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1893    National Stage (U.S. National Application Filed Under 35 U.S.C. 371) [R-07.2015]

There are three types of U.S. national applications: a national stage application under 35 U.S.C. 371), a regular domestic national application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), and a provisional application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(b). See 37 CFR 1.9.

An applicant who uses the Patent Cooperation Treaty gains the benefit of:

  • (A) a delay in the time when papers must be submitted to the national offices;
  • (B) an international search (to judge the level of the relevant prior art) and a written opinion on the question of whether the claimed invention appears to be novel, to involve an inventive step (to be non-obvious), and to be industrially applicable before having to expend resources for filing fees, translations and other costs;
  • (C) a delay in the expenditure of fees;
  • (D) additional time for research;
  • (E) additional time to evaluate financial, marketing, commercial and other considerations; and
  • (F) the option of obtaining international preliminary examination.

The time delay is, however, the benefit most often recognized as primary. Ultimately, applicant might choose to submit the national stage application. The national stage is unique compared to a domestic national application in that:

  • (A) it is submitted later (i.e., normally 30 months from a claimed priority date as compared to 12 months for a domestic application claiming priority); and
  • (B) the status of the prior art is generally known before the national stage begins and this is not necessarily so in a domestic national application.
IDENTIFICATION OF THE NATIONAL STAGE APPLICATION

Once an international application entering the U.S. national phase (“national stage application”) has been accorded a U.S. application number (the two digit series code followed by a six digit serial number), that number should be used whenever papers or other communications are directed to the USPTO regarding the national stage application. See 37 CFR 1.5(a). The national stage application is tracked through the Patent Application Locating and Monitoring (PALM) system by the eight digit U.S. application number. Therefore, processing is expedited if the U.S. application number is indicated. The international application number, international filing date, and the national stage entry date under 35 U.S.C. 371 (if such has been accorded) should also be included, as such would also be helpful for identification purposes and can be used to cross-check a possibly erroneous U.S. application number.

1893.01   Commencement and Entry [R-07.2015]

35 U.S.C. 371  National stage: Commencement.

  • (a) Receipt from the International Bureau of copies of international applications with any amendments to the claims, international search reports, and international preliminary examination reports including any annexes thereto may be required in the case of international applications designating or electing the United States.
  • (b) Subject to subsection (f) of this section, the national stage shall commence with the expiration of the applicable time limit under article 22(1) or (2), or under article 39(1)(a) of the treaty.
  • (c) The applicant shall file in the Patent and Trademark Office —
    • (1) the national fee provided in section 41(a);
    • (2) a copy of the international application, unless not required under subsection (a) of this section or already communicated by the International Bureau, and a translation into the English language of the international application, if it was filed in another language;
    • (3) amendments, if any, to the claims in the international application, made under article 19 of the treaty, unless such amendments have been communicated to the Patent and Trademark Office by the International Bureau, and a translation into the English language if such amendments were made in another language;
    • (4) an oath or declaration of the inventor (or other person authorized under chapter 11) complying with the requirements of section 115 and with regulations prescribed for oaths or declarations of applicants;
    • (5) a translation into the English language of any annexes to the international preliminary examination report, if such annexes were made in another language.
  • (d) The requirement with respect to the national fee referred to in subsection (c)(1), the translation referred to in subsection (c)(2), and the oath or declaration referred to in subsection (c)(4) of this section shall be complied with by the date of the commencement of the national stage or by such later time as may be fixed by the Director. The copy of the international application referred to in subsection (c)(2) shall be submitted by the date of the commencement of the national stage. Failure to comply with these requirements shall be regarded as abandonment of the application by the parties thereof, unless it be shown to the satisfaction of the Director that such failure to comply was unavoidable. The payment of a surcharge may be required as a condition of accepting the national fee referred to in subsection (c)(1) or the oath or declaration referred to in subsection (c)(4) of this section if these requirements are not met by the date of the commencement of the national stage. The requirements of subsection (c)(3) of this section shall be complied with by the date of the commencement of the national stage, and failure to do so shall be regarded as a cancellation of the amendments to the claims in the international application made under article 19 of the treaty. The requirement of subsection (c)(5) shall be complied with at such time as may be fixed by the Director and failure to do so shall be regarded as cancellation of the amendments made under article 34(2)(b) of the treaty.
  • (e) After an international application has entered the national stage, no patent may be granted or refused thereon before the expiration of the applicable time limit under article 28 or article 41 of the treaty, except with the express consent of the applicant. The applicant may present amendments to the specification, claims, and drawings of the application after the national stage has commenced.
  • (f) At the express request of the applicant, the national stage of processing may be commenced at any time at which the application is in order for such purpose and the applicable requirements of subsection (c) of this section have been complied with.

37 CFR 1.491 National stage commencement, entry, and fulfillment.

[Editor Note: Applicable to patent applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 363 on or after September 16, 2012]

37 CFR 1.491 (pre-AIA) National stage commencement and entry.

[Editor Note: Applicable to patent applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 363 prior to September 16, 2012]

Subject to 35 U.S.C. 371(f), commencement of the national stage occurs upon expiration of the applicable time limit under PCT Article 22(1) or (2), or under PCT Article 39(1)(a). See 35 U.S.C. 371(b) and 37 CFR 1.491(a). PCT Articles 22(1), 22(2), and 39(1)(a) provide for a time limit of not later than the expiration of 30 months from the priority date. Thus, in the absence of an express request for early processing of an international application under 35 U.S.C. 371(f) and compliance with the conditions provided therein, the U.S. national stage will commence upon expiration of 30 months from the priority date of the international application. Pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 371(f), the national stage may commence earlier than 30 months from the priority date, provided applicant makes an express request for early processing and has complied with the applicable requirements under 35 U.S.C. 371(c).

Entry into the national stage occurs upon completion of certain acts, as provided in 37 CFR 1.491(b). For international applications having an international filing date before September 16, 2012, the international application enters the national stage when the applicant has filed the documents and fees required by 35 U.S.C. 371(c) within the period set in 37 CFR 1.495. For international applications having an international filing date on or after September 16, 2012, the international application enters the national stage when the applicant has filed the documents and fees required by 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(1)and (2) within the period set in 37 CFR 1.495. Thus, for international applications having an international filing date on or after September 16, 2012, submission of the oath or declaration of the inventor under 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4) is not required to enter the U.S. national phase.

1893.01(a)   Entry via the U.S. Designated or Elected Office [R-07.2015]

PCT Article 2

Definitions

*****

  • (xiii) “designated Office” means the national Office of or acting for the State designated by the applicant under Chapter I of this Treaty;
  • (xiv) “elected Office” means the national Office of or acting for the State elected by the applicant under Chapter II of this Treaty;

*****

37 CFR 1.414 The United States Patent and Trademark Office as a Designated Office or Elected Office.

  • (a) The United States Patent and Trademark Office will act as a Designated Office or Elected Office for international applications in which the United States of America has been designated or elected as a State in which patent protection is desired.
  • (b) The United States Patent and Trademark Office, when acting as a Designated Office or Elected Office during international processing will be identified by the full title “United States Designated Office” or by the abbreviation “DO/US” or by the full title “United States Elected Office” or by the abbreviation “EO/US.”
  • (c) The major functions of the United States Designated Office or Elected Office in respect to international applications in which the United States of America has been designated or elected, include:
    • (1) Receiving various notifications throughout the international stage and
    • (2) National stage processing for international applications entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371.

An international application designating the U.S. will enter the national stage via the U.S. Designated Office unless a Demand electing the U.S. is filed under PCT Article 31 whereupon entry will be via the U.S. Elected Office.

1893.01(a)(1)   Submissions Required by 30 Months from the Priority Date [R-07.2015]

37 CFR 1.495 Entering the national stage in the United States of America.

[Editor Note: Applicable to patent applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 363 on or after September 16, 2012]

  • (a) The applicant in an international application must fulfill the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 371 within the time periods set forth in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section in order to prevent the abandonment of the international application as to the United States of America. The thirty-month time period set forth in paragraphs (b), (c), (d), (e) and (h) of this section may not be extended.
  • (b) To avoid abandonment of the application, the applicant shall furnish to the United States Patent and Trademark Office not later than the expiration of thirty months from the priority date:
    • (1) A copy of the international application, unless it has been previously communicated by the International Bureau or unless it was originally filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office; and
    • (2) The basic national fee (see § 1.492(a)).
  • (c)
    • (1) If applicant complies with paragraph (b) of this section before expiration of thirty months from the priority date, the Office will notify the applicant if he or she has omitted any of:
      • (i) A translation of the international application, as filed, into the English language, if it was originally filed in another language and if any English language translation of the publication of the international application previously submitted under 35 U.S.C. 154(d)1.417 ) is not also a translation of the international application as filed (35 U.S.C. 371(c)(2));
      • (ii) The inventor’s oath or declaration (35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4) and § 1.497), if a declaration of inventorship in compliance with §1.63 has not been previously submitted in the international application under PCT Rule 4.17(iv) within the time limits provided for in PCT Rule 26ter.1;
      • (iii) The search fee set forth in § 1.492(b);
      • (iv) The examination fee set forth in § 1.492(c); and
      • (v) Any application size fee required by § 1.492(j);
    • (2) A notice under paragraph (c)(1) of this section will set a time period within which applicant must provide any omitted translation, search fee set forth in § 1.492(b), examination fee set forth in § 1.492(c), and any application size fee required by § 1.492(j) in order to avoid abandonment of the application.
    • (3) The inventor’s oath or declaration must also be filed within the period specified in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, except that the filing of the inventor’s oath or declaration may be postponed until the application is otherwise in condition for allowance under the conditions specified in paragraphs (c)(3)(i) through (c)(3)(iii) of this section.
      • (i) The application contains an application data sheet in accordance with § 1.76 filed prior to the expiration of the time period set in any notice under paragraph (c)(1) identifying:
        • (A) Each inventor by his or her legal name;
        • (B) A mailing address where the inventor customarily receives mail, and residence, if an inventor lives at a location which is different from where the inventor customarily receives mail, for each inventor.
      • (ii) The applicant must file each required oath or declaration in compliance with § 1.63, or substitute statement in compliance with § 1.64, no later than the date on which the issue fee for the patent is paid. If the applicant is notified in a notice of allowability that an oath or declaration in compliance with § 1.63, or substitute statement in compliance with § 1.64, executed by or with respect to each named inventor has not been filed, the applicant must file each required oath or declaration in compliance with § 1.63, or substitute statement in compliance with § 1.64, no later than the date on which the issue fee is paid to avoid abandonment. This time period is not extendable under § 1.136 (see § 1.136(c)). The Office may dispense with the notice provided for in paragraph (c)(1) of this section if each required oath or declaration in compliance with § 1.63, or substitute statement in compliance with § 1.64, has been filed before the application is in condition for allowance.
      • (iii) An international application in which the basic national fee under 35 U.S.C. 41(a)(1)(F) has been paid and for which an application data sheet in accordance with § 1.76 has been filed may be treated as complying with 35 U.S.C. 371 for purposes of eighteen-month publication under 35 U.S.C. 122(b) and § 1.211 et seq.
    • (4) The payment of the processing fee set forth in § 1.492(i) is required for acceptance of an English translation later than the expiration of thirty months after the priority date. The payment of the surcharge set forth in § 1.492(h) is required for acceptance of any of the search fee, the examination fee, or the inventor’s oath or declaration after the date of the commencement of the national stage (§ 1.491(a)).
    • (5) A “Sequence Listing” need not be translated if the “Sequence Listing” complies with PCT Rule 12.1(d) and the description complies with PCT Rule 5.2(b).
  • (d) A copy of any amendments to the claims made under PCT Article 19, and a translation of those amendments into English, if they were made in another language, must be furnished not later than the expiration of thirty months from the priority date. Amendments under PCT Article 19 which are not received by the expiration of thirty months from the priority date will be considered to be canceled.
  • (e) A translation into English of any annexes to an international preliminary examination report (if applicable), if the annexes were made in another language must be furnished not later than the expiration of thirty months from the priority date. Translations of the annexes which are not received by the expiration of thirty months from the priority date may be submitted within any period set pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section accompanied by the processing fee set forth in § 1.492(f). Annexes for which translations are not timely received will be considered canceled.
  • (f) Verification of the translation of the international application or any other document pertaining to an international application may be required where it is considered necessary, if the international application or other document was filed in a language other than English.
  • (g) The documents and fees submitted under paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section must be identified as a submission to enter the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371. If the documents and fees contain conflicting indications as between an application under 35 U.S.C. 111 and a submission to enter the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371, the documents and fees will be treated as a submission to enter the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371.
  • (h) An international application becomes abandoned as to the United States thirty months from the priority date if the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section have not been complied with within thirty months from the priority date.

