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608    Disclosure [R-11.2013]

To obtain a valid patent, a patent application as filed must contain a full and clear disclosure of the invention in the manner prescribed by 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph. The requirement for an adequate disclosure ensures that the public receives something in return for the exclusionary rights that are granted to the inventor by a patent. All amendments and claims must find descriptive basis in the original disclosure.No new matter may be introduced into an application after its filing date. Applicant may rely for disclosure upon the specification with original claims and drawings, as filed. See also 37 CFR 1.121(f) and MPEP § 608.04.

If during the course of examination of a patent application, an examiner notes the use of language that could be deemed offensive to any race, religion, sex, ethnic group, or nationality, he or she should object to the use of the language as failing to comply with 37 CFR 1.3 which proscribes the presentation of papers which are lacking in decorum and courtesy. The inclusion of such proscribed language in a Federal Government publication would not be in the public interest. Also, the inclusion in application drawings of any depictions or caricatures that might reasonably be considered offensive to any group should be similarly objected to,.

An application should not be classified for publication under 35 U.S.C. 122(b) and anexaminer should not pass the application to issue until such language or drawings have been deleted, or questions relating to the propriety thereof fully resolved.

For design application practice, see MPEP § 1504.

See MPEP § 714.25 for information pertaining to amendments and other papers presented in violation of 37 CFR 1.3.

608.01   Specification [R-11.2013]

35 U.S.C. 22   Printing of papers filed.

The Director may require papers filed in the Patent and Trademark Office to be printed, typewritten, or on an electronic medium.

37 C.F.R. 1.71   Detailed description and specification of the invention.

  • (a) The specification must include a written description of the invention or discovery and of the manner and process of making and using the same, and is required to be in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art or science to which the invention or discovery appertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same.
  • (b) The specification must set forth the precise invention for which a patent is solicited, in such manner as to distinguish it from other inventions and from what is old. It must describe completely a specific embodiment of the process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter or improvement invented, and must explain the mode of operation or principle whenever applicable. The best mode contemplated by the inventor of carrying out his invention must be set forth.
  • (c) In the case of an improvement, the specification must particularly point out the part or parts of the process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter to which the improvement relates, and the description should be confined to the specific improvement and to such parts as necessarily cooperate with it or as may be necessary to a complete understanding or description of it.
  • (d) A copyright or mask work notice may be placed in a design or utility patent application adjacent to copyright and mask work material contained therein. The notice may appear at any appropriate portion of the patent application disclosure. For notices in drawings, see § 1.84(s). The content of the notice must be limited to only those elements provided for by law. For example, “©1983 John Doe”(17 U.S.C. 401) and “*M* John Doe” (17 U.S.C. 909) would be properly limited and, under current statutes, legally sufficient notices of copyright and mask work, respectively. Inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice will be permitted only if the authorization language set forth in paragraph (e) of this section is included at the beginning (preferably as the first paragraph) of the specification.
  • (e) The authorization shall read as follows:

    A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to (copyright or mask work) protection. The (copyright or mask work) owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all (copyright or mask work) rights whatsoever.

  • (f) The specification must commence on a separate sheet. Each sheet including part of the specification may not include other parts of the application or other information. The claim(s), abstract and sequence listing (if any) should not be included on a sheet including any other part of the application.
  • (g)
    • (1) The specification may disclose or be amended to disclose the names of the parties to a joint research agreement as defined in § 1.9(e).
    • (2) An amendment under paragraph (g)(1) of this section must be accompanied by the processing fee set forth § 1.17(i) if not filed within one of the following time periods:
      • (i) Within three months of the filing date of a national application;
      • (ii) Within three months of the date of entry of the national stage as set forth in § 1.491 in an international application;
      • (iii) Before the mailing of a first Office action on the merits; or
      • (iv) Before the mailing of a first Office action after the filing of a request for continued examination under § 1.114.
    • (3) If an amendment under paragraph (g)(1) of this section is filed after the date the issue fee is paid, the patent as issued may not necessarily include the names of the parties to the joint research agreement. If the patent as issued does not include the names of the parties to the joint research agreement, the patent must be corrected to include the names of the parties to the joint research agreement by a certificate of correction under 35 U.S.C. 255 and § 1.323 for the amendment to be effective.

