37 C.F.R. 1.167 Examination.
Applications may be submitted by the Patent and Trademark Office to the Department of Agriculture for study and report.
The authority for submitting plant applications to the Department of Agriculture for report is given in:
Executive Order No. 5464, October 17, 1930. Facilitating the consideration of applications for plant patents.
I, Herbert Hoover, President of the United States of America, under the authority conferred upon me by act of May 23, 1930 (Public No. 245) [now 35 U.S.C. 164], entitled “An act to provide for plant patents,” and by virtue of all other powers vested in me relating thereto, do hereby direct the Secretary of Agriculture: (1) to furnish the Commissioner of Patents such available information of the Department of Agriculture, or (2) to conduct through the appropriate bureau or division of the department such research upon special problems, or (3) to detail to the Commissioner of Patents such officers and employees of the department, as the Commissioner may request for the purpose of carrying said act into effect.
35 U.S.C. 164 Assistance of Department of Agriculture.
The President may by Executive order direct the Secretary of Agriculture, in accordance with the requests of the Director, for the purpose of carrying into effect the provisions of this title with respect to plants (1) to furnish available information of the Department of Agriculture, (2) to conduct through the appropriate bureau or division of the Department research upon special problems, or (3) to detail to the Director officers and employees of the Department.
Plant applications are subject to the same examination process as any other national application. As such, the statutory provisions with regard to patentable subject matter, utility, novelty, obviousness, disclosure, and claim specificity requirements apply (35 U.S.C. 101, 102, 103, and 112). The sole exception in terms of applicability of these statutory provisions is set forth in 35 U.S.C. 162.
The prior art considered by the examiner is developed by a search of appropriate subclasses of the United States patent classification system as well as patent and nonpatent literature data bases. Where appropriate, a report may be obtained from the Agricultural Research Service, Horticultural Research Branch, Department of Agriculture.