37 CFR 1.495 (pre-AIA) Entering the national stage in the United States of America.

[Editor Note: Applicable to patent applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 363 prior to September 16, 2012]

  • (a) The applicant in an international application must fulfill the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 371 within the time periods set forth in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section in order to prevent the abandonment of the international application as to the United States of America. The thirty-month time period set forth in paragraphs (b), (c), (d), (e) and (h) of this section may not be extended. International applications for which those requirements are timely fulfilled will enter the national stage and obtain an examination as to the patentability of the invention in the United States of America.
  • (b) To avoid abandonment of the application, the applicant shall furnish to the United States Patent and Trademark Office not later than the expiration of thirty months from the priority date:
    • (1) A copy of the international application, unless it has been previously communicated by the International Bureau or unless it was originally filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office; and
    • (2) The basic national fee (see § 1.492(a)).
  • (c)
    • (1) If applicant complies with paragraph (b) of this section before expiration of thirty months from the priority date, the Office will notify the applicant if he or she has omitted any of:
      • (i) A translation of the international application, as filed, into the English language, if it was originally filed in another language and if any English language translation of the publication of the international application previously submitted under 35 U.S.C. 154(d) (§ 1.417) is not also a translation of the international application as filed (35 U.S.C. 371(c)(2));
      • (ii) The oath or declaration of the inventor (35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4) and § 1.497), if a declaration of inventorship in compliance with § 1.497 has not been previously submitted in the international application under PCT Rule 4.17(iv) within the time limits provided for in PCT Rule 26ter.1;
      • (iii) The search fee set forth in § 1.492(b);
      • (iv) The examination fee set forth in §1.492(c); and
      • (v) Any application size fee required by §1.492(j);
    • (2) A notice under paragraph (c)(1) of this section will set a time period within which applicant must provide any omitted translation, oath or declaration of the inventor, search fee set forth in § 1.492(b), examination fee set forth in § 1.492(c), and any application size fee required by § 1.492(j) in order to avoid abandonment of the application.
    • (3) The payment of the processing fee set forth in § 1.492(i) is required for acceptance of an English translation later than the expiration of thirty months after the priority date. The payment of the surcharge set forth in § 1.492(h) is required for acceptance of any of the search fee, the examination fee, or the oath or declaration of the inventor after the date of the commencement of the national stage (§ 1.491(a)).
    • (4) A “Sequence Listing” need not be translated if the “Sequence Listing” complies with PCT Rule 12.1(d) and the description complies with PCT Rule 5.2(b).
  • (d) A copy of any amendments to the claims made under PCT Article 19, and a translation of those amendments into English, if they were made in another language, must be furnished not later than the expiration of thirty months from the priority date. Amendments under PCT Article 19 which are not received by the expiration of thirty months from the priority date will be considered to be canceled.
  • (e) A translation into English of any annexes to an international preliminary examination report (if applicable), if the annexes were made in another language must be furnished not later than the expiration of thirty months from the priority date. Translations of the annexes which are not received by the expiration of thirty months from the priority date may be submitted within any period set pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section accompanied by the processing fee set forth in § 1.492(f). Annexes for which translations are not timely received will be considered canceled.
  • (f) Verification of the translation of the international application or any other document pertaining to an international application may be required where it is considered necessary, if the international application or other document was filed in a language other than English.
  • (g) The documents and fees submitted under paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section must be clearly identified as a submission to enter the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371. Otherwise, the submission will be considered as being made under 35 U.S.C. 111(a).
  • (h) An international application becomes abandoned as to the United States thirty months from the priority date if the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section have not been complied with within thirty months from the priority date. If the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section are complied with within thirty months from the priority date but either of any required translation of the international application as filed or the oath or declaration are not timely filed, an international application will become abandoned as to the United States upon expiration of the time period set pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section.

To avoid abandonment of an international application as to the United States, applicant is required to comply with 37 CFR 1.495(b) within 30 months from the priority date. Thus, applicant must pay the basic national fee not later than the expiration of 30 months from the priority date and be sure that a copy of the international application has been received by the U.S. Designated or Elected Office not later than the expiration of 30 months from the priority date. Where the international application was filed with the United States Receiving Office as the competent receiving Office, the copy of the international application referred to in 37 CFR 1.495(b) is not required.

It is preferable to file the required national stage items online using the EFS-Web system (further information regarding EFS-Web is available at www.uspto.gov/ebc/efs_help.html). Applicants may also file these items using the Priority Mail Express® mailing procedure set forth in 37 CFR 1.10. Facsimile transmission is not acceptable for submission of the basic national fee and/or the copy of the international application. See 37 CFR 1.6(d). Likewise, the certificate of mailing procedures of 37 CFR 1.8 do not apply to the filing of the copy of the international application and payment of the basic national fee. See 37 CFR 1.8(a)(2)(i)(F).

Applicants cannot pay the basic national fee with a surcharge after the 30 month deadline. Failure to pay the basic national fee within 30 months from the priority date will result in abandonment of the application. The time for payment of the basic national fee is not extendable.

Similarly, the copy of the international application required under 37 CFR 1.495(b) must be provided within 30 months from the priority date to avoid abandonment. A copy of the international application is published by the International Bureau at about 18 months from the priority date, at which time the published application becomes available to the U.S. Designated or Elected Office in electronic form in a digital library from which the U.S. Designated or Elected Office is entitled to retrieve the application. Pursuant to PCT Rule 93bis(b), the publication of the international application by the International Bureau (and the resulting availability of the published application in a digital library) is considered to effect the required communication of the copy of the international application to the U.S. Designated or Elected Office. Thus, publication of an international application by the International Bureau within 30 months from the priority date is considered to satisfy the requirement of 37 CFR 1.495(b).

Where the basic national fee has been paid and the copy of the international application (if required) has been received not later than the expiration of 30 months from the priority date, but applicant has omitted any required item set forth in 37 CFR 1.495(c)(1), the Office will process the national stage application in accordance with the provisions of 37 CFR 1.495 in effect for that application. As a consequence of the America Invents Act (AIA), 37 CFR 1.495 was amended to permit postponement of the submission of the inventor’s oath or declaration under certain conditions and is applicable to national stage applications having an international filing date on or after September 16, 2012. For national stage applications having an international filing date prior to September 16, 2012, the pre-AIA version of 37 CFR 1.495 remains in effect.

If the international filing date is prior to September 16, 2012 and the basic national fee has been paid and the copy of the international application (if required) has been received not later than the expiration of 30 months from the priority date, but the required oath or declaration, translation, search fee (37 CFR 1.492(b)), examination fee (37 CFR 1.492(c)), or application size fee (37 CFR 1.492(j)) has not been filed prior to commencement of the national stage (see MPEP § 1893.01), the Office will send applicant a notice identifying any deficiency and provide a period of time to correct the deficiency as set forth in 37 CFR 1.495(c). The time period usually set is 2 months from the date of the notification by the Office or 32 months from the priority date, whichever is later. This period may be extended for up to 5 additional months pursuant to the provisions of 37 CFR 1.136(a). Failure to timely file the proper reply to the notification will result in abandonment of the national stage application. The processing fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.492(i) will be required for acceptance of an English translation of the international application later than the expiration of thirty months after the priority date, and the surcharge fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.492(h) will be required for acceptance of any of the search fee, examination fee, or oath or declaration of the inventor after the date of commencement. See pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.495(c)(3).

If the international filing date is on or after September 16, 2012, the filing of the oath or declaration may be postponed until the application is otherwise in condition for allowance if applicants submit an application data sheet in accordance with 37 CFR 1.76 identifying each inventor by his or her legal name, the mailing address where each inventor customarily receives mail, and the residence of each inventor, if the inventor lives at a location which is different from where the inventor customarily receives mail. 37 CFR 1.495(c)(3).

For further information regarding the oath or declaration required under 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4) and 37 CFR 1.497 see MPEP § 1893.01(e).

For further information regarding the translation required under 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(2) and 37 CFR 1.495(c), see MPEP § 1893.01(d).

1893.01(a)(2)   Article 19 Amendment (Filed With the International Bureau) [R-07.2015]

The claims of an international application may be amended under PCT Article 19 after issuance of the search report. The description and drawings may not be amended under PCT Article 19. The amendment is forwarded to the U.S. Designated Office by the International Bureau for inclusion in the U.S. national stage application. Article 19 amendments including a complete claim set in English will be entered by replacing the original English language claims of the international application with the amended claim set. If the Article 19 amendments were made in a language other than English, applicant must provide an English translation for the U.S. national stage application. The Article 19 amendment(s) and the English translation of the amendment(s) must be received by the Office by the date of commencement of the national stage (see MPEP § 1893.01). Otherwise, the amendment(s) will be considered to be canceled, 35 U.S.C. 371(d). If such canceled amendments are desired, they must be offered under 37 CFR 1.121 as a preliminary amendment or a responsive amendment under 37 CFR 1.111. In this regard, the “Transmittal Letter To The United States Designated/Elected Office (DO/EO/US) Concerning A Submission Under 35 U.S.C. 371” (Form PTO-1390) available at www.uspto.gov/forms/ includes a check box by which the applicant may expressly instruct the U.S. Designated/Elected Office not to enter the Article 19 amendment(s) in the United States national stage application.

Article 19 amendments filed before July 1, 2009 were not required to include a complete claim set and the pages of the translation would not have been entered as replacement claim sheets where entry would have resulted in an inconsistency in the flow of the claims from the bottom of one page to the top of the following page. In such situations, applicants are encouraged to submit a preliminary amendment in accordance with 37 CFR 1.121 to obtain entry of the desired changes.

1893.01(a)(3)   Article 34 Amendments (Filed with the International Preliminary Examining Authority) [R-07.2015]

Amendments to the international application that were properly made under PCT Article 34 during the international preliminary examination phase (i.e., Chapter II) will be annexed by the International Preliminary Examining Authority to the international preliminary examination report (IPER) and communicated to the elected Offices. See PCT Article 36, PCT Rule 70.16, and MPEP § 1893.03(e). If these annexes are in English, they will normally be entered into the U.S. national stage application by the Office absent a clear instruction by the applicant that the annexes are not to be entered. In this regard, the “Transmittal Letter To The United States Designated/Elected Office (DO/EO/US) Concerning A Submission Under 35 U.S.C. 371” (Form PTO-1390) available at www.uspto.gov/forms/ includes a check box by which the applicant may expressly instruct the U.S. Designated/Elected Office not to enter the Article 34 amendment(s) in the United States national stage application. However, if entry of the replacement sheets will result in an obvious inconsistency in the description, claims or drawings of the international application, then the annexes will not be entered. If the annexes are in a foreign language, a proper translation of the annexes must be furnished to the Office not later than the expiration of 30 months from the priority date, unless a period has been set pursuant to 37 CFR 1.495(c) to furnish an oath or declaration, English translation of the international application, search fee (37 CFR 1.492(b)), examination fee (37 CFR 1.492(c)), or application size fee (37 CFR 1.492(j)), in which case the translations of the annexes, accompanied by the processing fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.492(f), may be submitted within the period set pursuant to 37 CFR 1.495(c). See 37 CFR 1.495(e). Annexes for which translations are not timely received will be considered canceled. Amendments made under PCT Article 34 to the international application after commencement and entry into the U.S. national phase (see MPEP § 1893.01) will not be considered in a U.S. national stage application. However, applicants may still amend the U.S. national stage application by way of a preliminary amendment submitted in accordance with 37 CFR 1.115 and 37 CFR 1.121.

