant” refers to the assignee, the person to whom the inventor is under an obligation to assign the invention, or the person who otherwise shows sufficient proprietary interest in the matter, who is applying for a patent under 37 CFR 1.46 and not the inventor.

An assignee which is not an applicant must file a request to change the applicant under 37 CFR 1.46(c), an application data sheet under 37 CFR 1.76 specifying the applicant in the application information section, and a 37 CFR 3.73(c) statement to become the 37 CFR 1.321(b)(1) applicant in order to file and sign a disclaimer.

In order to obviate a non-statutory double patenting rejection, the entirety of the ownership must sign the terminal disclaimer disclaiming with respect to the reference on which the rejection is based, or multiple terminal disclaimers so disclaiming. Thus, if a 37 CFR 1.321(b)(1) applicant who is not the owner (e.g., an inventor who assigned away the application) signs a disclaimer, the disclaimer will not be entered and the non-statutory double patenting rejection will not be withdrawn by the examiner. The same is true if a 37 CFR 1.321(b)(1) applicant representing less than the entirety of the ownership (see 37 CFR 1.42(c)) signs a disclaimer, and a disclaimer from the remainder of the ownership has not also been filed.

The disclaimer may also be filed by an attorney or agent of record (a registered practitioner acting in a representative capacity under 37 CFR 1.34 is not permitted to sign the disclaimer). Where the attorney or agent of record signs the disclaimer, there is no need to comply with 37 CFR 3.73.

B.   Disclaimer in Application Filed Before September 16, 2012

The owner of the patent or application can sign a disclaimer, and a person empowered by the owner to sign the disclaimer can also sign it. For a disclaimer to be accepted, it must be signed by the proper party as follows: (A) A disclaimer filed in an application must be signed by

  • (1) the applicant where the application has not been assigned,
  • (2) the applicant and the assignee where each owns a part interest in the application,
  • (3) the assignee where assignee owns the entire interest in the application, or
  • (4) an attorney or agent of record.

Where the assignee signs the disclaimer, there is a requirement to comply with pre-AIA 37 CFR 3.73(b) in order to satisfy pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.321, unless an attorney or agent of record signs the disclaimer. In order to comply with pre-AIA 37 CFR 3.73(b), the assignee’s ownership interest must be established by:

  • (1) filing in the application or patent evidence of a chain of title from the original owner to the assignee and a statement affirming that the documentary evidence of the chain of title from the original owner to the assignee was, or concurrently is being, submitted for recordation pursuant to 37 CFR 3.11, or
  • (2) specifying in the record of the application or patent where such evidence is recorded in the Office (e.g., reel and frame number, etc.). The submission with respect to pre-AIA 37 CFR 3.73(b) to establish ownership must be signed by a party authorized to act on behalf of the assignee. See also MPEP § 324 as to compliance with pre-AIA 37 CFR 3.73(b). A copy of the “Statement Under 37 CFR 3.73 (b),” which is reproduced in MPEP § 324, may be sent by the examiner to applicant to provide an acceptable way to comply with the requirements of pre-AIA 37 CFR 3.73 (b).

A statement of assignee interest in a terminal disclaimer that “A and B are the owners of 100% of the instant application...” is sufficient to satisfy the pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.321(b)(3) requirement that a terminal disclaimer “state the present extent of applicant’s or assignee’s ownership interest in the patent to be granted.” Although the quoted statement does not identify what specific percentage is owned by A and what specific percentage is owned by B, the statement does provide consent to the terminal disclaimer by the entirety of the ownership of the application (A and B own all of the invention, regardless of the individual percentages they own).

The disclaimer may also be filed by an attorney or agent of record (a registered practitioner acting in a representative capacity under 37 CFR 1.34 is not permitted to sign the disclaimer). Where the attorney or agent of record signs the disclaimer, there is no need to comply with 37 CFR 3.73.

II.   STATUTORY DISCLAIMERS

Under 37 CFR 1.321(a) the owner of a patent may disclaim a complete claim or claims of his or her patent. This may result from a lawsuit or because he or she has reason to believe that the claim or claims are too broad or otherwise invalid. If the patent is involved in an interference or contested case, see 37 CFR 41.121(a).

As noted above, a statutory disclaimer is a statement in which a patent owner relinquishes legal rights to one or more claims of a patent. A statutory disclaimer is not, however, a vehicle for adding or amending claims, because there is no provision for such in the statute (35 U.S.C. 253) nor the rules (37 CFR 1.321). Thus, claims of a patent cannot be disclaimed in favor of new claims to be added to the patent or an amendment to existing claims.

III.   TERMINAL DISCLAIMERS

37 CFR 1.321(a) and (b)also provide for the filing by a patentee or applicant of a terminal disclaimer which disclaims or dedicates to the public the entire term or any terminal part of the term of a patent or patent to be granted.

37 CFR 1.321(c) specifically provides for the filing of a terminal disclaimer in an application or a reexamination proceeding for the purpose of overcoming a nonstatutory double patenting rejection. See MPEP § 804.02.

37 CFR 1.321(d) specifically provides for the filing of a terminal disclaimer in an application or a reexamination proceeding for the purpose of overcoming a nonstatutory double patenting rejection based on a U.S. patent or application that is not commonly owned but was disqualified pursuant to either 37 CFR 1.104(c)(4)(ii) or (c)(5)(ii) as the result of activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement.

IV.   PROCESSING IN CERTIFICATE OF CORRECTION BRANCH

The Certificate of Correction Branch is responsible for the processing of all statutory disclaimers filed under the first paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 253, whether the case is pending or patented, and all terminal disclaimers (filed under 35 U.S.C. 253) except for those filed in a pending application or reexamination proceeding. This processing involves:

  • (A) Determining the compliance of the disclaimer with 35 U.S.C. 253 and 37 CFR 1.321 and 3.73;
  • (B) Notifying applicant or patentee when the disclaimer is informal and thus not acceptable;
  • (C) Recording the disclaimers in the record of the application file; and
  • (D) Providing the disclaimer data for printing in the Official Gazette.

V.   PROCESSING OF TERMINAL DISCLAIMER IN PENDING APPLICATION

The Office provides for the submission of eTerminal Disclaimers (eTDs) via EFS-Web. A web-based eTD may be filled out completely online using web-screens. An eTD that meets all requirements is auto-processed, approved immediately upon submission, and directly loads into the USPTO databases which will increase accuracy and facilitate faster processing. Note that eTDs are accepted only for nonprovisional utility applications (including national stage and reissue) and design applications (including reissue). Requests for terminal disclaimers for plant patent applications, reexaminations, and terminal disclaimers based on a joint research agreement must be filed by paper or a scanned image PDF submitted via EFS-Web. For more information about eTerminal Disclaimers, refer to http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/file/efs/guidance/e TD-info-I. jsp.

Where a terminal disclaimer other than an eTD is filed in an application pending in a TC, it will be processed by a Paralegal Specialist of the Patent Legal Research Center or a paralegal of the Office of the Special Program Examiner or appropriate Training Quality Assurance Specialist (TQAS) of the TC having responsibility for the application. The paralegal will:

  • (A) Determine compliance with 35 U.S.C. 253 and 37 CFR 1.321 and 3.73, and ensure that the appropriate terminal disclaimer fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.20(d) is/was applied;
  • (B) Notify the examiner having charge of the application whether the terminal disclaimer is acceptable or not by completing a Terminal Disclaimer review decision form;
  • (C) Where the terminal disclaimer is not acceptable, indicate the nature of the informalities so that the examiner can inform applicant in the next Office action.

The paralegal completes a Terminal Disclaimer review decision form to notify the examiner of the nature of any informalities in the terminal disclaimer. The examiner should notify the applicant of the informalities in the next Office action, or by interview with applicant if such will expedite prosecution of the application.