The specification is a written description of the invention and of the manner and process of making and using the same. The specification must be in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art or science to which the invention pertains to make and use the same. See 35 U.S.C. 112 and 37 CFR 1.71. If a newly filed application obviously fails to disclose an invention with the clarity required by 35 U.S.C. 112, revision of the application should be required. See MPEP § 702.01. The written description must not include information that is not related to applicant’s invention, e.g., prospective disclaimers regarding comments made by examiners. If such information is included in the written description, the examiner will object to the specification and require applicant to take appropriate action, e.g., cancel the information. The specification must commence on a separate sheet. Each sheet including part of the specification may not include other parts of the application or other information. The claim(s), abstract and sequence listing (if any) should not be included on a sheet including any other part of the application (37 CFR 1.71(f)). That is, the claim(s), abstract and sequence listings (if any) should each begin on a new page since each of these sections (specification, abstract, claims, sequence listings) of the disclosure are separately indexed in the Image File Wrapper (IFW). There should be no overlap on a single page of more than one section of the disclosure.

The specification does not require a date.

Certain cross references to other related applications may be made. References to foreign applications or to applications identified only by the attorney’s docket number should be required to be canceled. U.S. applications identified only by the attorney’s docket number may be amended to properly identify the earlier application(s). See 37 CFR 1.78.

As the specification is never returned to applicant under any circumstances, the applicant should retain an accurate copy thereof. In amending the specification, the attorney or the applicant must comply with 37 CFR 1.121 (see MPEP § 714).

Examiners should not object to the specification and/or claims in patent applications merely because applicants are using British English spellings (e.g., colour) rather than American English spellings. It is not necessary to replace the British English spellings with the equivalent American English spellings in the U.S. patent applications. Note that 37 CFR 1.52(b)(1)(ii) only requires the application to be in the English language. There is no additional requirement that the English must be American English.

Form paragraph 7.29 may be used where the disclosure contains minor informalities.

¶ 7.29    Disclosure Objected to, Minor Informalities

The disclosure is objected to because of the following informalities: [1]. Appropriate correction is required.

Examiner Note:

Use this paragraph to point out minor informalities such as spelling errors, inconsistent terminology, numbering of elements, etc., which should be corrected. See form paragraphs 6.28 to 6.32 for specific informalities.

Form paragraphs 6.29-6.31 should be used where appropriate.

¶ 6.29    Specification, Spacing of Lines

The spacing of the lines of the specification is such as to make reading difficult. New application papers with lines 1 1/2 or double spaced on good quality paper are required.

¶ 6.30    Numerous Errors in Specification

35 U.S.C. 112(a) or 35 U.S.C. 112 (pre-AIA), first paragraph, requires the specification to be written in “full, clear, concise, and exact terms.” The specification is replete with terms which are not clear, concise and exact. The specification should be revised carefully in order to comply with 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or 35 U.S.C. 112 (pre-AIA). Examples of some unclear, inexact or verbose terms used in the specification are: [1].

¶ 6.31    Lengthy Specification, Jumbo Application

The lengthy specification has not been checked to the extent necessary to determine the presence of all possible minor errors. Applicant’s cooperation is requested in correcting any errors of which applicant may become aware in the specification.

Examiner Note:

This paragraph is applicable in so-called “Jumbo Applications” (more than 20 pages, exclusive of claims).

