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2411    Examination Procedures [R-07.2015]

37 CFR 1.809  Examination procedures.

  • (a) The examiner shall determine pursuant to § 1.104 in each application for patent, application for reissue patent or reexamination proceeding if a deposit is needed, and if needed, if a deposit actually made is acceptable for patent purposes. If a deposit is needed and has not been made or replaced or supplemented in accordance with these regulations, the examiner, where appropriate, shall reject the affected claims under the appropriate provision of 35 U.S.C. 112, explaining why a deposit is needed and/or why a deposit actually made cannot be accepted.
  • (b) The applicant for patent or patent owner shall reply to a rejection under paragraph (a) of this section by—
    • (1) In the case of an applicant for patent, either making an acceptable original, replacement, or supplemental deposit, or assuring the Office in writing that an acceptable deposit will be made; or, in the case of a patent owner, requesting a certificate of correction of the patent which meets the terms of paragraphs (b) and (c) of § 1.805, or
    • (2) Arguing why a deposit is not needed under the circumstances of the application or patent considered and/or why a deposit actually made should be accepted. Other replies to the examiner’s action shall be considered nonresponsive. The rejection will be repeated until either paragraph (b)(1) of this section is satisfied or the examiner is convinced that a deposit is not needed.
  • (c) If an application for patent is otherwise in condition for allowance except for a needed deposit and the Office has received a written assurance that an acceptable deposit will be made, the Office may notify the applicant in a notice of allowability and set a three month period of time from the mailing date of the notice of allowability within which the deposit must be made in order to avoid abandonment. This time period is not extendable under § 1.136 (see § 1.136(c)).
  • (d) For each deposit made pursuant to these regulations, the specification shall contain:
    • (1) The accession number for the deposit;
    • (2) The date of the deposit;
    • (3) A description of the deposited biological material sufficient to specifically identify it and to permit examination; and
    • (4) The name and address of the depository.
  • (e) Any amendment required by paragraphs (d)(1), (d)(2) or (d)(4) of this section must be filed before or with the payment of the issue fee (see § 1.312).

37 CFR 1.809 sets forth procedures that will be used by the examiner to address a deposit issue. The burden is initially on the Office to establish that access to a biological material is necessary for the satisfaction of the statutory requirements for patentability under 35 U.S.C. 112. Once the Office has met this burden, the burden shifts to the applicant or patent owner to demonstrate that access to such biological material either is not necessary, or is already available, or that a deposit of such material will be made in accordance with these regulations.

2411.01   Rejections Based on Deposit Issue [R-07.2015]

Under 37 CFR 1.809(a), once the examiner has determined that access to a biological material is necessary, and there is no information that would support the conclusion that access is currently available in accordance with these regulations, the examiner should make an appropriate rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112 until such time as a deposit in accordance with these regulations is actually made or a written assurance is received in the patent application that such a deposit will be made upon an indication of allowability of the application. The examiner should clearly indicate the statutory basis for the rejection and the reasons that are relied upon by the examiner to conclude that the application does not comply with some requirement of 35 U.S.C. 112. Although not exhaustive, the following grounds of rejection may be applicable in appropriate circumstances:

  • (A) 35 U.S.C. 112(a), enablement requirement. Rejection for lack of an enabling disclosure without access to a specific biological material. This ground of rejection should be accompanied by evidence of scientific reasoning to support the conclusion that a person skilled in the art could not make or use the invention defined in and commensurate with the claims without access to the specific biological material. See MPEP § 2164.06(a).
  • (B) 35 U.S.C. 112(a), written description requirement. A rejection for lack of written description typically arises in the context that the application as filed does not contain a description to support an amendment to the specification or claims, although it can arise in the context of original claims. See MPEP § 2163et seq. An amendment to the claims that is not described in the application as filed would justify a rejection of the affected claims under 35 U.S.C. 112(a). If an amendment is made to the application, other than the claims, that is not described in the application as filed, this would justify a rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) and/or an objection under 35 U.S.C. 132 (prohibition against the introduction of new matter) and a requirement that the amendment be canceled.
  • (C) 35 U.S.C. 112(a), best mode requirement. A rejection for lack of a best mode will be rare in the ex parte examination process because it requires (1) a finding by the examiner that, at the time the application was filed, the inventor(s) knew of a specific material that was considered by the inventor(s) to be better than any other, and (2) if a best mode was contemplated at that time, that the inventor(s) concealed the best mode (accidentally or intentionally) by failing to adequately describe that best mode. See Chemcast Corp. v. Arco Industries Corp., 913 F.2d 923, 16 USPQ2d 1033 (Fed. Cir. 1990). See also MPEP § 2165et seq.
  • (D) 35 U.S.C. 112(b), requirement to particularly point out and distinctly claim invention. A rejection for indefiniteness, as applied to a deposit issue, requires the examiner to provide reasons why the terms in the claims and/or scope of the invention are unclear because of an incomplete or inaccurate description or the absence of a reference to a biological material.
  • (E) 35 U.S.C. 112(b), requirement to claim what the inventor or a joint inventor regards as the invention. A rejection on the basis that the claims do not set forth the subject matter that the inventor or a joint inventor regards as the invention requires the citation of some evidence, not contained in the application as filed, to support the rejection. In re Prater, 415 F.2d 1393, 162 USPQ 541 (CCPA 1969). Any disagreement between the content of the application disclosure and the scope of the claims should be addressed under 35 U.S.C. 112(a). See In re Ehrreich, 590 F.2d 902, 200 USPQ 504 (CCPA 1979).