VI.   OTHER MATTERS DIRECTED TO TERMINAL DISCLAIMERS

A.   Requirements of Terminal Disclaimers

A proper terminal disclaimer must disclaim the terminal part of the statutory term of any patent granted on the application being examined which would extend beyond the expiration date of the full statutory term, shortened by any terminal disclaimer, of the patent (or of any patent granted on the application) to which the disclaimer is directed. Note the exculpatory language in the second paragraph of the sample terminal disclaimer forms, PTO/SB/25, PTO/SB/26 and PTO/AIA/25 and PTO/AIA/26, provided at the end of this Chapter. That language (“In making the above disclaimer, the owner does not disclaim...”) is permissible in a terminal disclaimer.

A terminal disclaimer filed to obviate a nonstatutory double patenting rejection based on a commonly owned patent or application must comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.321(c). The terminal disclaimer must state that any patent granted on the application being examined will be enforceable only for and during the period that it and the patent to which the disclaimer is directed or the patent granted on the application to which the disclaimer is directed are commonly owned. See MPEP § 706.02(1)(2) for examples of common ownership, or lack thereof.

A terminal disclaimer filed to obviate a nonstatutory double patenting rejection based on a non-commonly owned patent or application disqualified under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) or under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(c) as a result of activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement under 35 U.S.C. 102(c) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(c)(2) and (3) must comply with 37 CFR 1.321(d), which sets forth signature, waiver rights and enforceability requirements.

The terminal disclaimer must include a provision:

  • (1) waiving the right to separately enforce (a) any patent granted on that application or the patent being reexamined and (b) the reference patent, or any patent granted on the reference application which formed the basis for the double patenting; and
  • (2) agreeing that any patent granted on that application or patent being reexamined shall be enforceable only for and during such period that said patent and the reference patent, or any patent granted on the reference application, which formed the basis for the double patenting are not separately enforced.

A terminal disclaimer must state that the agreement is to run with any patent granted on the application being examined and is to be binding upon the grantee, its successors, or assigns.

The appropriate one of form paragraphs 14.27.04 to 14.27.08 (reproduced below) may be used to provide applicant or patent owner with an example of acceptable terminal disclaimer language. Additionally, copies of forms PTO/SB/25, PTO/SB/26, PTO/AIA/25 and PTO/AIA/26 (provided at the end of this Chapter) may be attached to the Office action to provide sample terminal disclaimers.

Pursuant to the last sentence of 35 U.S.C. 253, "any patentee or applicant may disclaim or dedicate to the public... any terminal part of the term, of the patent granted or to be granted" . Accordingly, the disclaimer must be of a terminal portion of the term of the entire patent to be granted. A disclaimer of a terminal portion of the term of an individual claim, or individual claims will not be accepted. A disclaimer of the term of individual claims would not be appropriate because the claims of a pending application or proceeding are subject to cancellation, amendment, or renumbering. It is further noted that the statute does not provide for conditional disclaimers (whether they are terminal disclaimers or statutory disclaimers) and accordingly, a proposed disclaimer that is made contingent on the allowance of certain claims or the granting of a petition, is improper and cannot be accepted. The disclaimer should identify the disclaimant and his or her interest in the application and should specify the date when the disclaimer is to become effective.

B.   Effect of Disclaimers in Continuing Applications and in Reissues

A terminal disclaimer filed to obviate a nonstatutory double patenting rejection is effective only with respect to the application identified in the disclaimer unless by its terms it extends to continuing applications (in which case, applicant must file a copy of the disclaimer in the continuing application, to obviate any nonstatutory double patenting rejection to which the disclaimer is directed). See President and Fellows of Harvard College v. Rea, 2013 WL 2152635 (E.D.Va. May 15, 2013) (NO. 1:12-CV-1034). For example, a terminal disclaimer filed in a parent application normally has no effect on a continuing application claiming filing date benefits of the parent application under 35 U.S.C. 120. A terminal disclaimer filed in a parent application to obviate a nonstatutory double patenting rejection does, however, carry over to a continued prosecution application (CPA) filed under 37 CFR 1.53(d) (effective July 14, 2003, CPAs are only available in design applications). The terminal disclaimer filed in the parent application carries over because the CPA retains the same application number as the parent application, i.e., the application number to which the previously filed terminal disclaimer is directed. If applicant does not want the terminal disclaimer to carry over to the CPA, applicant must file a petition under 37 CFR 1.182, along with the required petition fee, requesting the terminal disclaimer filed in the parent application not be carried over to the CPA; see below “Withdrawing a Terminal Disclaimer” (paragraph “A. Before Issuance of Patent”). If applicant files a Request for Continued Examination (RCE) of an application under 37 CFR 1.114 (which can be filed on or after May 29, 2000 for an application filed on or after June 8, 1995), any terminal disclaimer present will continue to operate, because a new application has not been filed, but rather prosecution has been continued in the existing application. A petition under 37 CFR 1.182, along with the required petition fee, may be filed, if withdrawal of the terminal disclaimer is to be requested. Reissue applications: Where a terminal disclaimer was filed in an original application, a copy of that terminal disclaimer is not required to be filed by applicant in the reissue.

An internal review form will be filled out to indicate that a terminal disclaimer has been filed for the patent (and will be effective for the patent as it will be reissued). Further, a copy of the terminal disclaimer should be placed into the reissue application file history by the Technology Center.

C.   Disclaimer Identifies the Wrong Target Application or Patent

In some instances a terminal disclaimer filed to obviate a nonstatutory double patenting rejection will identify the wrong target application or patent (i.e., an application or patent which is not the basis for the double patenting rejection). In these instances, a replacement terminal disclaimer identifying the correct target application or patent would be required by the examiner. Once a correct replacement terminal disclaimer is received, the next Office action should make it clear that "the second terminal disclaimer replaces the first terminal disclaimer, and the first terminal disclaimer is thus void." A second terminal disclaimer fee should not be assessed/charged, because the first fee is applied to the second terminal disclaimer.

D.   Two or More Copending Applications

If two (or more) pending applications are filed, in each of which a rejection of one claimed invention over the other on the ground of provisional nonstatutory double patenting (ODP) is proper, the provisional ODP rejection will be made in each application. If the provisional ODP rejection is the only rejection remaining in the earlier-filed of the two pending applications, (but the later-filed application is rejectable on other grounds), the examiner should then withdraw the provisional ODP rejection and permit the earlier-filed application to issue as a patent without a terminal disclaimer. If the provisional ODP rejection is the only rejection remaining in the later-filed application, (while the earlier-filed application is rejectable on other grounds), a terminal disclaimer must be required in the later-filed application, before the provisional ODP rejection can be withdrawn.

If the provisional ODP rejections in both applications are the only rejections remaining in those applications, the examiner should then withdraw the provisional ODP rejection in the earlier-filed application thereby permitting that application to issue without need of a terminal disclaimer. A terminal disclaimer must be required in the later-filed application before the provisional ODP rejection can be withdrawn and the application be permitted to issue.

The phrase "earlier-filed" for determining in which application the terminal disclaimer need not be filed, is to be interpreted as follows:

  • (A) Where there is no benefit claim in the two applications, the "earlier-filed" application is the one having the earlier actual filing date;
  • (B)
    • (1) Where at least one of the two applications is entitled to the benefit of a U.S. nonprovisional application under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c), the "earlier-filed" application is the one having the earliest date to which it is entitled benefit under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, and/or 365(c).
    • (2) Where two applications are entitled to the benefit of the same U.S. nonprovisional application under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c), if all the conflicting claims of one of the applications are not appropriately supported in the parent application (and therefore, not entitled to the benefit of the filing date of the parent application), while the conflicting claims of the other application are appropriately supported in the parent application (and therefore, entitled to the benefit of the filing date of the parent application), then the other application is the earlier-filed application. If none of the conflicting claims of either application are appropriately supported in the parent application, then the actual filing dates of the two applications govern.
  • (C) A 35 U.S.C. 119(e) benefit is NOT taken into account in determining which is the "earlier-filed" application.
  • (D) A foreign priority claim under 35 U.S.C. 119(a) is NOT taken into account in determining which is the "earlier-filed" application.