Where an English translation of the annexes is provided, the translation must be such that the translation of the originally filed application can be changed by replacing the originally filed application page(s) (of translation) with substitute page(s) of translation of the annex. Thus, applicant should check to be sure that the English translation can be entered by substituting the pages of translation for corresponding pages of the description or claims of the international application without leaving an inconsistency. If entry of the page of translation causes inconsistencies in the description or claims of the international application the translation will not be entered. Non-entry of the annexes will be indicated on the “NOTICE OF ACCEPTANCE OF APPLICATION UNDER 35 U.S.C. 371 AND 37 CFR 1.495” (Form PCT/DO/EO/903). For example, if the translation of the originally filed application has a page which begins with claim 1 and ends with a first part of claim 2 with the remainder of claim 2 on the next page then translation of the annex to only claim 1 must include a substitute page or pages beginning with the changes to claim 1 and ending with the last of the exact same first part of claim 2. This enables the original translated first page of claims to be replaced by the translation of the annex without changing the subsequent unamended page(s). Alternatively applicant may submit a preliminary amendment in accordance with 37 CFR 1.121. The fact that an amendment made to the international application during the international phase was entered in the national stage application does not necessarily mean that the amendment is proper. Specifically, amendments are not permitted to introduce “new matter” into the application. See PCT Article 34(2)(b). Where it is determined that such amendments introduce new matter into the application, then the examiner should proceed as in the case of regular U.S. national applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) by requiring removal of the new matter and making any necessary rejections to the claims. See MPEP §§ 608.04 and 2163.06.

1893.01(b)   Applicant for a U.S. National Stage Application [R-07.2015]

37 CFR 1.42 Applicant for Patent

[Editor Note: Applicable to patent applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) or 363 on or after September 16, 2012]

  • (a) The word “applicant” when used in this title refers to the inventor or all of the joint inventors, or to the person applying for a patent as provided in §§ 1.43, 1.45, or 1.46.
  • (b) If a person is applying for a patent as provided in § 1.46, the word “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 § 1.46 and not the inventor.
  • (c) If fewer than all joint inventors are applying for a patent as provided in § 1.45, the phrase “the applicant” means the joint inventors who are applying for the patent without the omitted inventor(s).

*****

37 CFR 1.43 Application for patent by a legal representative of a deceased or legally incapacitated inventor.

[Editor Note: Applicable to patent applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) or 363 on or after September 16, 2012]

If an inventor is deceased or under legal incapacity, the legal representative of the inventor may make an application for patent on behalf of the inventor. If an inventor dies during the time intervening between the filing of the application and the granting of a patent thereon, the letters patent may be issued to the legal representative upon proper intervention. See § 1.64 concerning the execution of a substitute statement by a legal representative in lieu of an oath or declaration.

37 CFR 1.45 Application for patent by joint inventors.

[Editor Note: Applicable to patent applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) or 363 on or after September 16, 2012]

  • (a) Joint inventors must apply for a patent jointly, and each must make an inventor’s oath or declaration as required by § 1.63, except as provided for in § 1.64. If a joint inventor refuses to join in an application for patent or cannot be found or reached after diligent effort, the other joint inventor or inventors may make the application for patent on behalf of themselves and the omitted inventor. See § 1.64 concerning the execution of a substitute statement by the other joint inventor or inventors in lieu of an oath or declaration.
  • (b) Inventors may apply for a patent jointly even though:
    • (1) They did not physically work together or at the same time;
    • (2) Each inventor did not make the same type or amount of contribution; or
    • (3) Each inventor did not make a contribution to the subject matter of every claim of the application.
  • (c) If multiple inventors are named in a nonprovisional application, each named inventor must have made a contribution, individually or jointly, to the subject matter of at least one claim of the application and the application will be considered to be a joint application under 35 U.S.C. 116. If multiple inventors are named in a provisional application, each named inventor must have made a contribution, individually or jointly, to the subject matter disclosed in the provisional application and the provisional application will be considered to be a joint application under 35 U.S.C. 116.

37 CFR 1.46 Application for patent by an assignee, obligated assignee, or a person who otherwise shows sufficient proprietary interest in the matter.

[Editor Note: Applicable to patent applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) or 363 on or after September 16, 2012]

  • (a) A person to whom the inventor has assigned or is under an obligation to assign the invention may make an application for patent. A person who otherwise shows sufficient proprietary interest in the matter may make an application for patent on behalf of and as agent for the inventor on proof of the pertinent facts and a showing that such action is appropriate to preserve the rights of the parties.
  • (b) If an application under 35 U.S.C. 111 is made by a person other than the inventor under paragraph (a) of this section, the application must contain an application data sheet under § 1.76 specifying in the applicant information section (§ 1.76(b)(7)) the assignee, person to whom the inventor is under an obligation to assign the invention, or person who otherwise shows sufficient proprietary interest in the matter. If an application entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371, or a nonprovisional international design application, is applied for by a person other than the inventor under paragraph (a) of this section, the assignee, person to whom the inventor is under an obligation to assign the invention, or person who otherwise shows sufficient proprietary interest in the matter must have been identified as the applicant for the United States in the international stage of the international application or as the applicant in the publication of the international registration under Hague Agreement Article 10(3).
    • (1) If the applicant is the assignee or a person to whom the inventor is under an obligation to assign the invention, documentary evidence of ownership (e.g., assignment for an assignee, employment agreement for a person to whom the inventor is under an obligation to assign the invention) should be recorded as provided for in part 3 of this chapter no later than the date the issue fee is paid in the application.
    • (2) If the applicant is a person who otherwise shows sufficient proprietary interest in the matter, such applicant must submit a petition including:
      • (i) The fee set forth in § 1.17(g);
      • (ii) A showing that such person has sufficient proprietary interest in the matter; and
      • (iii) A statement that making the application for patent by a person who otherwise shows sufficient proprietary interest in the matter on behalf of and as agent for the inventor is appropriate to preserve the rights of the parties.
  • (c) Any request to correct or update the name of the applicant after an applicant has been specified under paragraph (b) of this section must include an application data sheet under § 1.76 specifying the correct or updated name of the applicant in the applicant information section (§ 1.76(b)(7)). Any request to change the applicant after an original applicant has been specified under paragraph (b) of this section must include an application data sheet under § 1.76 specifying the applicant in the applicant information section (§ 1.76(b)(7)) and comply with §§ 3.71 and 3.73 of this title.

*****

In general, for U.S. national stage applications having an international filing date prior to September 16, 2012, the inventors are required to be the applicants. The America Invents Act (AIA) amended 35 U.S.C. 118 to expand who may be an applicant in patent applications. Consequently, for national stage applications having an international filing date on or after September 16, 2012, the applicant may be: (a) the inventor(s); (b) the legal representative of a deceased or legally incapacitated inventor; (c) the assignee; (d) the obligated assignee (i.e., a person to whom the inventor is under an obligation to assign the invention); or (e) a person who otherwise shows proprietary interest in the application. See 37 CFR 1.42, 1.43, 1.45, and 1.46.

For national stage applications having an international filing date on or after September 16, 2012, the person identified in the international stage as the applicant for the United States will normally be considered the applicant for the U.S. national stage application. See 37 CFR 1.46(b).

Where the applicant is a person who otherwise shows sufficient proprietary interest in the matter, such applicant must submit a petition including: the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(g), a showing that such person has sufficient proprietary interest in the matter, and a statement that making the application for patent by a person who otherwise shows sufficient proprietary interest in the matter on behalf of and as agent for the inventor is appropriate to preserve the rights of the parties. See 37 CFR 1.46(b)(2).

The name of the applicant may be corrected or updated, or the applicant may be changed, in accordance with the procedure set forth in 37 CFR 1.46(c).

1893.01(c)   Fees [R-07.2015]

Because the national stage fees are subject to change, applicants and examiners should always consult the Official Gazette for the current fee listing.

The basic national fee must be paid prior to the expiration of 30 months from the priority date to avoid abandonment of the international application as to the United States. This time period is not extendable. 37 CFR 1.495(a) - (b). The search fee required under 37 CFR 1.492(b) and examination fee required under 37 CFR 1.492(c) are due on commencement of the national stage (37 CFR 1.491(a)), but may be accepted later with the payment of a surcharge. 37 CFR 1.495(c)(3).

Fees under 37 CFR 1.16 relate to national applications under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), and not to international applications entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371. National stage fees are specifically provided for in 37 CFR 1.492. However, an authorization to charge fees under 37 CFR 1.16 in an international application entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 will be treated as an authorization to charge fees under 37 CFR 1.492. See 37 CFR 1.25(b). Accordingly, applications will not be held abandoned if an authorization to charge fees under 37 CFR 1.16 has been provided instead of an authorization to charge fees under 37 CFR 1.492.

A preliminary amendment accompanying the initial national stage submission under 35 U.S.C. 371 that is effective to cancel claims and/or eliminate multiple dependent claims will be effective to reduce the number of claims to be considered in calculating extra claim fees required under 37 CFR 1.492(d) - (e) and/or eliminate the multiple dependent claim fee required under 37 CFR 1.492(f). A subsequently filed amendment canceling claims and/or eliminating multiple dependent claims will not entitle applicant to a refund of fees previously paid. See MPEP §§ 607 and 608.

The application size fee for a national stage application (37 CFR 1.492(j)) is determined on the basis of the international application as published by WIPO pursuant to PCT Article 21. Specifically, the application size fee is calculated on the basis of the number of sheets of description (including a sequence listing in portable document format (PDF)), claims, drawings, and abstract present in the published international application. This calculation is made without regard to the language of publication. Certain other sheets typically present in the international publication are not taken into account in determining the application size fee, i.e., a sequence listing in ASCII text (.txt) format, Article 19 amendments, the international search report, and any additional bibliographic sheets (other than the cover sheet containing the abstract). Nor are Article 34 amendments or preliminary amendments taken into account in determining the application size fee.

The processing fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.492(i) will be required for acceptance of an English translation of the international application later than the expiration of thirty months after the priority date, and the surcharge fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.492(h) will be required for acceptance of any of the search fee, examination fee, or inventor’s oath or declaration after the date of commencement. 37 CFR 1.495(c)(4).

1893.01(d)   Translation [R-07.2015]

Applicants entering the national stage in the U.S. are required to file an English translation of the international application if the international application was filed in another language and was not published under PCT Article 21(2) in English. 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(2) and 37 CFR 1.495(c). A “Sequence Listing” need not be translated if the “Sequence Listing” complies with PCT Rule 12.1(d) and the description complies with PCT Rule 5.2(b). See 37 CFR 1.495(c). The translation must be a translation of the international application as filed or with any changes which have been properly accepted under PCT Rule 26 or any rectifications which have been properly accepted under PCT Rule 91. A translation of less than all of the international application (e.g., a translation that fails to include a translation of text contained in the drawings or a translation that includes a translation of claims amended under PCT Article 19 or 34 but does not include a translation of the original claims) is unacceptable. In addition, a translation that includes modifications other than changes that have been properly accepted under PCT Rule 26 or 91 (e.g., a translation that includes headings that were not present in the international application as originally filed) is unacceptable. A translation of words contained in the drawings must be furnished either in the form of new drawings or in the form of a copy of the original drawings with the translation pasted on the original text matter. See PCT Rule 49.5(d).

