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2155    Use of Affidavits or Declarations Under 37 CFR 1.130 To Overcome Prior Art Rejections [R-11.2013]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2131-MPEP § 2138 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

37 C.F.R. 1.130  Affidavit or declaration of attribution or prior public disclosure under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.

  • (a) Affidavit or declaration of attribution. When any claim of an application or a patent under reexamination is rejected, the applicant or patent owner may submit an appropriate affidavit or declaration to disqualify a disclosure as prior art by establishing that the disclosure was made by the inventor or a joint inventor, or the subject matter disclosed was obtained directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor.
  • (b) Affidavit or declaration of prior public disclosure. When any claim of an application or a patent under reexamination is rejected, the applicant or patent owner may submit an appropriate affidavit or declaration to disqualify a disclosure as prior art by establishing that the subject matter disclosed had, before such disclosure was made or before such subject matter was effectively filed, been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor or another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor. An affidavit or declaration under this paragraph must identify the subject matter publicly disclosed and provide the date such subject matter was publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor or another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor.
    • (1) If the subject matter publicly disclosed on that date was in a printed publication, the affidavit or declaration must be accompanied by a copy of the printed publication.
    • (2) If the subject matter publicly disclosed on that date was not in a printed publication, the affidavit or declaration must describe the subject matter with sufficient detail and particularity to determine what subject matter had been publicly disclosed on that date by the inventor or a joint inventor or another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor.
  • (c) When this section is not available. The provisions of this section are not available if the rejection is based upon a disclosure made more than one year before the effective filing date of the claimed invention. The provisions of this section may not be available if the rejection is based upon a U.S. patent or U.S. patent application publication of a patented or pending application naming another inventor, the patent or pending application claims an invention that is the same or substantially the same as the applicant's or patent owner's claimed invention, and the affidavit or declaration contends that an inventor named in the U.S. patent or U.S. patent application publication derived the claimed invention from the inventor or a joint inventor named in the application or patent, in which case an applicant or a patent owner may file a petition for a derivation proceeding pursuant to § 42.401et seq. of this title.
  • (d) Applications and patents to which this section is applicable. The provisions of this section apply to any application for patent, and to any patent issuing thereon, that contains, or contained at any time:
    • (1) A claim to a claimed invention that has an effective filing date as defined in 35 U.S.C. 100(i) that is on or after March 16, 2013; or
    • (2) A specific reference under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c) to any patent or application that contains, or contained at any time, a claim to a claimed invention that has an effective filing date as defined in 35 U.S.C. 100(i) that is on or after March 16, 2013.

The Office has provided a mechanism in 37 CFR 1.130 for filing an affidavit or declaration to establish that a disclosure is not prior art under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) due to an exception in AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b). Under 37 CFR 1.130(a), an affidavit or declaration of attribution may be submitted to disqualify a disclosure as prior art because it was made by the inventor or a joint inventor, or the subject matter disclosed was obtained directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor. Under 37 CFR 1.130(b), an affidavit or declaration of prior public disclosure may be submitted to disqualify an intervening disclosure as prior art if the subject matter disclosed had, before such disclosure was made or before such subject matter was effectively filed in a U.S. patent, U.S. patent application publication, or WIPO published application, been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor or another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor.

2155.01   Showing That the Disclosure Was Made by the Inventor or a Joint Inventor [R-11.2013]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2131-MPEP § 2138 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(A) provides that a grace period disclosure shall not be prior art to a claimed invention under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) if the disclosure was made by the inventor or a joint inventor. An applicant may show that a disclosure was made by the inventor or a joint inventor by way of an affidavit or declaration under 37 CFR 1.130(a) (an affidavit or declaration of attribution). See In re Katz, 687 F.2d 450, 455, 215 USPQ 14, 18 (CCPA 1982) and MPEP § 718. Where the authorship of the prior art disclosure includes the inventor or a joint inventor named in the application, an “unequivocal” statement from the inventor or a joint inventor that he/she (or some specific combination of named inventors) invented the subject matter of the disclosure, accompanied by a reasonable explanation of the presence of additional authors, may be acceptable in the absence of evidence to the contrary. See In re DeBaun, 687 F.2d 459, 463, 214 USPQ 933, 936 (CCPA 1982). However, a mere statement from the inventor or a joint inventor without any accompanying reasonable explanation may not be sufficient where there is evidence to the contrary. See Ex parte Kroger, 219 USPQ 370 (Bd. App. 1982) (affirming rejection notwithstanding declarations by the alleged actual inventors as to their inventorship in view of a nonapplicant author submitting a letter declaring the nonapplicant author's inventorship). This is similar to the current process for disqualifying a publication as not being by “others” discussed in MPEP § 2132.01, except that AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(A) requires only that the disclosure be by the inventor or a joint inventor.

2155.02   Showing That the Subject Matter Disclosed Had Been Previously Publicly Disclosed by the Inventor or a Joint Inventor [R-11.2013]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2131-MPEP § 2138 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(B) provides that a grace period disclosure shall not be prior art to a claimed invention under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) if subject matter disclosed had, before such disclosure, been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor. Similarly, AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(B) provides that a disclosure shall not be prior art to a claimed invention under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) if the subject matter disclosed had, before such subject matter was effectively filed under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2), been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor. An applicant may show that the subject matter disclosed had been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor before the disclosure or effective filing date of the subject matter on which the rejection was based by way of an affidavit or declaration under 37 CFR 1.130(b) (an affidavit or declaration of prior public disclosure). Specifically, the affidavit or declaration must identify the subject matter publicly disclosed and establish the date and content of their earlier public disclosure. If the earlier public disclosure is a printed publication, the affidavit or declaration must be accompanied by a copy of the printed publication in accordance with37 CFR 1.130(b)(1). If the earlier disclosure is not a printed publication, the affidavit or declaration must describe the earlier disclosure with sufficient detail and particularity to determine that the earlier disclosure is a public disclosure of the subject matter, as required by 37 CFR 1.130(b)(2).