For items (C) and (D), it is to be noted that patent term does not begin from the date of the 35 U.S.C. 119 filing. Thus, if a patent # 1 has a 35 U.S.C. 119 filing date prior to patent # 2, but has a U.S. application filing date after patent # 2, then patent # 1 will expire later than patent # 2, and patent # 2 will be determined to be the “earlier-filed” application. See 35 U.S.C. 154(a)(2) and (a)(3).

If both applications are filed on the same day, the provisional ODP rejection made in each of the applications should be maintained until applicant overcomes the rejections by either filing a reply showing that the claims subject to the provisional ODP rejections are patentably distinct or filing a terminal disclaimer in each of the pending applications.

If both applications are entitled to the benefit of the same U.S. nonprovisional application under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c) , and (B)(2) above does not apply, then the provisional ODP rejection made in each of the applications should be maintained until applicant overcomes the rejections by either filing a reply showing that the claims subject to the provisional ODP rejections are patentably distinct or filing a terminal disclaimer in each of the pending applications.

Where there are three applications containing claims that conflict such that a provisional ODP rejection is made in each application based upon the other two, it is not sufficient to file a terminal disclaimer in only one of the applications addressing the other two applications. Rather, an appropriate terminal disclaimer must be filed in at least two of the applications to link all three together. This is because a terminal disclaimer filed to obviate a nonstatutory double patenting rejection is effective only with respect to the application in which the terminal disclaimer is filed; it is not effective to link the other two applications to each other.

VII.   FORM PARAGRAPHS

The following form paragraphs may be used to inform the applicant (or patent owner) of the status of a submitted terminal disclaimer.

¶ 14.23    Terminal Disclaimer Proper

The terminal disclaimer filed on [1] disclaiming the terminal portion of any patent granted on this application which would extend beyond the expiration date of [2] has been reviewed and is accepted. The terminal disclaimer has been recorded.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert the date the terminal disclaimer was filed.
  • 2. In bracket 2, list the Patent Number and/or Application Number (including series code and serial no.). Where an Application Number is listed, it must be preceded by the phrase --any patent granted on Application Number--.
  • 3. See MPEP § 1490 for discussion of requirements for a proper terminal disclaimer.
  • 4. Use form paragraph 14.23.01 for reexamination proceedings.
  • 5. For improper terminal disclaimers, see form paragraphs 14.24et seq.

¶ 14.23.01    Terminal Disclaimer Proper (Reexamination Only)

The terminal disclaimer filed on [1] disclaiming the terminal portion of the patent being reexamined which would extend beyond the expiration date of [2] has been reviewed and is accepted. The terminal disclaimer has been recorded.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert the date the terminal disclaimer was filed.
  • 2. In bracket 2, list the Patent Number and/or Application Number (including series code and serial no.). Where an Application Number is listed, it must be preceded by the phrase --any patent granted on Application Number--.
  • 3. See MPEP § 1490 for discussion of requirements for a proper terminal disclaimer.
  • 4. For improper terminal disclaimers, see the form paragraphs which follow.

¶ 14.24    Terminal Disclaimer Not Proper - Introductory Paragraph

The terminal disclaimer filed on [1] disclaiming the terminal portion of any patent granted on this application which would extend beyond the expiration date of [2] has been reviewed and is NOT accepted.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert the date the terminal disclaimer was filed.
  • 2. In bracket 2, list the Patent Number and/or Application Number (including series code and serial no.). Where an Application Number is listed, it must be preceded by the phrase --any patent granted on Application Number--.
  • 3. One or more of the appropriate form paragraphs 14.26 to 14.32 MUST follow this form paragraph to indicate why the terminal disclaimer is not accepted.
  • 4. Form paragraph 14.35 may be used to inform applicant that an additional disclaimer fee will not be required for the submission of a replacement or supplemental terminal disclaimer.
  • 5. Do not use in reexamination proceedings, use form paragraph 14.25 instead.

¶ 14.25    Terminal Disclaimer Not Proper - Introductory Paragraph (Reexamination Only)

The terminal disclaimer filed on [1] disclaiming the terminal portion of the patent being reexamined which would extend beyond the expiration date of [2] has been reviewed and is NOT accepted.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert the date the terminal disclaimer was filed.
  • 2. In bracket 2, list the Patent Number and/or the Application Number (including series code and serial no.). Where an Application Number is listed, it must be preceded by the phrase --any patent granted on Application Number--.
  • 3. One or more of the appropriate form paragraphs 14.26 to 14.32 MUST follow this form paragraph to indicate why the terminal disclaimer is not accepted.
  • 4. Form paragraph 14.35 may be used to inform applicant that an additional disclaimer fee will not be required for the submission of a replacement or supplemental terminal disclaimer.

¶ 14.26    Does Not Comply With 37 CFR 1.321 “Sub-Heading” Only

The terminal disclaimer does not comply with 37 CFR 1.321 because:

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 and followed by one or more of the appropriate form paragraphs 14.26.01 to 14.27.03.

¶ 14.26.01    Extent of Interest Not Stated

The person who has signed the disclaimer has not stated the extent of his/her interest, or the business entity’s interest, in the application/patent. See 37 CFR 1.321(b)(3).

Examiner Note:

This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 AND form paragraph 14.26.

¶ 14.26.02    Directed to Particular Claim(s)

It is directed to a particular claim or claims, which is not acceptable, since “the disclaimer must be of a terminal portion of the term of the entire [patent or] patent to be granted.” See MPEP § 1490.

Examiner Note:

This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 AND form paragraph 14.26.

¶ 14.26.03    Not Signed

The terminal disclaimer was not signed.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 AND form paragraph 14.26.

¶ 14.26.04    Application/Patent Not Identified

The application/patent being disclaimed has not been identified.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 AND form paragraph 14.26.

¶ 14.26.05    Application/Patent Improperly Identified

The application/patent being disclaimed has been improperly identified since the number used to identify the [1] being disclaimed is incorrect. The correct number is [2].

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 AND form paragraph 14.26.
  • 2. In bracket 1, insert --application-- or --patent--.
  • 3. In bracket 2, insert the correct Application Number (including series code and serial no.) or the correct Patent Number being disclaimed.
  • 4. A terminal disclaimer is acceptable if it includes the correct Patent Number or the correct Application Number or the serial number together with the proper filing date or the proper series code.

¶ 14.26.06.fti    fti Not Signed by All Owners - Application Filed Before Sept. 16, 2012

This application was filed before September 16, 2012. The terminal disclaimer was not signed by all owners and, therefore, supplemental terminal disclaimers are required from the remaining owners.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 AND form paragraph 14.26.
  • 2. Do not use this form paragraph in an application filed on or after September 16, 2012.

¶ 14.26.07    No Disclaimer Fee Submitted

The disclaimer fee of $ [1] in accordance with 37 CFR 1.20(d) has not been submitted, nor is there any authorization in the application file to charge a specified Deposit Account or credit card.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert the fee for a disclaimer.
  • 2. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 AND form paragraph 14.26. If the disclaimer fee was paid for a terminal disclaimer which was not accepted, applicant does not have to pay another disclaimer fee when submitting a replacement or supplemental terminal disclaimer, and this form paragraph should not be used.

¶ 14.26.08    Terminal Disclaimer Not Properly Signed - Application Filed On or After Sept. 16, 2012

This application was filed on or after September 16, 2012. The person who signed the terminal disclaimer is not the applicant, the patentee or an attorney or agent of record. See 37 CFR 1.321(a) and (b).

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 AND form paragraph 14.26.
  • 2. Do not use this form paragraph in an application filed before September 16, 2012.

¶ 14.26.09    Failure To State Capacity To Sign - Application Filed On or After Sept. 16, 2012

This application was filed on or after September 16, 2012. The person who signed the terminal disclaimer has failed to state his/her capacity to sign for the juristic entity, and he/she has not been established as being authorized to act on behalf of the applicant.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 AND form paragraph 14.26.
  • 2. Do not use this form paragraph in an application filed before 9/16/12.