Amendments, even those considered to be minor or to not include new matter, may not be incorporated into the translation. If an amendment to the international application as filed is desired for the national stage, it may be submitted in accordance with 37 CFR 1.121. An amendment filed under 37 CFR 1.121 should be submitted within 3 months from the date the national stage is entered as set forth 37 CFR 1.491. See 37 CFR 1.115(b)(3)(iii). If applicant has timely paid the basic national fee and submitted the copy of the international application but the translation is missing or is defective, a Notification of Missing Requirements (PCT/DO/EO/905) will be sent to applicant setting a period to correct any missing or defective requirements. The time period is 32 months from the priority date or 2 months from the date of the notice, whichever expires later. The time period may be extended for up to five additional months as provided in 37 CFR 1.136(a). A processing fee is required for accepting a translation after 30 months from the priority date. See 37 CFR 1.492(i).

Pursuant to PCT Rule 48.3(c), if the international application is published in a language other than English, the publication shall include an English translation of the title of the invention, the abstract, and any text matter pertaining to the figure or figures accompanying the abstract. The translations shall be prepared under the responsibility of the International Bureau.

A translation of the international application as filed and identified as provided in 37 CFR 1.417 submitted for the purpose of obtaining provisional rights pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 154(d)(4) can be relied on to fulfill the translation requirement under 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(2) in a national stage application.

1893.01(e)   Inventor’s Oath or Declaration [R-07.2015]

35 U.S.C. 371  National stage: Commencement.

*****

  • (c) The applicant shall file in the Patent and Trademark Office –
    • *****
    • (4) an oath or declaration of the inventor (or other person authorized under chapter 11) complying with the requirements of section 115 and with regulations prescribed for oaths or declarations of applicants;

*****

Pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4), the applicant for a national stage application is required to file an oath or declaration of the inventor (or other person authorized under 35 U.S.C. chapter 11) complying with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 115 and with regulations prescribed for oaths or declarations of applicants. The America Invents Act (AIA) amended 35 U.S.C. 115 with effect for applications filed on or after September 16, 2012. As a consequence of this change, the oath or declaration requirements for a national stage application differ depending on the international filing date of the national stage application, as set forth below.

I.NATIONAL STAGE APPLICATIONS HAVING AN INTERNATIONAL FILING DATE ON OR AFTER SEPTEMBER 16, 2012

37 CFR 1.41 Inventorship

[Editor Note: Applicable to patent applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) or 363 on or after September 16, 2012]

*****

  • (e) The inventorship of an international application entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in the application data sheet in accordance with § 1.76 filed with the initial submission under 35 U.S.C. 371. Unless the initial submission under 35 U.S.C. 371 is accompanied by an application data sheet in accordance with § 1.76 setting forth the inventor or joint inventors, the inventorship is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in the international application, which includes any change effected under PCT Rule 92bis.

*****

37 CFR 1.497 Inventor’s oath or declaration under 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4).

[Editor Note: Applicable to patent applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 363 on or after September 16, 2012]

  • (a) When an applicant of an international application desires to enter the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 pursuant to § 1.495, and a declaration in compliance with § 1.63 has not been previously submitted in the international application under PCT Rule 4.17(iv) within the time limits provided for in PCT Rule 26ter.1, the applicant must file the inventor’s oath or declaration. The inventor, or each individual who is a joint inventor of a claimed invention, in an application for patent must execute an oath or declaration in accordance with the conditions and requirements of § 1.63, except as provided for in § 1.64.
  • (b) An oath or declaration under § 1.63 will be accepted as complying with 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4) if it complies with the requirements of §§ 1.63(a), (c) and (g). A substitute statement under § 1.64 will be accepted as complying with 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4) if it complies with the requirements of §§ 1.64(b)(1), (c) and (e) and identifies the person executing the substitute statement. If a newly executed inventor’s oath or declaration under § 1.63 or substitute statement under § 1.64 is not required pursuant to § 1.63(d), submission of the copy of the previously executed oath, declaration, or substitute statement under § 1.63(d)(1) is required to comply with 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4).
  • (c) If an oath or declaration under § 1.63, or substitute statement under § 1.64, meeting the requirements of § 1.497(b) does not also meet the requirements of § 1.63 or § 1.64, an oath, declaration, substitute statement, or application data sheet in accordance with § 1.76 to comply with § 1.63 or § 1.64 will be required.

Applicants entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 for an international application having an international filing date on or after September 16, 2012 are required to file an inventor’s oath or declaration in accordance with 37 CFR 1.497 unless a declaration in compliance with 37 CFR 1.63 was previously submitted in the international phase under PCT Rule 4.17(iv) within the time limits provided for in PCT Rule 26ter.1.

The inventor’s oath or declaration will be accepted as complying with 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4) if it complies with the minimum requirements set forth in 37 CFR 1.497(b). However, if the inventor’s oath or declaration does not satisfy all the requirements of 37 CFR 1.63 or 1.64, the applicant will be required to comply with the outstanding requirements. See 37 CFR 1.497(c).

The filing of the inventor’s oath or declaration may be postponed until the application is otherwise in condition for allowance if applicant submits an application data sheet in accordance with 37 CFR 1.76 identifying each inventor by his or her legal name, the mailing address where each inventor customarily receives mail, and the residence of each inventor, if the inventor lives at a location which is different from where the inventor customarily receives mail. See 37 CFR 1.495(c)(3). Postponement of the filing of the inventor’s oath or declaration pursuant to 37 CFR 1.495(c) will not postpone the requirement to pay the surcharge fee under 37 CFR 1.492(h) for filing the inventor’s oath or declaration after the date of commencement. Note that early national stage entry under 35 U.S.C. 371(f) requires the submission of the oath or declaration required by 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4) and submission may not be postponed in this situation.

If the basic national fee and copy of the international application have been received by the expiration of 30 months from the priority date, but applicant has not submitted 1) the required inventor’s oath or declaration, or 2) an application data sheet in compliance with 37 CFR 1.495(c)(3), the Office will send applicant a Notification of Missing Requirements (Form PCT/DO/EO/905) setting a time period to submit the required inventor’s oath or declaration or application data sheet and surcharge fee under 37 CFR 1.492(h) unless previously paid. Failure to timely file the required reply will result in abandonment of the application.

The inventor’s oath or declaration must be executed by each inventor, except as provided under 37 CFR 1.64. The inventorship of an international application entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 having an international filing date on or after September 16, 2012, is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in an application data sheet in accordance with 37 CFR 1.76 accompanying the initial submission under 35 U.S.C. 371. If the initial submission under 35 U.S.C. 371 is not accompanied by an application data sheet in accordance with 37 CFR 1.76, the inventorship is the inventor or joint inventors set forth in the international application, which includes any change effected under PCT Rule 92bis. See 37 CFR 1.41(e). Inventorship may be corrected under the procedure set forth in 37 CFR 1.48(a). The name of an inventor may be corrected or updated under the procedure set forth in 37 CFR 1.48(f).

If the inventor is deceased, is under legal incapacity, has refused to execute the oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63, or cannot be found or reached after diligent effort, the applicant under 37 CFR 1.43, 1.45 or 1.46 may execute a substitute statement under 1.64 in lieu of an oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63.

II.NATIONAL STAGE APPLICATIONS HAVING AN INTERNATIONAL FILING DATE BEFORE SEPTEMBER 16, 2012

37 CFR 1.41 (pre-AIA) Applicant for Patent

[Editor Note: Applicable to patent applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) or 363 prior to September 16, 2012]

*****

  • (a)
    • *****
    • (4) The inventorship of an international application entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 is that inventorship set forth in the international application, which includes any change effected under PCT Rule 92bis. See § 1.497(d) and (f) for filing an oath or declaration naming an inventive entity different from the inventive entity named in the international application, or if a change to the inventive entity has been effected under PCT Rule 92bis subsequent to the execution of any declaration filed under PCT Rule 4.17(iv)1.48(f)(1) does not apply to an international application entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371).

*****

37 CFR 1.497 (pre-AIA) Oath or declaration under 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4).

[Editor Note: Applicable to patent applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 363 prior to September 16, 2012]

  • (a) When an applicant of an international application desires to enter the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 pursuant to § 1.495 , and a declaration in compliance with this section has not been previously submitted in the international application under PCT Rule 4.17(iv) within the time limits provided for in PCT Rule 26 ter.1, he or she must file an oath or declaration that:
    • (1) Is executed in accordance with either §§  1.66 or 1.68;
    • (2) Identifies the specification to which it is directed;
    • (3) Identifies each inventor and the country of citizenship of each inventor; and
    • (4) States that the person making the oath or declaration believes the named inventor or inventors to be the original and first inventor or inventors of the subject matter which is claimed and for which a patent is sought.
  • (b)
    • (1) The oath or declaration must be made by all of the actual inventors except as provided for in §§ 1.42, 1.43 or 1.47.
    • (2) If the person making the oath or declaration or any supplemental oath or declaration is not the inventor (§§ 1.42, 1.43, or § 1.47), the oath or declaration shall state the relationship of the person to the inventor, and, upon information and belief, the facts which the inventor would have been required to state. If the person signing the oath or declaration is the legal representative of a deceased inventor, the oath or declaration shall also state that the person is a legal representative and the citizenship, residence and mailing address of the legal representative.
  • (c) Subject to paragraph (f) of this section, if the oath or declaration meets the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, the oath or declaration will be accepted as complying with 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4) and § 1.495(c). However, if the oath or declaration does not also meet the requirements of § 1.63, a supplemental oath or declaration in compliance with § 1.63 or an application data sheet will be required in accordance with § 1.67.
  • (d) If the oath or declaration filed pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4) and this section names an inventive entity different from the inventive entity set forth in the international application, or if a change to the inventive entity has been effected under PCT Rule 92bis subsequent to the execution of any oath or declaration which was filed in the application under PCT Rule 4.17(iv) or this section and the inventive entity thus changed is different from the inventive entity identified in any such oath or declaration, applicant must submit:
    • (1) A statement from each person being added as an inventor and from each person being deleted as an inventor that any error in inventorship in the international application occurred without deceptive intention on his or her part;
    • (2) The processing fee set forth in § 1.17(i); and
    • (3) If an assignment has been executed by any of the original named inventors, the written consent of the assignee (see § 3.73(b) of this chapter); and
    • (4) Any new oath or declaration required by paragraph (f) of this section.
  • (e) The Office may require such other information as may be deemed appropriate under the particular circumstances surrounding the correction of inventorship.
  • (f) A new oath or declaration in accordance with this section must be filed to satisfy 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4) if the declaration was filed under PCT Rule 4.17(iv), and:
    • (1) There was a change in the international filing date pursuant to PCT Rule 20.5(c) after the declaration was executed; or
    • (2) A change in the inventive entity was effected under PCT Rule 92bis after the declaration was executed and no declaration which sets forth and is executed by the inventive entity as so changed has been filed in the application.
  • (g) If a priority claim has been corrected or added pursuant to PCT Rule 26 bis during the international stage after the declaration of inventorship was executed in the international application under PCT Rule 4.17(iv), applicant will be required to submit either a new oath or declaration or an application data sheet as set forth in § 1.76 correctly identifying the application upon which priority is claimed.

Applicants entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 for an international application having an international filing date prior to September 16, 2012 are required to file an oath or declaration of the inventor in accordance with pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.497(a) and (b). If the basic national fee and copy of the international application have been received by the expiration of 30 months from the priority date, but the required oath or declaration has not been filed, the Office will send applicant a Notification of Missing Requirements (Form PCT/DO/EO/905) setting a time period to correct any missing or defective requirements and to submit the surcharge fee required under 37 CFR 1.492(h) unless previously paid. Failure to timely file the required oath or declaration will result in abandonment of the application.

An oath or declaration satisfying the requirements of pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.497(a) - (b) will be sufficient for the purposes of entering the U.S. national phase. However, if the oath or declaration fails to also comply with the additional requirements for oaths and declarations set forth in 37 CFR 1.63, applicants will need to submit a supplemental oath or declaration, or an application data sheet where permitted under 37 CFR 1.63(c), to correct the deficiency. See 37 CFR 1.497(c).