The manner of disclosure of subject matter referenced in an affidavit or declaration under 37 CFR 1.130(b)(2) is not critical. Just as the prior art provision of AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) encompasses any disclosure that renders a claimed invention “available to the public,” any manner of disclosure may be evidenced in an affidavit or declaration under 37 CFR 1.130(b). That is, when using an affidavit or declaration under 37 CFR 1.130(b) to disqualify an intervening disclosure as prior art based on a prior public disclosure by an inventor or a joint inventor, it is not necessary for the subject matter to have been disclosed in the same manner or using the same words. For example, the inventor or a joint inventor may have publicly disclosed the subject matter in question via a slide presentation at a scientific meeting, while the intervening disclosure of the subject matter may have been made in a journal article. This difference in the manner of disclosure or differences in the words used to describe the subject matter will not preclude the inventor from submitting an affidavit or declaration under 37 CFR 1.130(b) to disqualify the intervening disclosure (e.g., a journal article) as prior art.

2155.03   Showing That the Disclosure was Made, or That Subject Matter had Been Previously Publicly Disclosed, by Another Who Obtained the Subject Matter Disclosed Directly or Indirectly From the Inventor or a Joint Inventor [R-11.2013]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2131-MPEP § 2138 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(A), 102(b)(1)(B), 102(b)(2)(A), and 102(b)(2)(B) each provide similar treatment for disclosures of subject matter by another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor. Specifically, AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(A) provides that a grace period disclosure shall not be prior art to a claimed invention under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) if the disclosure was made by another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor, and AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(A) provides that a disclosure shall not be prior art to a claimed invention under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) if the subject matter disclosed was obtained directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor.

In addition, AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(B) and 102(b)(2)(B) respectively provide that a grace period disclosure under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1), and that a disclosure under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) shall not be prior art to a claimed invention, if the subject matter disclosed had, before such grace disclosure was made or before such subject matter was effectively filed according to 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2), been publicly disclosed by another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor. An applicant may also show that another obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor in an affidavit or declaration under 37 CFR 1.130(a) or (b). Thus, an applicant may establish a prior public disclosure by another during the grace period if the applicant can establish that subject matter disclosed originated with the inventor or a joint inventor and that the subject matter was communicated by the inventor or a joint inventor, directly or indirectly. Any documentation which provides evidence of the communication of the subject matter by the inventor or a joint inventor to the entity that made the disclosure of the subject matter directly or indirectly, such as by an assignee of the inventor, should accompany the affidavit or declaration.

2155.04   Enablement [R-11.2013]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2131-MPEP § 2138 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

An affidavit or declaration under 37 CFR 1.130(a) or (b) need not demonstrate that the disclosure by the inventor, a joint inventor, or another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from an inventor or a joint inventor was an “enabling” disclosure of the subject matter within the meaning of 35 U.S.C. 112(a). Rather, an affidavit or declaration under 37 CFR 1.130 must show that: (1) the disclosure in question was made by the inventor or a joint inventor, or the subject matter disclosed was obtained directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor (37 CFR 1.130(a)); or (2) the subject matter disclosed had, before such disclosure was made or before such subject matter was effectively filed, been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor or another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor (37 CFR 1.130(b)).

2155.05   Who May File an Affidavit or Declaration Under 37 CFR 1.130 [R-11.2013]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2131-MPEP § 2138 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

In accordance with 37 CFR 1.130, the applicant or patent owner may submit an affidavit or declaration. When an assignee, obligated assignee, or person showing sufficient proprietary interest is the applicant under 35 U.S.C. 118 rather than the inventor, the inventor may sign an affidavit or declaration under 37 CFR 1.130 to disqualify a disclosure of the invention as prior art, but the declaration must be filed by a party having authority to take action in the application. Authority to file papers in an application generally does not lie with the inventor if the inventor is not the applicant.

2155.06   Situations in Which an Affidavit or Declaration Is Not Available [R-11.2013]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2131-MPEP § 2138 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

The provisions of 37 CFR 1.130 are not available if the rejection is based upon a disclosure made more than one year before the effective filing date of the claimed invention. A disclosure made more than one year before the effective filing date of a claimed invention is prior art under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) that cannot be disqualified under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1).

Additionally, the provisions of 37 CFR 1.130 may not be available if the rejection is based upon a U.S. patent or U.S. patent application publication naming another inventor if: (1) the patent or pending application claims an invention that is the same or substantially the same as the applicant's or patent owner's claimed invention; and (2) the affidavit or declaration contends that an inventor named in the U.S. patent or U.S. patent application publication derived the claimed invention from the inventor or a joint inventor named in the application or patent. The provisions of 37 CFR 1.130 are not available if it would result in the Office issuing or confirming two patents containing patentably indistinct claims to two different parties. See In re Deckler, 977 F.2d 1449, 1451-52, 24 USPQ2d 1448, 1449 (Fed. Cir. 1992) (35 U.S.C. 102 , 103, and 135 “clearly contemplate—where different inventive entities are concerned—only one patent should issue for inventions which are either identical to or not patentably distinct from each other”) (quoting Aelony v. Arni, 547 F.2d 566, 570, 192 USPQ 486, 490 (CCPA 1977)). In this situation, an applicant or patent owner may file a petition for a derivation proceeding pursuant to 37 CFR 42.401et seq. (37 CFR 1.130(c)).

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Last Modified: 03/27/2014 10:10:34