¶ 14.26.10    Terminal Disclaimer Identifies Party Who Is Not The Applicant - Application Filed On or After Sept. 16, 2012

This application was filed on or after September 16, 2012. The party identified in the terminal disclaimer is not the applicant of record. A request to change the applicant under 37 CFR 1.46(c) must be filed and must include an application data sheet specifying the applicant in the applicant information section and comply with 37 CFR 3.71 and 3.73. To be reconsidered, the terminal disclaimer must be filed with the request under 37 CFR 1.46(c).

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 AND form paragraph 14.26.
  • 2. Do not use this form paragraph in an application filed before 9/16/12.

¶ 14.27.01    Lacks Clause of Enforceable Only During Period of Common Ownership

It does not include a recitation that any patent granted shall be enforceable only for and during such period that said patent is commonly owned with the application(s) or patent(s) which formed the basis for the double patenting rejection. See 37 CFR 1.321(c)(3) .

Examiner Note:

This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 AND 14.26.

¶ 14.27.011    Lacks 37 CFR 1.321(d) statement for joint research agreement under 35 U.S.C. 102(c) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(c)(2)&(3)

It does not include the waiver and enforceability provisions of 37 CFR 1.321(d). The terminal disclaimer must include a provision:

(1) waiving the right to separately enforce (a) any patent granted on that application or the patent being reexamined and (b) the reference patent, or any patent granted on the reference application which formed the basis for the double patenting rejection; and

(2) agreeing that any patent granted on that application or patent being reexamined shall be enforceable only for and during such period that said patent and the reference patent, or any patent granted on the reference application, which formed the basis for the double patenting are not separately enforced.

See 37 CFR 1.321(d)(3).

Examiner Note:

  • 1. For applications filed before September 16, 2012, this form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 AND form paragraph 14.26, and should be followed by either form paragraph 14.27.07 or form paragraph 14.27.08.
  • 2. For applications filed on or after September 16, 2012, this form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 AND form paragraph 14.26, and should be followed by either form paragraph 14.27.07.1 or form paragraph 14.27.08.

¶ 14.27.02    Fails To Disclaim Terminal Portion of Any Patent Granted On Subject Application

It fails to disclaim the terminal portion of any patent granted on the subject application.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 AND form paragraph 14.26.
  • 2. Use this form paragraph when the period disclaimed is not the correct period or when no period is specified at all.
  • 3. When using this form paragraph, give an example of proper terminal disclaimer language using form paragraph 14.27.04.fti (for applications filed before September 16, 2012) or form paragraph 14.27.04.1 (for applications filed on or after September 16, 2012) following this or the series of statements concerning the defective terminal disclaimer.

¶ 14.27.03    Fails To Disclaim Terminal Portion of Subject Patent

It fails to disclaim the terminal portion of the subject patent.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 AND form paragraph 14.26.
  • 2. Use this form paragraph in a reissue application or reexamination proceeding when the period disclaimed is not the correct period or when no period is specified at all.

¶ 14.27.04.fti    Examples of Acceptable Terminal Disclaimer Language in Patent To Be Granted -Application Filed Before Sept. 16, 2012

This application was filed before September 16, 2012. Examples of acceptable language for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of any patent granted on the subject application follow:

  • I. If a Provisional Obviousness-Type Double Patenting Rejection Over A Pending Application was made, use:

    The applicant, _________________________________, owner of ____________ percent interest in the instant application hereby disclaims the terminal part of the statutory term of any patent granted on the instant application which would extend beyond the expiration date of the full statutory term of any patent granted on pending reference Application Number ________________, filed on _____________, as the term of any patent granted on said reference application may be shortened by any terminal disclaimer filed prior to the grant of any patent on the pending reference application. The applicant hereby agrees that any patent so granted on the instant application shall be enforceable only for and during such period that it and any patent granted on the reference application are commonly owned. This agreement runs with any patent granted on the instant application and is binding upon the grantee, its successors or assigns.

  • II. If an Obviousness-Type Double Patenting Rejection Over A Prior Patent was made, use:

    The applicant, _________________________________, owner of ____________ percent interest in the instant application hereby disclaims the terminal part of the statutory term of any patent granted on the instant application which would extend beyond the expiration date of the full statutory term of prior patent No. ________________ as the term of said prior patent is presently shortened by any terminal disclaimer. The applicant hereby agrees that any patent so granted on the instant application shall be enforceable only for and during such period that it and the prior patent are commonly owned. This agreement runs with any patent granted on the instant application and is binding upon the grantee, its successors or assigns.

Alternatively, Form PTO/SB/25 may be used for situation I, and Form PTO/SB/26 may be used for situation II.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. To provide examples of acceptable terminal disclaimer language in a patent (e.g., for a reexamination situation), other than for a terminal disclaimer based on activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement, use form paragraph 14.27.06.
  • 2. To provide examples of acceptable terminal disclaimer language for a terminal disclaimer based on activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement, (a) use form paragraph 14.27.07.1 for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of a patent to be granted on an application (generally, an application being examined), and (b) use form paragraph 14.27.08 for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of an existing patent (e.g., for a reexamination situation).

¶ 14.27.04.1    Examples of Acceptable Terminal Disclaimer Language in Patent To Be Granted – Application Filed On or After Sept. 16, 2012

This application was filed before September 16, 2012. Examples of acceptable language for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of any patent granted on the subject application follow:

  • I. If a Provisional Obviousness-Type Double Patenting Rejection Over A Pending Application was made, use:

    The owner, _________________________________, of ____________ percent interest in the instant application hereby disclaims the terminal part of the statutory term of any patent granted on the instant application which would extend beyond the expiration date of the full statutory term of any patent granted on pending reference Application Number ________________, filed on _____________, as the term of any patent granted on said reference application may be shortened by any terminal disclaimer filed prior to the grant of any patent on the pending reference application. The owner hereby agrees that any patent so granted on the instant application shall be enforceable only for and during such period that it and any patent granted on the reference application are commonly owned. This agreement runs with any patent granted on the instant application and is binding upon the grantee, its successors or assigns.

  • II. If an Obviousness-Type Double Patenting Rejection Over A Prior Patent was made, use:

    The owner, _________________________________, of ____________ percent interest in the instant application hereby disclaims the terminal part of the statutory term of any patent granted on the instant application which would extend beyond the expiration date of the full statutory term of prior patent No. ________________ as the term of said prior patent is presently shortened by any terminal disclaimer. The owner hereby agrees that any patent so granted on the instant application shall be enforceable only for and during such period that it and the prior patent are commonly owned. This agreement runs with any patent granted on the instant application and is binding upon the grantee, its successors or assigns.

    Alternatively, Form PTO/SB/25 may be used for situation I, and Form PTO/SB/26 may be used for situation II; a copy of each form may be found at the end of MPEP § 1490.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph may be used in an application filed before September 16, 2012 to provide examples of acceptable terminal disclaimer language in a patent (e.g., for a reexamination situation), other than for a terminal disclaimer based on activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement, use form paragraph 14.27.06.
  • 2. To provide examples of acceptable terminal disclaimer language for a terminal disclaimer based on activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement, (a) use form paragraph 14.27.07.fti for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of a patent to be granted on an application (generally, an application being examined), and (b) use form paragraph 14.27.08 for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of an existing patent (e.g., for a reexamination situation).

¶ 14.27.06    Examples of Acceptable Terminal Disclaimer Language in Patent (Reexamination Situation)

Examples of acceptable language for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of the patent being reexamined (or otherwise for an existing patent) follow:

I.If a Provisional Obviousness-Type Double Patenting Rejection Over A Pending Application was made, or is otherwise believed to be applicable to the patent, use:

The patent owner hereby disclaims the terminal part of the instant patent, which would extend beyond the expiration date of the full statutory term of any patent granted on pending Application Number ______________, filed on ______________, as the term of any patent granted on said application may be shortened by any terminal disclaimer filed prior to the grant of any patent on the pending application. The patent owner hereby agrees that the instant patent shall be enforceable only for and during such period that the instant patent and any patent granted on the above-listed pending application are commonly owned. This agreement is binding upon the patent owner, its successors, or assigns.