In general, the requirement for an oath or declaration in compliance with 37 CFR 1.497(a) - (b) will have been previously satisfied if a declaration in compliance with PCT Rule 4.17(iv) executed by all the inventors was submitted within the time limits provided in PCT Rule 26ter.1 in the international phase. However, if the inventorship was changed in the international application under PCT Rule 92bis such that the inventorship identified in the PCT Rule 4.17(iv) declaration no longer corresponds to that of the international application (see pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.41(a)(4)), then a new oath or declaration in accordance with 37 CFR 1.497(a)-(b) may be required to enter the national stage. See pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.497(f)(2). Similarly, a new oath or declaration in compliance with 37 CFR 1.497(a)-(b) is required where the PCT Rule 4.17(iv) declaration was executed prior to a change in the international filing date pursuant to PCT Rule 20.5(c). See pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.497(f)(1). In addition, where a priority claim has been corrected or added pursuant to PCT Rule 26.2bis after execution of the PCT Rule 4.17(iv) declaration, then a supplemental oath or declaration, or an application data sheet, identifying the correct priority claim will be required. See pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.497(g).

The inventorship of an international application entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 having an international filing date before September 16, 2012 is that inventorship set forth in the international application, which includes any changes effected under PCT Rule 92bis. See pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.41(a)(4). Accordingly, an oath or declaration that names an inventive entity different than that set forth in the international application will not be accepted for purposes of entering the U.S. national phase unless the inventorship is corrected. See the procedures set forth in pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.497(d) and 37 CFR 1.48(a) for correcting inventorship. If an inventor refuses to execute the oath or declaration or cannot be found or reached after diligent effort, applicant may file an oath or declaration and a petition in accordance with pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.47. Similarly, where an inventor is deceased or legally incapacitated, an oath or declaration may be made in accordance with the provisions of pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.42 or 1.43. See pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.497(b).

Where there has been no change of inventorship but there is a discrepancy between the name of an inventor as indicated in the international application during the international phase and the corresponding name indicated in an oath or declaration submitted under 37 CFR 1.497, correction will be required to accept the oath or declaration with the different name. Effective September 16, 2012, the procedure set forth in 37 CFR 1.48(f) may be used to correct or update the name of an inventor in a nonprovisional application. In applications where the procedure under 37 CFR 1.48(f) is not available, correction may be made by way of petition under 37 CFR 1.182 to accept the oath or declaration with the different name.

1893.02   Abandonment [R-07.2015]

If the requirements for the submission of the basic national fee and a copy of the international application (if necessary) prior to the expiration of 30 months from the priority date are not satisfied, then the international application becomes abandoned as to the United States. 37 CFR 1.495(h). Should online filing and/or fee payment via EFS-Web become unavailable due to a system outage, applicant may need to use an alternative filing method such as hand-delivery to the USPTO or the Priority Mail Express® service of the United States Postal Service (USPS) in accordance with 37 CFR 1.10 to meet the requirements of 37 CFR 1.495(b). For more information about filing via EFS-Web, see the Legal Framework for EFS-Web available from www.uspto.gov/patents/process/ file/efs/guidance/New_legal_framework.jsp.

If the requirements under 37 CFR 1.495(b) are timely met, but the requirements under 37 CFR 1.495(c) for an English translation of the international application, oath/declaration, search fee, examination fee and application size fee are not met within a time period set in a notice provided by the Office, then the application will become abandoned upon expiration of the time period set in the notice. See 37 CFR 1.495(c)(2).

Examiners and applicants should be aware that sometimes papers filed for the national stage are deficient and abandonment results. For example, if the fee submitted does not include at least the amount of the basic national fee that is due, the application becomes abandoned.

Applicant may file a petition to revive an abandoned application in accordance with the provisions of 37 CFR 1.137. See MPEP § 711.03(c). For applicant’s convenience, applicant may use Form PTO/SB/64PCT for this purpose. This form is available online at www.uspto.gov/forms.

1893.03   Prosecution of U.S. National Stage Applications Before the Examiner [R-07.2015]

37 CFR 1.496 Examination of international applications in the national stage.

National stage applications having paid therein the search fee as set forth in § 1.492(b)(1) and examination fee as set forth in § 1.492(c)(1) may be amended subsequent to the date of commencement of national stage processing only to the extent necessary to eliminate objections as to form or to cancel rejected claims. Such national stage applications will be advanced out of turn for examination.

An international application which enters the national stage will be forwarded to the appropriate Technology Center (TC) for examination in turn based on the date of entry into the national stage. See MPEP § 1893.01(a). This is commonly referred to as the “35 U.S.C. 371(c)” date of the application.

If an international preliminary examination report (IPER) prepared by the United States International Preliminary Examining Authority or a written opinion on the international application prepared by the United States International Searching Authority states that the criteria of novelty, inventive step (non-obviousness), and industrial applicability, as defined in PCT Article 33(1) - (4) have been satisfied for all of the claims presented in the application entering the national stage, the national stage search fee is reduced and the national stage examination fee is reduced. See 37 CFR 1.492(b)(1) and 37 CFR 1.492(c)(1). Such applications may be amended only to the extent necessary to eliminate objections as to form or cancel rejected claims, and they will be advanced out of turn for examination. See MPEP § 708 for a discussion of the order of examination of applications by examiners.

Once the national stage application has been taken up by the examiner, prosecution proceeds in the same manner as for a domestic application with the exceptions that:

  • (A) the international filing date (or, if appropriate, the priority date) is the date to keep in mind when searching the prior art; and
  • (B) unity of invention proceeds as under 37 CFR 1.475.

1893.03(a)   How To Identify That an Application Is a U.S. National Stage Application [R-07.2015]

Applicant’s initial submission under 35 U.S.C. 371 must be identified as a submission to enter the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371. See 37 CFR 1.495(g). If the initial submission does not include any indication that the submission is made under 35 U.S.C. 371, the application will be treated as an application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) (unless the submission is clearly identified as a submission pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 154(d)(4) for the purpose of obtaining provisional rights). See 37 CFR 1.417. Thus, if applicant wishes the application to be treated as a filing under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), the originally filed application papers need indicate simply that the papers are for a new U.S. patent application. If, however, applicant is submitting papers for entry into the national stage of a PCT application, or to establish an effective date for provisional rights resulting from the filing of a PCT application under 35 U.S.C. 154(d), applicant must so state.

When filing an application via EFS-Web, the EFS-Web screen prompts applicant for the type of filing being made, e.g., “nonprovisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a)” or “U.S. National Stage Under 35 U.S.C. 371.” Identifying the type of filing as a national stage submission under 35 U.S.C. 371 on this screen will serve to identify the submission as a national stage submission under 35 U.S.C. 371. Applicants seeking to enter the national stage are also advised to use transmittal Form PTO-1390, as this form clearly indicates that the submission is under 35 U.S.C. 371. The inclusion with the initial application submission of an inventor’s oath or declaration identifying the international application by international application number as the application to which the oath or declaration is directed is considered an indication that the application was submitted under 35 U.S.C. 371. However, claiming priority of an international application in an oath or declaration will not serve to indicate a submission under 35 U.S.C. 371.

Examination of the original application papers occurs in the Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP) where it is determined whether applicant has asked that the papers be treated as a submission to enter the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371. If the application is accepted for entry into the national stage, the image file wrapper will contain a “Notification of Acceptance of Application Under 35 U.S.C. 371 and 37 CFR 1.495” (Form PCT/DO/EO/903) indicating acceptance of the application as a national stage submission under 35 U.S.C. 371. PALM records will indicate that the application is a national stage entry of the PCT application (e.g., under “Continuity Data”). Initially, the examiner should check the application file for the presence of Form PCT/DO/EO/903 and review the PALM Bib-data sheet for an indication that the application is a national stage entry (371) of the PCT application. If neither of these indications are present, in the absence of evidence to the contrary (i.e., an indication in the originally filed application papers that processing as a national stage is desired), the application may be treated as a filing under 35 U.S.C. 111(a). If both indications are present, the application should be treated as a submission under 35 U.S.C. 371.

The examiner is advised to consult the Office of PCT Legal Administration if he or she has any question as to whether the application should be treated under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) or 371.

CONFLICTING INSTRUCTIONS

Where applicant’s initial submission under 35 U.S.C. 371 contains conflicting instructions as to whether the filing is under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) or 35 U.S.C. 371, the application will be treated in accordance with 37 CFR 1.495(g). Note that 37 CFR 1.495(g) in effect prior to September 16, 2012, provided that an application submission containing conflicting instructions as to treatment under 35 U.S.C. 371 or 111(a) was to be treated under 35 U.S.C. 111(a). However, 37 CFR 1.495(g) was amended with effect on September 16, 2012 to provide that conflicting indications will result in the application being treated as a national stage submission under 35 U.S.C. 371.

A conflicting instruction will be present, for example, where applicant, in the initial submission under 35 U.S.C. 371, selects “Nonprovisional Application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a)” as the utility application type when submitting the application in EFS-Web, includes a “Utility Patent Application Transmittal” (Form PTO/AIA/15 or PTO/SB/05), or includes a benefit claim under 35 U.S.C. 120 to the international application. As additional examples, a conflicting instruction will be present where applicant includes in an initial filing under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) a “Transmittal Letter To The United States Designated/Elected Office (DO/EO/US) Concerning A Submission Under 35 U.S.C. 371” (Form PTO-1390) or an indication (for example, on the application data sheet) that the application is the national stage (or 371) of an international application.

The examiner is advised to contact the International Patent Legal Administration if he or she has any question as to whether an application has been properly treated, or should have been treated, as a national stage application under 35 U.S.C. 371.

1893.03(b)   The Filing Date of a U.S. National Stage Application [R-07.2015]

An international application designating the U.S. has two stages (international and national) with the filing date being the same in both stages. Often the date of entry into the national stage is confused with the filing date. It should be borne in mind that the filing date of the international stage application is also the filing date for the national stage application. Specifically, 35 U.S.C. 363 provides that

An international application designating the United States shall have the effect, from its international filing date under Article 11 of the treaty, of a national application for patent regularly filed in the Patent and Trademark Office.

Similarly, PCT Article 11(3) provides that

...an international filing date shall have the effect of a regular national application in each designated State as of the international filing date, which date shall be considered to be the actual filing date in each designated State.

National stage applications are ordinarily taken up for action based on the date of entry into the national phase. See MPEP § 1893.01 regarding entry into the national stage. Because the date of entry is dependent upon receipt of certain items required under 35 U.S.C. 371(c), this date is also referred to as the “371(c) date.” The 371(c) date, not the international filing date, is the date that appears in the “Filing or 371(c) Date” box on the filing receipt and the application data sections of PALM and PAIR.

The NOTIFICATION OF ACCEPTANCE OF APPLICATION UNDER 35 U.S.C. 371 AND 37 CFR 1.495 (Form PCT/DO/EO/903) indicates the 371(c) date of the national stage application. Because of changes implemented pursuant to the America Invents Act (AIA), and in particular, the ability to postpone the submission of the oath or declaration required under 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4) under certain conditions, the requirements for entry into the national stage, and thus the determination of the 371(c) date, are different based on the international filing date of the national stage application. See MPEP § 1893.03. Form PTO/DO/EO/903 in a national stage application having an international filing date prior to September 16, 2012 identifies the 371(c) date as the date of receipt of the 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(1), (c)(2), and (c)(4) requirements, while Form PTO/DO/EO/903 in a national stage application having an international filing date on or after September 16, 2012 identifies the 371(c) date as the date of receipt of the 371(c)(1) and (c)(2) requirements. Filing receipts are mailed concurrently with the mailing of the Form PCT/DO/EO/903.