Where a deposit is required to satisfy 35 U.S.C. 112, a deposit must be made in accordance with these regulations. See 37 CFR 1.802. A deposit accepted in any International Depositary Authority (IDA) under the Budapest Treaty shall be accepted for patent purposes if made under conditions which comply with 37 CFR 1.806 and 37 CFR 1.808(a) concerning term of deposit and permissible conditions on access once the patent is granted.

2411.02   Replies to Rejections Based on Deposit Issue [R-07.2015]

Once a rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112 has been made by the examiner directed to the absence of access to a biological material, applicant may reply, pursuant to 37 CFR 1.809(b)(1), by either making an acceptable original, replacement, or supplemental deposit in accordance with these regulations, or assuring the Office in writing that an acceptable deposit will be made on or before the date of payment of the issue fee, or by submitting an argument of why a deposit is not required under the circumstances of the application being considered. Other replies to such a rejection by the examiner shall be considered nonresponsive and may result in abandonment of the application. The rejection will be repeated and made final until the requirements of 37 CFR 1.809(b)(1) are satisfied or the examiner is convinced that a deposit is not required for the claimed subject matter. Once the rejection is made final, the requirements of 37 CFR 1.116 apply to further submissions. The written assurance will be accepted by the Office if it clearly states that an acceptable deposit will be made within the required time and under conditions which satisfy these rules. In the case that an acceptable written assurance has been made by the applicant, the rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112 directed to the absence of access to the biological material should be removed.

2411.03   Application in Condition for Allowance Except for Deposit [R-07.2015]

As set forth in 37 CFR 1.809(c), in the event that an application for patent is otherwise in condition for allowance except for a required deposit and the Office has received a written assurance that an acceptable deposit will be made, the Office may notify the applicant in a notice of allowability and set a three month period of time from the mailing date of the notice of allowability within which the deposit must be made in order to avoid abandonment. This time period is not extendable under 37 CFR 1.136 (see 37 CFR 1.136(c)). Failure to make the needed deposit in accordance with this requirement will be considered a failure to prosecute the application under 35 U.S.C. 133 and result in abandonment of the application.

Once the deposit has been made, information regarding the deposit, such as the name and address of the depository, the accession number and the date of the deposit, that is to be added to the specification must be added by means of filing an amendment under the provisions of 37 CFR 1.312. Such an amendment must be filed before or with the payment of the issue fee. Therefore, applicants need to make any necessary deposit of biological material well prior to payment of the issue fee such that the accession number is received with sufficient time remaining to amend the specification as required by 37 CFR 1.809(d) on or before the date the issue fee is paid. See 37 CFR 1.809(e).

2411.04   [Reserved]

2411.05   Content of Application with Respect to Deposited Material [R-08.2012]

37 CFR 1.809(d) sets forth the requirements for the content of the specification with respect to a deposited biological material. Specifically, the specification shall contain the accession number for the deposit, the date of the deposit, the name and address of the depository, and a description of the deposited biological material sufficient to specifically identify it and to permit examination. The description also must be sufficient to permit verification that the deposited biological material is in fact that disclosed. Once the patent issues, the description must be sufficient to aid in the resolution of questions of infringement. As a general rule, the more information that is provided about a particular deposited biological material, the better the examiner will be able to compare the identity and characteristics of the deposited biological material with the prior art.

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Last Modified: 11/04/2015 11:01:47