II. If an Obviousness-Type Double Patenting Rejection Over A Referenced Patent was made, or is otherwise believed to be applicable to the instant patent, use:

The patent owner hereby disclaims the terminal part of the instant patent, which would extend beyond the expiration date of the full statutory term of referenced patent No. ______________ as the term of said prior patent is presently shortened by any terminal disclaimer. The patent owner hereby agrees that the instant patent shall be enforceable only for and during such period that the instant patent and the referenced patent are commonly owned. This agreement is binding upon the patent owner, its successors, or assigns.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. To provide examples of acceptable terminal disclaimer language in a patent to be granted on an application (generally, an application being examined), other than for a terminal disclaimer based on activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement, use form paragraph 14.27.04.fti.
  • 2. To provide examples of acceptable terminal disclaimer language for a terminal disclaimer based on activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement, (a) use form paragraph 14.27.07for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of a patent to be granted on an application (generally, an application being examined), and (b) use form paragraph 14.27.08 for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of an existing patent (e.g., for a reexamination situation).

¶ 14.27.07.fti    Examples of Acceptable Terminal Disclaimer Language – Application Filed Before Sept. 16, 2012, Activities Undertaken Within the Scope of a Joint Research Agreement

This application was filed before September 16, 2012. Examples of acceptable language for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of any patent granted on the subject application follow:

  • I. If a Provisional Obviousness-Type Double Patenting Rejection Over A Pending Application was made, use:

    The owner, __________________, of _______ percent interest in the instant application hereby disclaims the terminal part of the statutory term of any patent granted on the instant application which would extend beyond the expiration date of the full statutory term of any patent granted on pending reference Application Number ______________, filed on ______________, as the term of any patent granted on said reference application may be shortened by any terminal disclaimer filed prior to the grant of any patent on the pending reference application.

    The owner of the instant application waives the right to separately enforce any patent granted on the instant application and any patent granted on the reference application. The owner of the instant application hereby agrees that any patent granted on the instant application and any patent granted on the reference application shall be enforceable only for and during such period that the instant application and the reference application are not separately enforced. The waiver, and this agreement, run with any patent granted on the instant application and any patent granted on the reference application, and are binding upon the owner of the instant application, its successors, or assigns.

  • II. If an Obviousness-Type Double Patenting Rejection Over A Prior Patent was made, use:

    The owner, __________________, of _______ percent interest in the instant application hereby disclaims the terminal part of the statutory term of any patent granted on the instant application which would extend beyond the expiration date of the full statutory term of prior patent No. _________________, as the term of said prior patent is presently shortened by any terminal disclaimer.

    The owner of the instant application waives the right to separately enforce the prior patent and any patent granted on the instant application. The owner of the instant application hereby agrees that the prior patent and any patent granted on the instant application shall be enforceable only for and during such period that the prior patent and any patent granted on the instant application are not separately enforced. The waiver, and this agreement, run with any patent granted on the instant application and are binding upon the owner of the instant application, its successors, or assigns.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. To provide examples of acceptable terminal disclaimer language in a patent (e.g., for a reexamination situation) for a terminal disclaimer based on activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement, use form paragraph 14.27.08.
  • 2. To provide examples of acceptable terminal disclaimer language for a terminal disclaimer in a situation other than one based on activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement, (a) use form paragraph 14.27.04.fti for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of a patent to be granted on an application (generally, an application being examined), and (b) use form paragraph 14.27.06 for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of an existing patent (e.g., for a reexamination situation).

¶ 14.27.07.1    Examples of Acceptable Terminal Disclaimer Language – Application Filed On or After Sept. 16, 2012, Activities Undertaken Within the Scope of a Joint Research Agreement

This application was filed on or after September 16, 2012. Examples of acceptable language for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of any patent granted on the subject application follow:

  • I. The applicant, __________________, owner of _______ percent interest in the instant application hereby disclaims the terminal part of the statutory term of any patent granted on the instant application which would extend beyond the expiration date of the full statutory term of any patent granted on pending reference Application Number ______________, filed on ______________, as the term of any patent granted on said reference application may be shortened by any terminal disclaimer filed prior to the grant of any patent on the pending reference application.

    The applicant of the instant application waives the right to separately enforce any patent granted on the instant application and any patent granted on the reference application. The applicant of the instant application hereby agrees that any patent granted on the instant application and any patent granted on the reference application shall be enforceable only for and during such period that the instant application and the reference application are not separately enforced. The waiver, and this agreement, run with any patent granted on the instant application and any patent granted on the reference application, and are binding upon the applicant of the instant application, its successors, or assigns.

  • II. If an Obviousness-Type Double Patenting Rejection Over A Prior Patent was made, use:

    The applicant, __________________, owner of _______ percent interest in the instant application hereby disclaims the terminal part of the statutory term of any patent granted on the instant application which would extend beyond the expiration date of the full statutory term of prior patent No. _________________, as the term of said prior patent is presently shortened by any terminal disclaimer.

    The applicant of the instant application waives the right to separately enforce the prior patent and any patent granted on the instant application. The applicant of the instant application hereby agrees that the prior patent and any patent granted on the instant application shall be enforceable only for and during such period that the prior patent and any patent granted on the instant application are not separately enforced. The waiver, and this agreement, run with any patent granted on the instant application and are binding upon the applicant of the instant application, its successors, or assigns.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. To provide examples of acceptable terminal disclaimer language in a patent (e.g., for a reexamination situation) for a terminal disclaimer based on activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement, use form paragraph 14.27.08.
  • 2. To provide examples of acceptable terminal disclaimer language for a terminal disclaimer in a situation other than one based on activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement, (a) use form paragraph 14.27.04.1 for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of a patent to be granted on an application (generally, an application being examined), and (b) use form paragraph 14.27.06 for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of an existing patent (e.g., for a reexamination situation).

¶ 14.27.08    Examples of Acceptable Terminal Disclaimer Language in Patent (Reexamination Situation; activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement)

Examples of acceptable language for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of the patent being reexamined (or otherwise for an existing patent) follow:

I. If a provisional obviousness-type double patenting rejection over a Pending Application was made, or is otherwise believed to be applicable to the patent, use:

The patent owner hereby disclaims the terminal part of the instant patent, which would extend beyond the expiration date of the full statutory term of any patent granted on pending Application Number ______________, filed on ______________, as the term of any patent granted on said application may be shortened by any terminal disclaimer filed prior to the grant of any patent on the pending application.

The patent owner waives the right to separately enforce the instant patent and the above-listed pending application. The patent owner agrees that the instant patent and any patent granted on the above-listed pending application shall be enforceable only for and during such period that the instant patent and the patent granted on the above-listed pending application are not separately enforced. The waiver, and this agreement, run with any patent granted on the above-listed pending application, and are binding upon the patent owner, its successors, or assigns.

II. If an obviousness-type double patenting rejection over a Referenced Patent was made, or is otherwise believed to be applicable to the instant patent, use:

The patent owner hereby disclaims the terminal part of the instant patent, which would extend beyond the expiration date of the full statutory term of referenced patent No. _________________, as the term of said referenced patent is presently shortened by any terminal disclaimer.

The patent owner waives the right to separately enforce the instant patent and the referenced patent. The patent owner agrees that the instant patent and the referenced patent shall be enforceable only for and during such period that the instant patent and the referenced patent are not separately enforced. The waiver, and this agreement, are binding upon the patent owner, its successors, or assigns.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. To provide examples of acceptable terminal disclaimer language in a patent to be granted on an application (generally, an application being examined) for a terminal disclaimer based on activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement, use form paragraph 14.27.07.fti (for applications filed before September 16, 2012) or form paragraph 14.27.07.1 (for applications filed on or after September 16, 2012).
  • 2. To provide examples of acceptable terminal disclaimer language for a terminal disclaimer in a situation other than one based on activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement, (a) use form paragraph 14.27.04.fti (for applications filed before September 16, 2012) or form paragraph 14.27.04.1 (for applications filed on or after September 16, 2012) for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of a patent to be granted on an application (generally, an application being examined), and (b) use form paragraph 14.27.06 for making the disclaimer of the terminal portion of an existing patent (e.g., for a reexamination situation).