The “Date of Completion of all 35 U.S.C. 371 Requirements” included on the NOTIFICATION OF ACCEPTANCE OF APPLICATION UNDER 35 U.S.C. 371 AND 37 CFR 1.495 (Form PCT/DO/EO/903) in pre-AIA national stage applications is relevant for purposes of patent term adjustment under former 35 U.S.C. 154(b)(1)(A)(i)(II) when the Office has failed to mail at least one of a notification under 35 U.S.C. 132 or a notice of allowance under 35 U.S.C. 151 not later than fourteen months after the date on which the requirements under 35 U.S.C. 371 were fulfilled. This date is the latest of:

  • (A) the date of submission of the basic national fee;
  • (B) the date of submission or communication of the copy of the international application;
  • (C) the date of submission of the translation of the international application if the international application is not in the English language;
  • (D) the date of submission of an oath or declaration of the inventor in compliance with 35 U.S.C. 371(c)(4);
  • (E) the earlier of 30 months from the priority date or the date of request for early processing under 35 U.S.C. 371(f) if requested prior to 30 months from the priority date (Form PCT/DO/EO/903 will indicate the date early processing was requested);
  • (F) if a request for early processing has not been requested prior to 30 months from the priority date, the date of submission of any translation of the annexes to the international preliminary examination report if the translation of the annexes are filed within the time period set in a Notification of Missing Requirements (Form PCT/DO/EO/905) requiring either an English translation of the international application or an oath or declaration; and
  • (G) the date of submission of any surcharge for submitting the oath or declaration later than 30 months from the priority date.

The AIA Technical Corrections Act, enacted on January 14, 2013, amended 35 U.S.C. 154(b)(1)(A)(i)(II) to change “the date on which an international application fulfilled the requirements of section 371” to “the date of commencement of the national stage under section 371 in an international application.” See Public Law 112-274, 126 Stat. 2456 (2013). Thus, under the AIA Technical Corrections Act, the fourteen-month period in 35 U.S.C. 154(b)(1)(A)(i) for a national stage application is measured from the date of commencement of the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 in an international application.

1893.03(c)   The Priority Date, Priority Claim, and Priority Papers for a U.S. National Stage Application [R-07.2015]

A U.S. national stage application may be entitled to: (A) a right of priority under 35 U.S.C. 119(a) and 365(b) based on a prior foreign application or international application designating at least one country other than the United States; and (B) the benefit of an earlier filed U.S. national application or international application designating the United States pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 119(e) or 35 U.S.C. 120 and 365(c).

I.RIGHT OF PRIORITY UNDER 35 U.S.C. 119(a) and 365(b)

Pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 365(b) a U.S. national stage application shall be entitled to a right of priority based on a prior foreign application or international application designating at least one country other than the United States in accordance with the conditions and requirements of 35 U.S.C. 119(a) and the treaty and the PCT regulations. See in particular PCT Article 8 and PCT Rules 4.10 and 26bis. To obtain priority in the U.S. national stage application to such applications, the priority must have been timely claimed in the international stage of the international application. See 37 CFR 1.55(d)(2). In the event that a claim of foreign priority is not timely made in the international stage, the priority claim may be made in the U.S. national stage application upon petition under 37 CFR 1.55(e), if the entire delay between the date the priority claim was due under PCT Rule 26bis and the date the claim is filed is unintentional.

Note that in U.S. national stage applications it is permissible, but not required, to present the claim for priority in an application data sheet. A proper claim for priority will be acknowledged (subject to the paragraph below) and the national stage application file will then be checked to see if the file contains a copy of the certified copy of the priority document submitted to the International Bureau. See subsection II below for further information concerning the certified copy of the priority document.

International applications filed on or after April 1, 2007 are subject to amended PCT Rules permitting restoration of a right of priority. See MPEP § 1828.01. Consequently, international applications filed on or after April 1, 2007 may claim priority to a foreign application filed more than 12 months before the filing date of the international application. Such a priority claim will be effective in the U.S. national stage if the right of priority has been restored under PCT Rule 26bis.3 during the international stage. See 37 CFR 1.55(c).

Furthermore, the right of priority may be restored in a U.S. national stage application upon petition under 37 CFR 1.55(c). Restoration of the right of priority upon petition under 37 CFR 1.55(c) is not limited to applications having an international filing date of April 1, 2007 or later. It should be noted that where a petition under 37 CFR 1.55(c) is necessary to restore the right of priority in a U.S. national stage application, a petition under 37 CFR 1.55(e) to add a delayed priority claim will also be required where the priority claim was not properly made within the time limit set forth in the PCT and the Regulations under the PCT. 37 CFR 1.55(d)(2).

For a comparison with 35 U.S.C. 119(a) - (d) priority claims in a national application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), see MPEP § 1895.01.

II.THE CERTIFIED COPY

The requirement in PCT Rule 17 for a certified copy of the foreign priority application is normally fulfilled by applicant providing a certified copy to the receiving Office or to the International Bureau, or by applicant requesting the receiving Office to prepare and transmit the priority document to the International Bureau if the receiving Office issued the priority document, or by applicant requesting the International Bureau to obtain the priority document from a digital library. Pursuant to PCT Rule 17.1(a), (b) or (b-bis), applicant must submit the certified copy, request the receiving Office to prepare and transmit the certified copy or request the International Bureau to obtain the priority document from a digital library, within 16 months from the priority date. Where applicant has complied with PCT Rule 17, the International Bureau will forward a copy of the certified priority document to each Designated Office that has requested such document with an indication that the priority document was submitted in compliance with the rule and the date the document was received by the International Bureau. This indication may be in the form of either a cover sheet attached to the copy of the priority document or a WIPO stamp on the face of the certified copy. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as a Designated Office, will normally request the International Bureau to furnish the copy of the certified priority document upon receipt of applicant’s submission under 35 U.S.C. 371 to enter the U.S. national phase. The copy from the International Bureau is placed in the U.S. national stage file. The copy of the priority document received from the International Bureau with either of the indications above is acceptable to establish that applicant has filed a certified copy of the priority document in compliance with 37 CFR 1.55(f). The examiner should acknowledge in the next Office action that the copy of the certified copy of the foreign priority document has been received in the national stage application from the International Bureau.

On the following pages, note the examples of acceptable indications in the form of:

  • (A) a cover sheet indicating receipt by the International Bureau on 15 April 2011 (15.04.2011) and compliance with PCT Rule 17.1(a), (b) or (b-bis) in the “Remark” section; and
  • (B) the stamp (box) in the upper right hand section indicating receipt by the International Bureau (WIPO) on 30 December 2002 and the stamped indication "PRIORITY DOCUMENT SUBMITTED OR TRANSMITTED IN COMPLIANCE WITH RULE 17.1(a) OR (b)."
A WIPO certification page for priority document 61/320,360
Copy of first page of PCT/AU02/01658 Priority Document Submitted or Transmitted in Compliance with Rule 17.1(a) or (b). Patent Office Canberra.

If the International Bureau is unable to forward a copy of the certified priority document to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, then applicant must provide a certified copy of the priority document during the national stage, unless the requirements of 37 CFR 1.55(h) or 37 CFR 1.55(i) have been met. For international applications in which the U.S. national stage commenced under 35 U.S.C. 371 on or after December 18, 2013, applicant must submit the certified copy within the later of four months from the date of entry into the U.S. national stage as set forth in 37 CFR 1.491 or sixteen months from the filing date of the prior-filed foreign application. See 37 CFR 1.55(f)(2). A delay in filing the certified copy under 37 CFR 1.55(f)(2) may be excused upon petition under 37 CFR 1.55(f)(3). The International Bureau may not forward a copy of the priority document because the certified priority document was not furnished in compliance with PCT Rule 17.1(a), (b) or (b-bis) or applicant requested examination to begin pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 371(f) prior to availability of the priority document from the International Bureau. If the priority claim was not in accordance with PCT Rule 4.10 or the priority document was not provided in accordance with PCT Rule 17.1(a), (b) or (b-bis), the copy of the priority document will not have been provided by the International Bureau. If a copy of the foreign priority document is not in the national stage application file but applicant asserts that a certified copy of the priority document was timely furnished under PCT Rule 17 in the international phase, then the examiner should consult with a Quality Assurance Specialist in his or her Technology Center or a PCT Special Program Examiner.

III.BENEFIT CLAIM UNDER 35 U.S.C. 119(e), OR 120 AND 365(c)

A national stage application may include a benefit claim under 35 U.S.C. 119(e), or 120 and 365(c) to a prior U.S. national application or under 35 U.S.C. 120 and 365(c) to a prior international application designating the U.S. The conditions for according benefit under 35 U.S.C. 120 are as described in MPEP §§ 201.07, 201.08, and 211et seq. and are similar regardless of whether the U.S. national application is a national stage application submitted under 35 U.S.C. 371 or a national application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a).

The conditions for according benefit of a provisional application under 35  U.S.C. 119(e) are also similar for national stage applications and applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), and the conditions are described in MPEP § 211.01(a).

In order for a national stage application (of international application “X”) to obtain benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) of a prior U.S. provisional application, the national stage application must comply with the requirements set forth in 37 CFR 1.78(a). 37 CFR 1.78(a)(2) requires that the prior provisional application must be entitled to a filing date as set forth in 37 CFR 1.53(c), and the basic filing fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(d) must be paid on the provisional application within the time period set forth in 37 CFR 1.53(g). Additionally, the provisional application must name as an inventor at least one inventor named in the later filed international application “X” and disclose the named inventor’s invention claimed in at least one claim of the national stage application in the manner provided by the first paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112. The national stage application must contain a reference to the provisional application identifying it as a provisional application, and including the provisional application number (series code and serial number). If the national stage application has an international filing date prior to September 16, 2012, then the reference must be in either an application data sheet (37 CFR 1.76) or in the first sentence(s) of the specification. See pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.78(a)(5)(iii). If the national stage application has an international filing date that is on or after September 16, 2012, then the reference must be in an application data sheet (37 CFR 1.76). See 37 CFR 1.78(a)(3). However, the requirement for inclusion of the benefit claim in an application data sheet will be satisfied in a U.S. national stage application by the presentation of such benefit claim in the PCT request form contained in the international application or the presence of such benefit claim on the front page of the published international application. See 37 CFR 1.76(g). The required reference to the earlier provisional application must be submitted within the time period provided by 37 CFR 1.78(a)(4). This time period is not extendable. However, if the entire delay, between the date the claim was due under 37 CFR 1.78(a)(4) and the date the claim was filed, was unintentional, a petition under 37 CFR 1.78(c) may be filed to accept the delayed claim. If the provisional application was filed in a language other than English, an English-language translation of the non-English language provisional application and a statement that the translation is accurate will be required. See MPEP § 211.01(a). If the translation and statement that the translation is accurate were not filed in the provisional application or in the later-filed national stage application before November 25, 2005, applicant will be notified and given a period of time within which to file an English-language translation and a statement that the translation is accurate in the provisional application, and a reply in the national stage application that the translation and statement were filed in the provisional application. Failure to timely reply to such a notice will result in abandonment of the national stage application. See 37 CFR 1.78(a)(5).

Public Law 106-113 amended 35 U.S.C. 119(e) to eliminate the copendency requirement for a nonprovisional application claiming benefit of a provisional application. 35 U.S.C. 119(e)(2) as amended became effective on November 29, 1999 and applies to provisional applications filed on or after June 8, 1995. An international application claiming benefit under 35 U.S.C. 365(c) and 35 U.S.C. 119(e) to a prior filed provisional application must be filed within twelve months of the filing date of the provisional application. The Director may extend the twelve month statutory period by an additional two months in situations where the failure to file the international application under 35 U.S.C. 363 was unintentional. See 35 U.S.C. 119(e).

International applications filed on or after April 1, 2007 are subject to amended PCT Rules permitting restoration of a right of priority. See MPEP § 1828.01. Consequently, international applications filed on or after April 1, 2007 may claim the benefit of a provisional application filed more than 12 months before the filing date of the international application. Such a benefit claim will be effective in the U.S. national stage if the benefit of the provisional application has been restored under PCT Rule 26bis.3 during the international stage. See 37 CFR 1.78(b).

