uspto.gov
Skip over navigation

2159    Applicability Date Provisions and Determining Whether an Application Is Subject to the First Inventor To File Provisions of the AIA [R-11.2013]

Because the changes to 35 U.S.C. 102 and 35 U.S.C. 103 in the AIA apply only to specific applications filed on or after March 16, 2013, determining the effective filing date of a claimed invention for purposes of applying AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 provisions or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 provisions is critical.

2159.01   Applications Filed Before March 16, 2013 [R-11.2013]

The changes to 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 in the AIA do not apply to any application filed before March 16, 2013. Thus, any application filed before March 16, 2013, is governed by pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 (i.e., the application is a pre-AIA first to invent application). Note that neither the filing of a request for continued examination, nor entry into the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371, constitutes the filing of a new application. Accordingly, even if a request for continued examination under 37 CFR 1.114 is filed on or after March 16, 2013, in an application that was filed before March 16, 2013, the application remains subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103. Similarly, a PCT application filed under 35 U.S.C. 363 before March 16, 2013, is subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103, regardless of whether the application enters the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 before or after March 16, 2013. Additionally, adding claims after March 16, 2013 in an application filed before March 16, 2013 via an amendment which contains new matter does not make the changes to 35 U.S.C. 102 and 35 U.S.C. 103 in the AIA applicable to the application because 35 U.S.C. 132(a) prohibits the introduction of new matter into the disclosure. If new matter is added via amendment, claims directed to the new matter will be rejected under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph. See MPEP § 608.04.

2159.02   Applications Filed on or After March 16, 2013 [R-11.2013]

AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 took effect on March 16, 2013. AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 apply to any patent application that contains or contained at any time a claim to a claimed invention that has an effective filing date that is on or after March 16, 2013. If a patent application (1) contains or contained at any time a claim to a claimed invention having an effective filing date as defined in 35 U.S.C. 100(i) that is on or after March 16, 2013 or (2) claims or ever claimed the benefit of an earlier filing date under 35 U.S.C. 120 , 121, or 365 based upon an earlier application that ever contained such a claim, then AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 apply to the application, (i.e., the application is an AIA application). If there is ever even a single claim to a claimed invention in the application having an effective filing date on or after March 16, 2013, AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 apply in determining the patentability of every claimed invention in the application. This is the situation even if the remaining claimed inventions all have an effective filing date before March 16, 2013, and even if the claim to a claimed invention having an effective filing date on or after March 16, 2013, is canceled.

If an application filed on or after March 16, 2013, that did not previously contain any claim to a claimed invention having an effective filing date on or after March 16, 2013, (a pre-AIA application) is amended to contain a claim to a claimed invention having an effective filing date on or after March 16, 2013, the application becomes an AIA application (AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 apply to the application), provided that the newly added claimed invention has support under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) in the application filed on or after March 16, 2013. The application also becomes subject to AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 even if the claim to a claimed invention having an effective filing date on or after March 16, 2013, is subsequently canceled. If an amendment after an Office action causes the application to change from being governed by pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 (from being a pre-AIA application) to being governed by AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 (to being a AIA application), any new ground of rejection necessitated by the change in applicable law would be considered a new ground of rejection necessitated by an amendment for purposes of determining whether the next Office action may be made final. See MPEP § 706.07(a).

As 35 U.S.C. 132(a) prohibits the introduction of new matter into the disclosure, an application may not contain a claim to a claimed invention that does not have support under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) in the application (that is directed to new matter). Thus, an application cannot “contain” a claim to a claimed invention that is directed to new matter for purposes of determining whether the application ever contained a claim to a claimed invention having an effective filing date on or after March 16, 2013. Amendments that are believed to contain new matter should be treated as follows: (1) a new drawing should not be entered if the examiner discovers that the drawing contains new matter (MPEP § 608.02, subsection II.); and (2) amendments to the written description or claims involving new matter are ordinarily entered, but the new matter is required to be canceled from the written description and the claims directed to the new matter are rejected under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) (MPEP § 608.04). This process for treating amendments containing new matter is purely an administrative process for handling an amendment seeking to introduce new matter into the disclosure of the invention in violation of 35 U.S.C. 132(a), and for resolving disputes between the applicant and an examiner as to whether a new drawing or amendment to the written description or claims would actually introduce new matter into the disclosure of the invention. Therefore, an amendment (other than a preliminary amendment filed on the same day as such application) seeking to add a claim to a claimed invention that is directed to new matter in an application filed on or after March 16, 2013, that, as originally filed, discloses and claims only subject matter also disclosed in an earlier application filed before March 16, 2013 to which the application filed on or after March 16, 2013, is entitled to priority or benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119, 120, 121, or 365, would not change the application from a pre-AIA application into an AIA application.

2159.03   Applications Subject to the AIA but Also Containing a Claimed Invention Having an Effective Filing Date Before March 16, 2013 [R-11.2013]

Even if AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 apply to a patent application, pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(g) also applies to every claim in the application if it: (1) contains or contained at any time a claimed invention having an effective filing date as defined in 35 U.S.C. 100(i) that occurs before March 16, 2013; or (2) is ever designated as a continuation, divisional, or continuation-in-part of an application that contains or contained at any time such a claim. Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(g) also applies to any patent resulting from an application to which pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(g) applied. See MPEP § 2138.

Thus, if an application contains, or contained at any time, any claim having an effective filing date that occurs before March 16, 2013, and also contains, or contained at any time, any claim having an effective filing date that is on or after March 16, 2013, each claim must be patentable under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103, as well as pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(g), for the applicant to be entitled to a patent. However, an application will not otherwise be concurrently subject to both pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 and AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103.

For these reasons, when subject matter is claimed in an application filed on or after March 16, 2013 having priority to or the benefit (e.g., under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c)) of a prior application filed before March 16, 2013, care must be taken to accurately determine whether AIA or 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 applies to the application. See Also MPEP § 2151.

2159.04   Applicant Statement in Transition Applications Containing a Claimed Invention Having an Effective Filing Date on or After March 16, 2013 [R-11.2013]

The Office revised 37 CFR 1.55 and 1.78 to require that if a nonprovisional application filed on or after March 16, 2013, claims the benefit of or priority to an application where the filing date of a foreign, U.S. provisional, U.S. nonprovisional, or international application is prior to March 16, 2013 (termed as “a transition application”), and also contains or contained at any time a claimed invention having an effective filing date on or after March 16, 2013, the applicant must provide a statement to that effect (“the 37 CFR 1.55 or 1.78 statement”). This information will assist the Office in determining whether the transition application is subject to AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103. However, applicant is not required to provide this information if the transition application claims the benefit of an earlier transition application in which a 37 CFR 1.55 or 37 CFR 1.78 statement has been filed. See 37 CFR 1.78(c)(6)(i). See also MPEP § 210.

[top]

 

United States Patent and Trademark Office
This page is owned by Patents.
Last Modified: 03/27/2014 10:10:34