¶ 14.28.fti    Failure To State Capacity To Sign – Application Filed Before Sept. 16, 2012

This application was filed before September 16, 2012. The person who signed the terminal disclaimer has failed to state his/her capacity to sign for the corporation, or other business entity or organization, and he/she has not been established as being authorized to act on behalf of the assignee.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 AND form paragraph 14.26.
  • 2. Do not use this form paragraph in an application filed on or after September 16, 2012.

¶ 14.29.fti    Not Recognized as Officer of Assignee – Application Filed Before Sept. 16, 2012,“Sub-Heading” Only

This application was filed before September 16, 2012. The person who signed the terminal disclaimer is not an attorney or agent of record, is not recognized as an officer of the assignee, and has not been established as being authorized to act on behalf of the assignee. See MPEP § 324.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph is to be used ONLY in applications filed before September 16, 2012 when the person signing the terminal disclaimer is not an authorized officer as defined in MPEP § 324 or is an attorney or agent not of record (e.g., acting in a representative capacity under 37 CFR 1.34).
  • 2. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 and followed by form paragraph 14.29.02.fti when appropriate. An attorney or agent of record is always authorized to sign the terminal disclaimer, even though there is no indication that he or she is an officer of the assignee.
  • 3. Use form paragraph 14.29.02.fti to explain how an official, other than a recognized officer, may properly sign a terminal disclaimer.

¶ 14.29.01    Attorney/Agent Not of Record

An attorney or agent, not of record, is not authorized to sign a terminal disclaimer in the capacity as an attorney or agent acting in a representative capacity as provided by 37 CFR 1.34(a). See 37 CFR 1.321(b) and/or (c).

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraphs 14.24 or 14.25 AND 14.29.
  • 2. An attorney or agent, however, may sign a terminal disclaimer provided he/she is an attorney or agent of record or is established as an appropriate official of the assignee. To suggest to the attorney or agent, not of record, how he/she may establish status as an appropriate official of the assignee to sign a terminal disclaimer, use form paragraph 14.29.02.

¶ 14.29.02.fti    Criteria To Accept Terminal Disclaimer When Signed by a Non-Recognized Officer – Application Filed Before September 16, 2012

This application was filed before September 16, 2012. It would be acceptable for a person, other than a recognized officer, to sign a terminal disclaimer, provided the record for the application includes a statement that the person is empowered to sign terminal disclaimers and/or act on behalf of the assignee.

Accordingly, a new terminal disclaimer which includes the above empowerment statement will be considered to be signed by an appropriate official of the assignee. A separately filed paper referencing the previously filed terminal disclaimer and containing a proper empowerment statement would also be acceptable.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25 AND form paragraph 14.29.fti.
  • 2. When form paragraph 14.29.fti is used to indicate that a terminal disclaimer is denied because it was not signed by a recognized officer nor by an attorney or agent of record, this form paragraph should be used to point out one way to correct the problem.
  • 3. While an indication of the person’s title is desirable, its inclusion is not mandatory when this option is employed.
  • 4. A sample terminal disclaimer should be sent with the Office action.

¶ 14.30.fti    No Evidence of Chain of Title to Assignee - Application Filed Before Sept. 16, 2012

This application was filed before September 16, 2012. The assignee has not established its ownership interest in the application, in order to support the terminal disclaimer. There is no submission in the record establishing the ownership interest by either (a) providing documentary evidence of a chain of title from the original inventor(s) to the assignee and a statement affirming that the documentary evidence of the chain of title form the original owner to the assignee was, or concurrently is being, submitted for recordation pursuant to 37 CFR 3.11, or (b) specifying (by reel and frame number) where such documentary evidence is recorded in the Office (37 CFR 3.73).

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25.
  • 2. Where an attorney or agent of record signs a terminal disclaimer, there is no need to provide a statement under 37 CFR 3.73. Thus, this form paragraph should not be used.
  • 3. It should be noted that the documentary evidence or the specifying of reel and frame number may be found in the terminal disclaimer itself or in a separate paper.

¶ 14.30.01    No Evidence of Chain of Title to Assignee (Reexamination Situations)

The assignee has not established its ownership interest in the patent, in order to support the terminal disclaimer. There is no submission in the record establishing the ownership interest by either: (a) providing documentary evidence of a chain of title from the original inventor(s) to the assignee and a statement affirming that the documentary evidence of the chain of title from the original owner to the assignee was, or concurrently is being, submitted for recordation pursuant to 37 CFR 3.11; or (b) specifying (by reel and frame number) where such documentary evidence is recorded in the Office (37 CFR 3.73).

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph or 14.25.
  • 2. Where an attorney or agent of record signs a terminal disclaimer, there is no need to provide a statement under 37 CFR 3.73. Thus, this form paragraph should not be used.
  • 3. It should be noted that the documentary evidence or the specifying of reel and frame number may be found in the terminal disclaimer itself or in a separate paper in the application.

¶ 14.30.02.fti    Evidence of Chain of Title to Assignee - Submission Not Signed by Appropriate Party – Application Filed Before Sept. 16, 2012, Terminal Disclaimer Is Thus Not Entered

This application was filed before September 16, 2012. The submission establishing the ownership interest of the assignee is informal. There is no indication of record that the party who signed the submission establishing the ownership interest is authorized to sign the submission (37 CFR 3.73).

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25.
  • 2. Where an attorney or agent of record signs a terminal disclaimer, there is no need to provide any statement under 37 CFR 3.73. Thus, this form paragraph should not be used.
  • 3. This form paragraph should be followed by one of form paragraphs 14.16.02 or 14.16.03. In rare situations where BOTH form paragraphs 14.16.02 and 14.16.03 do not apply and thus cannot be used, the examiner should instead follow this form paragraph with a detailed statement of why there is no authorization to sign.
  • 4. Use form paragraph 14.16.06 to point out one way to correct the problem.
  • 5. Do not use this form paragraph in an application filed on or after September 16, 2012.

¶ 14.32    Application/Patent Which Forms Basis for Rejection Not Identified

The application/patent which forms the basis for the double patenting rejection is not identified in the terminal disclaimer.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph MUST be preceded by form paragraph 14.24 or 14.25.
  • 2. Use this form paragraph when no information is presented. If incorrect information is contained in the terminal disclaimer, use form paragraphs 14.26 and 14.26.05.

¶ 14.33    37 CFR 3.73 - Establishing Right of Assignee To Take Action

The following is a statement of 37 CFR 3.73 as applicable to applications filed on or after September 16, 2012:

37 CFR 3.73 Establishing right of assignee to take action.

(a) The original applicant is presumed to be the owner of an application for an original patent, and any patent that may issue therefrom, unless there is an assignment. The original applicant is presumed to be the owner of a trademark application or registration, unless there is an assignment.

(b) In order to request or take action in a trademark matter, the assignee must establish its ownership of the trademark property of paragraph (a) of this section to the satisfaction of the Director. The establishment of ownership by the assignee may be combined with the paper that requests or takes the action. Ownership is established by submitting to the Office a signed statement identifying the assignee, accompanied by either:

(1) Documentary evidence of a chain of title from the original owner to the assignee (e.g., copy of an executed assignment). The documents submitted to establish ownership may be required to be recorded pursuant to § 3.11 in the assignment records of the Office as a condition to permitting the assignee to take action in a matter pending before the Office; or

(2) A statement specifying where documentary evidence of a chain of title from the original owner to the assignee is recorded in the assignment records of the Office (e.g., reel and frame number).

(c)(1) In order to request or take action in a patent matter, an assignee who is not the original applicant must establish its ownership of the patent property of paragraph (a) of this section to the satisfaction of the Director. The establishment of ownership by the assignee may be combined with the paper that requests or takes the action. Ownership is established bu submitting a signed statement identifying the assignee, accompanied by either:

(i) Documentary evidence of a chain of title from the original owner to the assignee (e.g., copy of an executed assignment). The submission of the documentary evidence must be accompanied by a statement affirming that the documentary evidence of the chain of title from the original owner to the assignee was or concurrently is being submitted for recordation pursuant to § 3.11; or

(ii) A statement specifying where documentary evidence of a chain of title from the original owner to the assignee is recorded in the assignment records of the Office (e.g., reel and frame number).