Furthermore, the benefit of a provisional application may be restored in a U.S. national stage application upon petition under 37 CFR 1.78(b). Restoration of the benefit of a provisional application upon petition under 37 CFR 1.78(b) is not limited to applications having an international filing date of April 1, 2007 or later. It should be noted that where a petition under 37 CFR 1.78(b) is necessary to restore the benefit of a provisional application in a U.S. national stage application, a petition under 37 CFR 1.78(c) to add a delayed benefit claim will also be required, unless the benefit claim was timely made under 37 CFR 1.78(a)(4) (which includes, inter alia, making the benefit claim during the international stage).

In order for a national stage application (of international application “X”) to obtain benefit under 35 U.S.C. 120 and 365(c) of a prior filed copending nonprovisional application or prior filed copending international application designating the United States of America, the national stage application must comply with the requirements set forth in 37 CFR 1.78(d). The prior nonprovisional application or international application must name as an inventor at least one inventor named in the later filed international application “X” and disclose the named inventor’s invention claimed in at least one claim of the national stage application in the manner provided by the first paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112. The national stage application must contain a reference to the prior nonprovisional or international application (either in an application data sheet (37 CFR 1.76) or in the first sentence(s) of the specification), identifying it by application number (series code and serial number) or international application number and international filing date and indicating the relationship of the applications. If the national stage application has an international filing date prior to September 16, 2012, then the reference must be in either an application data sheet (37 CFR 1.76) or in the first sentence(s) of the specification. See pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.78(a)(2)(iii). If national stage application has an international filing date that is on or after September 16, 2012, then the reference must be in an application data sheet (37 CFR 1.76). See 37 CFR 1.78(d)(2). However, the requirement for inclusion of the benefit claim in an application data sheet will be satisfied in a U.S. national stage application by the presentation of such benefit claim in the PCT Request form contained in the international application or the presence of such benefit claim on the front page of the published international application. See 37 CFR 1.76(g). The required reference to the earlier filed application must be submitted within the time period set forth in 37 CFR 1.78(d)(3). This time period is not extendable and failure to timely submit the required reference to the earlier application will be considered a waiver of any benefit under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c) to such prior-filed application. See 37 CFR 1.78(d)(3). However, if the entire delay, between the date the claim was due under 37 CFR 1.78(d)(3) and the date the claim was filed, was unintentional, a petition under 37 CFR 1.78(e) may be filed to accept the delayed claim.

A prior filed nonprovisional application is copending with the national stage application if the prior U.S. national application was pending on the international filing date of the national stage application.

A prior-filed international application designating the United States of America is copending with the national stage application if the prior international application was not abandoned or withdrawn, either generally or as to the United States, on the international filing date of the national stage application.

Note: a national stage application submitted under 35 U.S.C. 371 may not claim benefit of the filing date of the international application of which it is the national stage since its filing date is the international filing date of the international application. See also MPEP § 1893.03(b). Stated differently, since the international application is not an earlier application (it has the same filing date as the national stage), a benefit claim under 35 U.S.C. 120 in the national stage to the international application is inappropriate.

For a comparison with 35 U.S.C. 120 benefit claims in a national application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), see MPEP § 1895.

1893.03(d)   Unity of Invention [R-07.2015]

37 CFR 1.499 Unity of invention during the national stage

If the examiner finds that a national stage application lacks unity of invention under § 1.475, the examiner may in an Office action require the applicant in the response to that action to elect the invention to which the claims shall be restricted. Such requirement may be made before any action on the merits but may be made at any time before the final action at the discretion of the examiner. Review of any such requirement is provided under §§ 1.143 and 1.144.

PCT Rule 13 was amended effective July 1, 1992. 37 CFR 1.475 was amended effective May 1, 1993 to correspond to PCT Rule 13.

Examiners are reminded that unity of invention (not restriction practice pursuant to 37 CFR 1.141 - 1.146) is applicable in international applications (both Chapter I and II) and in national stage applications submitted under 35 U.S.C. 371. Restriction practice in accordance with 37 CFR 1.141-1.146 continues to apply to U.S. national applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), even if the application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) claims benefit under 35 U.S.C. 120 and 365(c) to an earlier international application designating the United States or to an earlier U.S. national stage application submitted under 35 U.S.C. 371.

The sections of the MPEP relating to double patenting rejections (MPEP § 804), election and reply by applicant (MPEP § 818), and rejoinder of nonelected inventions (MPEP § 821.04) generally also apply to national stage applications submitted under 35 U.S.C. 371. See MPEP § 823.

When making a unity of invention requirement, the examiner must (1) list the different groups of claims and (2) explain why each group lacks unity with each other group (i.e., why there is no single general inventive concept) specifically describing the unique special technical feature in each group.

The principles of unity of invention are used to determine the types of claimed subject matter and the combinations of claims to different categories of invention that are permitted to be included in a single international or national stage patent application. See MPEP § 1850 for a detailed discussion of Unity of Invention. The basic principle is that an application should relate to only one invention or, if there is more than one invention, that applicant would have a right to include in a single application only those inventions which are so linked as to form a single general inventive concept.

A group of inventions is considered linked to form a single general inventive concept where there is a technical relationship among the inventions that involves at least one common or corresponding special technical feature. The expression special technical features is defined as meaning those technical features that define the contribution which each claimed invention, considered as a whole, makes over the prior art. For example, a corresponding technical feature is exemplified by a key defined by certain claimed structural characteristics which correspond to the claimed features of a lock to be used with the claimed key. Note also the examples contained in Chapter 10 of the International Search and Preliminary Examination Guidelines which can be obtained from the Patent Examiner’s Toolkit or WIPO’s website (www.wipo.int/pct/en/texts/gdlines.html).

A process is “specially adapted” for the manufacture of a product if the claimed process inherently produces the claimed product with the technical relationship being present between the claimed process and the claimed product. The expression “specially adapted” does not imply that the product could not also be manufactured by a different process.

An apparatus or means is specifically designed for carrying out the process when the apparatus or means is suitable for carrying out the process with the technical relationship being present between the claimed apparatus or means and the claimed process. The expression specifically designed does not imply that the apparatus or means could not be used for carrying out another process, nor does it imply that the process could not be carried out using an alternative apparatus or means.

Note: the determination regarding unity of invention is made without regard to whether a group of inventions is claimed in separate claims or as alternatives within a single claim. The basic criteria for unity of invention are the same, regardless of the manner in which applicant chooses to draft a claim or claims.

If an examiner (1) determines that the claims do not meet the unity of invention requirement and (2) requires election of a single invention, when all of the claims drawn to the elected invention are allowable (i.e., meet the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 101, 102, 103 and 112), the nonelected invention(s) should be considered for rejoinder. Any nonelected product claim that requires all the limitations of an allowable product claim, and any nonelected process claim that requires all the limitations of an allowable process claim, should be rejoined. See MPEP § 821.04. Any nonelected processes of making and/or using an allowable product should be considered for rejoinder. The examiner should notify applicants of potential rejoinder of non-elected process claims by placing form paragraph 8.21.04 at the end of any lack of unity determination made between a product and a process of making the product or between a product and a process of using the product.

FORM PARAGRAPHS FOR LACK OF UNITY IN NATIONAL STAGE APPLICATIONS

¶ 18.18    Heading for Lack of Unity Action in National Stage Applications Submitted Under 35 U.S.C. 371 (Including Species)

REQUIREMENT FOR UNITY OF INVENTION

As provided in 37 CFR 1.475(a), a national stage application shall relate to one invention only or to a group of inventions so linked as to form a single general inventive concept (“requirement of unity of invention”). Where a group of inventions is claimed in a national stage application, the requirement of unity of invention shall be fulfilled only when there is a technical relationship among those inventions involving one or more of the same or corresponding special technical features. The expression “special technical features” shall mean those technical features that define a contribution which each of the claimed inventions, considered as a whole, makes over the prior art.

The determination whether a group of inventions is so linked as to form a single general inventive concept shall be made without regard to whether the inventions are claimed in separate claims or as alternatives within a single claim. See 37 CFR 1.475(e).

When Claims Are Directed to Multiple Categories of Inventions:

As provided in 37 CFR 1.475(b), a national stage application containing claims to different categories of invention will be considered to have unity of invention if the claims are drawn only to one of the following combinations of categories:

  • (1) A product and a process specially adapted for the manufacture of said product; or
  • (2) A product and process of use of said product; or
  • (3) A product, a process specially adapted for the manufacture of the said product, and a use of the said product; or
  • (4) A process and an apparatus or means specifically designed for carrying out the said process; or
  • (5) A product, a process specially adapted for the manufacture of the said product, and an apparatus or means specifically designed for carrying out the said process.

Otherwise, unity of invention might not be present. See 37 CFR 1.475(c).

Examiner Note:

  • 1. Begin all Lack of Unity actions in national stage applications submitted under 35 U.S.C. 371 (including species) with this heading.
  • 2. Follow with form paragraph 18.19 or 18.20, as appropriate.
  • 3. For lack of unity during the international phase, use form paragraph 18.05 instead of this form paragraph.

¶ 18.19    Restriction Requirement in National Stage Applications Submitted Under 35 U.S.C. 371

Restriction is required under 35 U.S.C. 121 and 372.

This application contains the following inventions or groups of inventions which are not so linked as to form a single general inventive concept under PCT Rule 13.1.

In accordance with 37 CFR 1.499, applicant is required, in reply to this action, to elect a single invention to which the claims must be restricted.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph is to be used when making a restriction requirement in a national stage application submitted under 35 U.S.C. 371.
  • 2. This form paragraph is to be followed by form paragraphs 18.06 - 18.06.02, as appropriate, and by form paragraphs 18.07 - 18.07.02, as appropriate.
  • 3. All restriction requirements between a product/apparatus and a process of making the product/apparatus or between a product and a process of using the product should be followed by form paragraph 8.21.04 to notify the applicant that if all product/apparatus claims are found allowable, process claims that require all the limitations of the patentable product/apparatus should be considered for rejoinder.
  • 4. When all of the claims directed to the elected invention are in condition for allowance, the propriety of the restriction requirement should be reconsidered to verify that the non-elected claims do not share a same or corresponding technical feature with the allowable claims.

¶ 8.21.04    Notice of Potential Rejoinder of Process Claims

The examiner has required restriction between product and process claims. Where applicant elects claims directed to the product/apparatus, and all product/apparatus claims are subsequently found allowable, withdrawn process claims that include all the limitations of the allowable product/apparatus claims should be considered for rejoinder. All claims directed to a nonelected process invention must include all the limitations of an allowable product/apparatus claim for that process invention to be rejoined.

In the event of rejoinder, the requirement for restriction between the product/apparatus claims and the rejoined process claims will be withdrawn, and the rejoined process claims will be fully examined for patentability in accordance with 37 CFR 1.104. Thus, to be allowable, the rejoined claims must meet all criteria for patentability including the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 101, 102, 103 and 112. Until all claims to the elected product/apparatus are found allowable, an otherwise proper restriction requirement between product/apparatus claims and process claims may be maintained. Withdrawn process claims that are not commensurate in scope with an allowable product/apparatus claim will not be rejoined. See MPEP § 821.04. Additionally, in order for rejoinder to occur, applicant is advised that the process claims should be amended during prosecution to require the limitations of the product/apparatus claims. Failure to do so may result in no rejoinder. Further, note that the prohibition against double patenting rejections of 35 U.S.C. 121 does not apply where the restriction requirement is withdrawn by the examiner before the patent issues. See MPEP § 804.01.

Examiner Note:

This form paragraph should appear at the end of any requirement for restriction between a process and a product/apparatus for practicing the process (see form paragraph 8.17), a product/apparatus and a process of making the product/apparatus (see form paragraph 8.18) or between a product/apparatus and a process of using the product/apparatus (see form paragraph 8.20). See MPEP § 821.04 for rejoinder practice.

¶ 18.20    Election of Species in National Stage Applications Submitted Under 35 U.S.C. 371

This application contains claims directed to more than one species of the generic invention. These species are deemed to lack unity of invention because they are not so linked as to form a single general inventive concept under PCT Rule 13.1.