(2) If the submission is by an assignee of less than the entire right, title and interest (e.g., more than one assignee exists) the Office may refuse to accept the submission as an establishment of ownership unless:

(i) Each assignee establishes the extent (by percentage) of its ownership interest, so as to account for the entire right, title and interest in the application or patent by all parties including inventors; or

(ii) Each assignee submits a statement identifying the parties including inventors who together own the entire right, title and interest and stating that all the identified parties owns the entire right, title and interest.

(3) If two or more purported assignees file conflicting statements under paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the Director will determine while, if any, purported assignees will be permitted to control prosecution of the application.

(d) The submission establishing ownership under paragraph (b) or (c) of this section must show that the person signing the submission is a person authorized to act on behalf of the assignee by:

(1) Including a statement that the person is authorized to act on behalf of the assignee;

(2) Being signed by a person having apparent authority to sign on behalf of the assignee; or

(3) For patent matters only, being signed by a practitioner of record.

The following is a statement of pre-AIA 37 CFR 3.73 as applicable to applications filed before September 16, 2012:

Pre-AIA 37 CFR 3.73 Establishing right of assignee to take action.

(a) The inventor is presumed to be the owner of a patent application, and any patent that may issue therefrom, unless there is an assignment. The original applicant is presumed to be the owner of a trademark application or registration, unless there is an assignment.

(b)(1) In order to request or take action in a patent or trademark matter, the assignee must establish its ownership of the patent or trademark property of paragraph (a) of this section to the satisfaction of the Director. The establishment of ownership by the assignee may be combined with the paper that requests or takes the action. Ownership is established by submitting to the Office a signed statement identifying the assignee, accompanied by either:

(i) Documentary evidence of a chain of title from the original owner to the assignee (e.g., copy of an executed assignment). For trademark matters only, the documents submitted to establish ownership may be required to be recorded pursuant to § 3.11 in the assignment records of the Office as a condition to permitting the assignee to take action in a matter pending before the Office. For patent matters only, the submission of the documentary evidence must be accompanied by a statement affirming that the documentary evidence of the chain of title from the original owner to the assignee was, or concurrently is being, submitted for recordation pursuant to § 3.11; or
(ii) A statement specifying where documentary evidence of a chain of title from the original owner to the assignee is recorded in the assignment records of the Office (e.g., reel and frame number).

(2) The submission establishing ownership must show that the person signing the submission is a person authorized to act on behalf of the assignee by:

(i) Including a statement that the person signing the submission is authorized to act on behalf of the assignee; or

(ii) Being signed by a person having apparent authority to sign on behalf of the assignee, e.g., an officer of the assignee.

(c) For patent matters only:

(1) Establishment of ownership by the assignee must be submitted prior to, or at the same time as, the paper requesting or taking action is submitted.

(2) If the submission under this section is by an assignee of less than the entire right, title and interest, such assignee must indicate the extent (by percentage) of its ownership interest, or the Office may refuse to accept the submission as an establishment of ownership.

¶ 14.34    Requirement for Statement To Record Assignment Submitted With Terminal Disclaimer

The assignment document filed on [1] is not acceptable as the documentary evidence required by 37 CFR 3.73. The submission of the documentary evidence was not accompanied by a statement affirming that the documentary evidence of the chain of title from the original owner to the assignee was, or concurrently is being, submitted for recordation pursuant to 37 CFR 3.11. See 37 CFR 3.11 and MPEP § 302.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert the date the assignment document was filed.
  • 2. This form paragraph should be used when an assignment document (an original, facsimile, or copy) is submitted to satisfy 37 CFR 3.73 was not accompanied by a statement affirming that the documentary evidence of the chain of title from the original owner to the assignee was, or concurrently is being, submitted for recordation, and the documentary evidence has not been recorded among the assignment records of the Office.

¶ 14.35    Disclaimer Fee Not Required Twice - Applicant

It should be noted that applicant is not required to pay another disclaimer fee as set forth in 37 CFR 1.20(d) when submitting a replacement or supplemental terminal disclaimer.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph can be used to notify an applicant that another disclaimer fee will not be required when a replacement or supplemental terminal disclaimer is submitted.
  • 2. Use form paragraph 14.35.01 for providing notification to patent owner, rather than an applicant.

¶ 14.35.01    Disclaimer Fee Not Required Twice - Patent Owner

It should be noted that patent owner is not required to pay another disclaimer fee as set forth in 37 CFR 1.20(d) when submitting a replacement or supplemental terminal disclaimer.

Examiner Note:

This form paragraph can be used to notify a patent owner that another disclaimer fee will not be required when a replacement or supplemental terminal disclaimer is submitted.

¶ 14.36    Suggestion That “Applicant” Request a Refund

Since the required fee for the terminal disclaimer was previously paid, applicant’s payment of an additional terminal disclaimer fee is not required. Applicant may request a refund of this additional terminal disclaimer fee by submitting a written request for a refund and a copy of this Office action to: Mail Stop 16, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph should be used to notify applicant that a refund can be obtained if another terminal disclaimer fee was paid when a replacement or supplemental terminal disclaimer was submitted.
  • 2. Note - If applicant has authorized or requested a fee refund to be credited to a specific Deposit Account or credit card, then an appropriate credit should be made to that Deposit Account or credit card and this paragraph should NOT be used.
  • 3. Use form paragraph 14.36.01 for providing notification to patent owner, rather than an applicant.

¶ 14.36.01    Suggestion That “Patent Owner” Request a Refund

Since the required fee for the terminal disclaimer was previously paid, patent owner’s payment of an additional terminal disclaimer fee is not required. Patent owner may request a refund of this additional terminal disclaimer fee by submitting a written request for a refund and a copy of this Office action to: Mail Stop 16, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph should be used to notify patent owner that a refund can be obtained if another terminal disclaimer fee was paid when a replacement or supplemental terminal disclaimer was submitted.
  • 2. Note - If patent owner has authorized or requested a fee refund to be credited to a specific Deposit Account or credit card, then an appropriate credit should be made to that Deposit Account or credit card and this form paragraph should NOT be used.

¶ 14.37    Information about a Terminal Disclaimer Over a Pending Application

A terminal disclaimer may be effective to overcome a provisional obviousness-type double patenting rejection over a pending application (37 CFR 1.321(b) and (c)).

The USPTO internet Web site contains terminal disclaimer forms which may be used. Please visit http://www.uspto.gov/forms/. The filing date of the application will determine what form should be used. A web-based eTerminal Disclaimer may be filled out completely online using web-screens. An eTerminal Disclaimer that meets all requirements is auto-processed and approved immediately upon submission. For more information about eTerminal Disclaimers, refer to http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/file/efs/guidance/eTD-info-I.jsp.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph can be used to provide applicant information regarding the terminal disclaimer forms available on the USPTO web site that may be used to overcome a provisional obviousness-type double patenting rejection over a pending application.

¶ 14.38    Information about a Terminal Disclaimer Over a Prior Patent

A terminal disclaimer may be effective to overcome an obviousness-type double patenting rejection over a prior patent (37 CFR 1.321(b) and (c)).

The USPTO internet Web site contains terminal disclaimer forms which may be used. Please visit http://www.uspto.gov/forms/. The filing date of the application will determine what form should be used. A web-based eTerminal Disclaimer may be filled out completely online using web-screens. An eTerminal Disclaimer that meets all requirements is auto-processed and approved immediately upon submission. For more information about eTerminal Disclaimers, refer to http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/file/efs/guidance/eTD-info-I.jsp.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph can be used to provide applicant information regarding the terminal disclaimer forms available on the USPTO web site that may be used to overcome an obviousness-type double patenting rejection over a prior patent.

VIII.   WITHDRAWING A RECORDED TERMINAL DISCLAIMER

If timely requested, a recorded terminal disclaimer may be withdrawn before the application in which it is filed issues as a patent, or in a reexamination proceeding, before the reexamination certificate issues. After a patent or reexamination certificate issues, it is unlikely that a recorded terminal disclaimer will be nullified.

  A. Before Issuance Of Patent

While the filing and recordation of an unnecessary terminal disclaimer has been characterized as an “unhappy circumstance” in In re Jentoft, 392 F.2d 633, 157 USPQ 363 (CCPA 1968), there is no statutory prohibition against nullifying or otherwise canceling the effect of a recorded terminal disclaimer which was erroneously filed before the patent issues. Because the terminal disclaimer would not take effect until the patent is granted, and the public has not had the opportunity to rely on the terminal disclaimer, relief from this unhappy circumstance may be available by way of petition or by refiling the application (other than by refiling it as a CPA).

Under appropriate circumstances, consistent with the orderly administration of the examination process, the nullification of a recorded terminal disclaimer may be addressed by filing a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 requesting withdrawal of the recorded terminal disclaimer. Petitions seeking to reopen the question of the propriety of the double patenting rejection that prompted the filing of the terminal disclaimer have not been favorably considered. The filing of a continuing application other than a CPA, while abandoning the application in which the terminal disclaimer has been filed, will typically nullify the effect of a terminal disclaimer. The filing of a Request for Continued Examination (RCE) of an application under 37 CFR 1.114 will not nullify the effect of a terminal disclaimer, because a new application has not been filed, but rather prosecution has been continued in the existing application.

  B. After Issuance Of Patent

The mechanisms to correct a patent — Certificate of Correction (35 U.S.C. 255), reissue (35 U.S.C. 251), reexamination (35 U.S.C. 305 and pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 314), inter partes review (35 U.S.C. 316), post grant review (35 U.S.C. 326), and covered business method review — are not available to withdraw or otherwise nullify the effect of a recorded terminal disclaimer. As a general principle, public policy does not favor the restoration to the patent owner of something that has been freely dedicated to the public, particularly where the public interest is not protected in some manner — e.g., intervening rights in the case of a reissue patent. See, e.g., Altoona Publix Theatres v. American Tri-Ergon Corp., 294 U.S. 477, 24 USPQ 308 (1935).

Certificates of Correction (35 U.S.C. 255) are available for the correction of an applicant’s mistake. The scope of this remedial provision is limited in two ways — by the nature of the mistake for which correction is sought and the nature of the proposed correction. In re Arnott, 19 USPQ2d 1049 (Comm’r Pat. 1991). The nature of the mistake for which correction is sought is limited to those mistakes that are:

  • (A) of a clerical nature;
  • (B) of a typographical nature; or
  • (C) of a minor character.

The nature of the proposed correction is limited to those situations where the correction does not involve changes which would:

(A) constitute new matter, or (B) require reexamination.

A mistake in filing a terminal disclaimer does not fall within any of the categories of mistake for which a certificate of correction of applicant’s mistake is permissible, and any attempt to remove or nullify the effect of the terminal disclaimer would typically require reconsideration of the circumstances under which it was filed.

Although the remedial nature of reissue (35 U.S.C. 251) is well recognized, reissue is not available to correct all errors.Reissue is not available to withdraw or otherwise nullify the effect of a terminal disclaimer recorded in an issued patent. First, the reissue statute only authorizes the Director of the USPTO to reissue a patent “for the unexpired part of the term of the original patent.” Because the granting of a reissue patent without the effect of a recorded terminal disclaimer would result in extending the term of the original patent, reissue under these circumstances would be contrary to the statute. In In re Yamazaki, 702 F.3d 1327, 1332, 104 USPQ2d 2024, 2028 (Fed. Cir, 2012), the Federal Circuit stated, as to a terminal disclaimer submitted for a patent, that the statutory patent term calculation begins but does not end with 35 U.S.C. 154(a). When a patent issues subject to a terminal disclaimer, the patentee has reduced the patent’s statutory term by effectively eliminating the disclaimed portion from the original patent, by operation of 35 U.S.C. 253 (which indicates that a disclaimer of patent claims “shall thereafter be considered as part of the original patent” and such applies to disclaimers of patent term). Id.

Second, the principle against recapturing previously patented subject matter that has been intentionally dedicated to the public dates back to Leggett v. Avery, 101 U.S. 256 (1879). The attempt to restore that portion of the patent term that was dedicated to the public to secure the grant of the original patent would be contrary to this recapture principle. Finally, applicants have the opportunity to challenge the need for a terminal disclaimer during the prosecution of the application that issues as a patent. “Reissue is not a substitute for Patent Office appeal procedures.” Ball Corp. v. United States, 729 F.2d 1429, 1435, 221 USPQ 289, 293 (Fed. Cir. 1984). Where applicants did not challenge the propriety of the examiner’s nonstatutory double patenting rejection, but filed a terminal disclaimer to avoid the rejection, the filing of the terminal disclaimer did not constitute error within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. 251. Ex parte Anthony, 230 USPQ 467 (Bd. App. 1982), aff’d, No. 84-1357 (Fed. Cir. June 14, 1985).

Finally, the nullification of a recorded terminal disclaimer would not be appropriate in reexamination inter partes review, post grant review, and covered business method review proceedings. There are statutory prohibitions in 35 U.S.C. 305 and pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 314, 35 U.S.C. 316, and 35 U.S.C. 326 against enlarging the scope of a claim during reexamination inter partes review, post grant review, and covered business method review proceedings. As noted by the Board in Anthony,supra, if a terminal disclaimer was nullified, “claims would be able to be sued upon for a longer period than would the claims of the original patent. Therefore, the vertical scope, as opposed to the horizontal scope (where the subject matter is enlarged), would be enlarged.” Id. at 470.

Where a terminal disclaimer was submitted to overcome a nonstatutory double patenting rejection (made during prosecution of an application which has now issued as a patent), and the numbers for the patent being disclaimed in the terminal disclaimer were inadvertently transposed (e.g., 6,444,316 written as 6,444,136), a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 may be filed to withdraw the terminal disclaimer with the incorrect (transposed) patent number (recorded in the issued patent), and replace it with a corrected terminal disclaimer having the correct patent number. In this instance, the inadvertency is clear from the record. If the transposing error resulted in an earlier patent term expiration date than provided by the corrected terminal disclaimer, a statement must be included in the corrected terminal disclaimer that the term is limited to the shorter expiration date of the orginal terminal disclaimer or the corrected terminal disclaimer. The absence of such a statement will result in the Office entering the second disclaimer and not withdrawing the original disclaimer.

IX.   TERMINAL DISCLAIMER FORMS

The following are forms which may be used when filing a terminal disclaimer.

Forms PTO/AIA/25 and PTO/AIA/26 may be used when filing a terminal disclaimer in an application where the application in which the terminal disclaimer is submitted was filed on or after September 16, 2012. Forms PTO/SB/25 and PTO/SB/26 may be used when filing a terminal disclaimer in an application where the application in which the terminal disclaimer is submitted was filed before September 16, 2012.

Forms PTO/SB/25a and PTO/SB/26a may be used when filing a terminal disclaimer in a patent.

AIA Terminal Disclaimer Page 1
AIA Terminal Disclaimer Page 2
PTO/AIA/26 TERMINAL DISCLAIMER TO OBVIATE A DOUBLE PATENTING REJECTION OVER A "PRIOR" PATENT
AIA Terminal Disclaimer Double Patenting Page 2
SB Terminal Disclaimer Double Patenting Page 1
SB Terminal Disclaimer Double Patenting
SB Terminal Disclaimer Prior Double Patenting Rejection Page 1
SB Terminal Disclaimer Prior Double Patenting Rejection Page 2
PTO/SB/25a TERMINAL DISCLAIMER IN A PATENT OR PROCEEDING IN VIEW OF AN APPLICATION
Privacy Act Statement
PTO/SB/26a TERMINAL DISCLAIMER IN A PATENT OR PROCEEDING IN VIEW OF ANOTHER PATENT
Privacty Act Statement

[top]

 

United States Patent and Trademark Office
This page is owned by Patents.
Last Modified: 03/27/2014 10:10:33