The species are as follows:

[1]

Applicant is required, in reply to this action, to elect a single species to which the claims shall be restricted if no generic claim is finally held to be allowable. The reply must also identify the claims readable on the elected species, including any claims subsequently added. An argument that a claim is allowable or that all claims are generic is considered non-responsive unless accompanied by an election.

Upon the allowance of a generic claim, applicant will be entitled to consideration of claims to additional species which are written in dependent form or otherwise require all the limitations of an allowed generic claim. Currently, the following claim(s) are generic: [2].

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph is to be used when making an election of species requirement in a national stage application submitted under 35 U.S.C. 371.
  • 2. In bracket 1, identify the species from which an election is to be made.
  • 3. In bracket 2, identify each generic claim by number or insert the word --NONE--.
  • 4. This form paragraph is to be followed by form paragraphs 18.07 - 18.07.03, as appropriate.

¶ 18.21    Election by Original Presentation in National Stage Applications Submitted Under 35 U.S.C. 371

Newly submitted claim [1] directed to an invention that lacks unity with the invention originally claimed for the following reasons: [2]

Since applicant has received an action on the merits for the originally presented invention, this invention has been constructively elected by original presentation for prosecution on the merits. Accordingly, claim [3] withdrawn from consideration as being directed to a nonelected invention. See 37 CFR 1.142(b) and MPEP § 821.03.

¶ 18.22    Requirement for Election and Means for Traversal in National Stage Applications Submitted Under 35 U.S.C. 371

Applicant is advised that the reply to this requirement to be complete must include (i) an election of a species or invention to be examined even though the requirement may be traversed (37 CFR 1.143) and (ii) identification of the claims encompassing the elected invention.

The election of an invention or species may be made with or without traverse. To preserve a right to petition, the election must be made with traverse. If the reply does not distinctly and specifically point out supposed errors in the restriction requirement, the election shall be treated as an election without traverse. Traversal must be presented at the time of election in order to be considered timely. Failure to timely traverse the requirement will result in the loss of right to petition under 37 CFR 1.144. If claims are added after the election, applicant must indicate which of these claims are readable on the elected invention or species.

Should applicant traverse on the ground that the inventions have unity of invention (37 CFR 1.475(a)), applicant must provide reasons in support thereof. Applicant may submit evidence or identify such evidence now of record showing the inventions to be obvious variants or clearly admit on the record that this is the case. Where such evidence or admission is provided by applicant, if the examiner finds one of the inventions unpatentable over the prior art, the evidence or admission may be used in a rejection under 35 U.S.C. 103(a) of the other invention.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph should be used when requiring restriction (including an election of species) in an application that entered the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371.
  • 2. This form paragraph should follow form paragraph 8.23.01 when a telephone call was made that did not result in an election being made.

1893.03(e)   Documents Received from the International Bureau and Placed in a U.S. National Stage Application File [R-07.2015]

The national stage application includes documents communicated by the International Bureau and submissions from applicant. Some of the documents from the International Bureau are identified in this section with a brief note as to their importance to the national stage application. The examiner should review each such document and the important aspect indicated.

I.THE PUBLICATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL APPLICATION

The publication of the international application includes

  • (A) a cover page with the applicant/inventor data, the application data (application number, filing date, etc.) and the Abstract (and, if appropriate, a figure of drawing),
  • (B) the description, claims and drawing parts of the international application, and
  • (C) the search report (Form PCT/ISA/210), if available.

The publication may also include other items as set forth in PCT Rule 48.

The cover page is important as a source of the correct application data, most importantly the filing date and priority date accorded to the international application. If the international application is published in English, the Office will use the description, claims, abstract and drawings as published in the pamphlet for the U.S. national stage application under 35 U.S.C. 371. The description, claims and drawing parts of the international application reflect the application subject matter on the international filing date and are important for comparison with any amendments to check for new matter. The search report reflects the International Searching Authority’s opinion regarding the prior art.

The abstract is reproduced on the cover page of the publication, even though it appears on a separate sheet of the international application in accordance with PCT Rule 11.4(a). The requirement of 37 CFR 1.52(b) that the abstract “commence on a separate physical sheet or electronic page” does not apply to the copy of the published international application communicated to the designated Offices by the International Bureau under PCT Article 20. Accordingly, it is improper for the examiner of the U.S. national stage application to require the applicant to provide an abstract commencing on a separate sheet if the abstract does not appear on a separate sheet in the publication of the international application. Unless the abstract is properly amended under the U.S. rules during national stage processing, the abstract that appears on the cover page of the published international application will be the abstract published by the USPTO under 35 U.S.C. 122(b) and in any U.S. patent issuing from the application.

II.THE INTERNATIONAL PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION REPORT AND THE INTERNATIONAL PRELIMINARY REPORT ON PATENTABILITY (CHAPTER I AND II)

When an international preliminary examination is performed by an International Preliminary Examining Authority (IPEA), an international preliminary examination report (IPER) is prepared on Form PCT/IPEA/409 by the IPEA and sent to the elected Offices. This report reflects the IPEA’s non-binding opinion regarding novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability. The IPER bears the title “International Preliminary Report on Patentability (Chapter II of the Patent Cooperation Treaty)”.

If the applicant did not timely file a demand for international preliminary examination with the IPEA, then an “International Preliminary Report on Patentability (Chapter I of the Patent Cooperation Treaty)” reflecting the International Searching Authority’s (ISA’s) non-binding opinion regarding novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability is sent to the designated Offices.

The examiner may adopt any portion or all of the report on patentability of the IPEA or ISA upon consideration in the national stage so long as it is consistent with U.S. practice. The first Office action on the merits should indicate the report on patentability of the IPEA or ISA has been considered by the examiner. The indication may be a mere acknowledgement.

The IPER may include annexes, i.e., amendments to the international application that were made during the international phase. See MPEP § 1893.01(a)(3). These annexes will be placed in the U.S. national stage application file. Consequently, if the international application has been extensively amended during the international stage, there may be a number of different copies of the description, claims and drawings present in the national stage application file. The IPER may be consulted in Box No. I “Basis of the report” to determine what pages the report was based upon. Using the IPER as a roadmap of what happened during Chapter II examination will help determine which version should be examined.

Original sheets, substitute sheets, rectified sheets, and sheets that were incorporated by reference and included as part of the application examined under Chapter II are listed in the IPER as “originally filed/furnished.” Replacement sheets showing amendments made under PCT Article 19 or 34 and considered during Chapter II are also listed. See MPEP § 1879. If the IPER was established in a language other than English, the International Bureau will translate the IPER into English. However, the International Bureau will not translate the annexes to the IPER into English. Unless proper and timely translations are furnished by the applicant, foreign language annexes will be considered canceled. See MPEP § 1893.01(a)(3). All replacement sheets in the international application are marked with the international application number and the date of receipt in the upper right-hand corner. Replacement sheets that contain changes in format only and are accepted by the receiving Office are marked as “SUBSTITUTE SHEET” at the bottom of the page. Replacement sheets that contain a rectification of an obvious error or mistake and are accepted by either the ISA or the IPEA are marked as “RECTIFIED SHEET (RULE 91)” at the bottom of the page. Sheets that were incorporated by reference and accepted by the receiving Office are marked as “INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE (RULE 20.6).” Additionally, replacement sheets to the claims submitted to the International Bureau as Article 19 Amendments will be marked as “AMENDED SHEET (Article 19)” at the bottom of the page. Furthermore, replacement sheets to the description, claims and drawings submitted to the IPEA as Article 34 Amendments will be marked as “AMENDED SHEET” at the bottom of the page. The IPER will indicate in “Box No. I Basis of the Report” that claim nos. or pages submitted under either PCT Article 19 or 34 have been considered and will indicate the date they were received and the replacement sheets will be annexed to the IPER. The NOTIFICATION OF ACCEPTANCE OF APPLICATION UNDER 35 U.S.C. 371 AND 37 CFR 1.495 (Form PCT/DO/EO/903) should also be consulted, as it will indicate if the annexes or their translation have not been entered.

III.THE PRIORITY DOCUMENT

See the discussion in MPEP § 1893.03(c).

IV.NOTIFICATION OF WITHDRAWAL

If the national stage application papers include an indication that the international application or US designation has been withdrawn, then the application should be brought to the attention of the Office of PCT Legal Administration to determine whether the withdrawal occurred prior to completion of the requirements under 35 U.S.C. 371(c). If the withdrawal occurred prior to completion of the requirements under 35 U.S.C. 371(c), then entry into the U.S. national stage is prohibited. See 35 U.S.C. 366. The indication of withdrawal may appear on a Notification of Withdrawal (PCT/IB/307 or PCT/RO/136), a Notification that International Application Considered to Be Withdrawn (Form PCT/RO/117), or other notification.

1893.03(e)(1)   Title of the Invention [R-08.2012]

In the absence of an application data sheet (37 CFR 1.76) or preliminary amendment changing the title, the Office will use the title of the invention that appears on the first page of the description of the published international application (if published under PCT Article 21 in English) or the title that appears on the first page of the description of the English translation of the international application (if not published under PCT Article 21 in English) in preparing the official filing receipt. If the title does not appear on the first page of the description, and an application data sheet or preliminary amendment changing the title has not been furnished, then the title will be taken from the cover page of the published international application. If applicant furnishes an application data sheet or preliminary amendment changing the title, the Office will use the title as indicated in such document in preparing the official filing receipt. If applicant submits both an application data sheet and a preliminary amendment, the later filed document will govern. See 37 CFR 1.76(d)(1). An application data sheet will govern over a concurrently filed preliminary amendment. See 37 CFR 1.76(d)(2).

1893.03(f)   Drawings and PCT Rule 11 [R-08.2012]

The drawings for the national stage application must comply with PCT Rule 11. The USPTO may not impose requirements beyond those imposed by the Patent Cooperation Treaty (e.g., PCT Rule 11). However, the examiner does have the authority to require new drawings if the drawings were published without meeting all requirements under the PCT for drawings.

1893.03(g)   Information Disclosure Statement in a National Stage Application [R-07.2015]

An extensive discussion of Information Disclosure Statement practice is to be found in MPEP § 609. Although not specifically stated therein, the duty to disclose information material to patentability as defined in 37 CFR 1.56 is placed on individuals associated with the filing and prosecution of a national stage application in the same manner as for a domestic national application. The averment with respect to the duty under 37 CFR 1.56 required under 37 CFR 1.63(b)(3) in an oath or declaration is applicable to oaths and declarations filed in U.S. national stage applications. See 37 CFR 1.497(c).

When an international application is filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), prior art documents may be cited by the examiner in the international search report and/or the international preliminary examination report. It is desirable for the U.S. examiner to consider the documents cited in the international application when examining the U.S. national stage application or when examining an application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) which claims the benefit of the international application under 35 U.S.C. 365(a) or (c).

When all the requirements for a national stage application have been completed, applicant is notified (Form PCT/DO/EO/903) of the acceptance of the application under 35 U.S.C. 371, including an itemized list of the items received. The itemized list includes an indication of whether a copy of the international search report and copies of the references cited therein are present in the national stage file. The examiner will consider the documents cited in the international search report and any supplementary international search report under PCT Rule 45bis , without any further action by applicant under 37 CFR 1.97 and 1.98, when both the international search report (or supplementary international search report under PCT Rule 45bis) and copies of the documents are indicated to be present in the national stage file. The examiner will note the consideration in the first Office action. There is no requirement that the examiners list the documents on a PTO-892 form. See form paragraphs 6.53, 6.54, and 6.55 (reproduced in MPEP § 609.03). Otherwise, applicant must follow the procedure set forth in 37 CFR 1.97 and 1.98 in order to ensure that the examiner considers the documents cited in the international search report.

This practice applies only to documents cited in the international search report relative to a national stage application filed under 35 U.S.C. 371. It does not apply to documents cited in an international preliminary examination report that are not cited in the search report. It does not apply to applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) claiming the benefit of an international application filing date.

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