I.   PAPER REQUIREMENTS

37 C.F.R. 1.52   Language, paper, writing, margins, compact disc specifications.

  • (a) Papers that are to become a part of the permanent United States Patent and Trademark Office records in the file of a patent application or a reexamination proceeding.
    • (1) All papers, other than drawings, that are submitted on paper or by facsimile transmission, and are to become a part of the permanent United States Patent and Trademark Office records in the file of a patent application or reexamination proceeding, must be on sheets of paper that are the same size, not permanently bound together, and:
      • (i) Flexible, strong, smooth, non-shiny, durable, and white;
      • (ii) Either 21.0 cm by 29.7 cm (DIN size A4) or 21.6 cm by 27.9 cm (8 1/2 by 11 inches), with each sheet including a top margin of at least 2.0 cm (3/4 inch), a left side margin of at least 2.5 cm (1 inch), a right side margin of at least 2.0 cm (3/4 inch), and a bottom margin of at least 2.0 cm (3/4 inch);
      • (iii) Written on only one side in portrait orientation;
      • (iv) Plainly and legibly written either by a typewriter or machine printer in permanent dark ink or its equivalent; and
      • (v) Presented in a form having sufficient clarity and contrast between the paper and the writing thereon to permit the direct reproduction of readily legible copies in any number by use of photographic, electrostatic, photo-offset, and microfilming processes and electronic capture by use of digital imaging and optical character recognition.
    • (2) All papers that are submitted on paper or by facsimile transmission and are to become a part of the permanent records of the United States Patent and Trademark Office should have no holes in the sheets as submitted.
    • (3) The provisions of this paragraph and paragraph (b) of this section do not apply to the pre-printed information on paper forms provided by the Office, or to the copy of the patent submitted on paper in double column format as the specification in a reissue application or request for reexamination.
    • (4) See § 1.58 for chemical and mathematical formulae and tables, and § 1.84 for drawings.
    • (5) Papers that are submitted electronically to the Office must be formatted and transmitted in compliance with the Office’s electronic filing system requirements.
  • (b) The application (specification, including the claims, drawings, and the inventor’s oath or declaration) or supplemental examination or reexamination proceeding and any amendments or corrections to the application or reexamination proceeding.
    • (1) The application or proceeding and any amendments or corrections to the application (including any translation submitted pursuant to paragraph (d) of this section) or proceeding, except as provided for in § 1.69 and paragraph (d) of this section, must:
      • (i) Comply with the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section; and
      • (ii) Be in the English language or be accompanied by a translation of the application and a translation of any corrections or amendments into the English language together with a statement that the translation is accurate.
    • (2) The specification (including the abstract and claims) for other than reissue applications and reexamination proceedings, and any amendments for applications (including reissue applications) and reexamination proceedings to the specification, except as provided for in §§ 1.821 through 1.825, must have:
      • (i) Lines that are 1 1/2 or double spaced;
      • (ii) Text written in a nonscript type font (e.g., Arial, Times Roman, or Courier, preferably a font size of 12) lettering style having capital letters which should be at least 0.3175 cm. (0.125 inch) high, but may be no smaller than 0.21 cm. (0.08 inch) high (e.g., a font size of 6); and
      • (iii) Only a single column of text.
    • (3) The claim or claims must commence on a separate physical sheet or electronic page (§ 1.75(h)).
    • (4) The abstract must commence on a separate physical sheet or electronic page or be submitted as the first page of the patent in a reissue application or reexamination proceeding (§ 1.72(b)).
    • (5) Other than in a reissue application or reexamination proceeding, the pages of the specification including claims and abstract must be numbered consecutively, starting with 1, the numbers being centrally located above or preferably below, the text.
    • (6) Other than in a reissue application or reexamination proceeding, the paragraphs of the specification, other than in the claims or abstract, may be numbered at the time the application is filed, and should be individually and consecutively numbered using Arabic numerals, so as to unambiguously identify each paragraph. The number should consist of at least four numerals enclosed in square brackets, including leading zeros (e.g., [0001]). The numbers and enclosing brackets should appear to the right of the left margin as the first item in each paragraph, before the first word of the paragraph, and should be highlighted in bold. A gap, equivalent to approximately four spaces, should follow the number. Nontext elements (e.g., tables, mathematical or chemical formulae, chemical structures, and sequence data) are considered part of the numbered paragraph around or above the elements, and should not be independently numbered. If a nontext element extends to the left margin, it should not be numbered as a separate and independent paragraph. A list is also treated as part of the paragraph around or above the list, and should not be independently numbered. Paragraph or section headers (titles), whether abutting the left margin or centered on the page, are not considered paragraphs and should not be numbered.
  • (c) Interlineation, erasure, cancellation, or other alteration of the application papers may be made before or after the signing of the inventor's oath or declaration referring to those application papers, provided that the statements in the inventor's oath or declaration pursuant to § 1.63 remain applicable to those application papers. A substitute specification (§ 1.125) may be required if the application papers do not comply with paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section.
  • (d) A nonprovisional or provisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111 may be in a language other than English.
    • (1) Nonprovisional application. If a nonprovisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a)is filed in a language other than English, an English language translation of the non-English language application, a statement that the translation is accurate, and the processing fee set forth in § 1.17(i) are required. If these items are not filed with the application, applicant will be notified and given a period of time within which they must be filed in order to avoid abandonment.
    • (2) Provisional application. If a provisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111(b) is filed in a language other than English, an English language translation of the non-English language provisional application will not be required in the provisional application. See § 1.78(a) for the requirements for claiming the benefit of such provisional application in a nonprovisional application.
  • (e) Electronic documents that are to become part of the permanent United States Patent and Trademark Office records in the file of a patent application or reexamination proceeding.
    • (1) The following documents may be submitted to the Office on a compact disc in compliance with this paragraph:
      • (i) A computer program listing (see §  1.96);
      • (ii) A “Sequence Listing” (submitted under § 1.821(c)); or
      • (iii) Any individual table (see § 1.58) if the table is more than 50 pages in length, or if the total number of pages of all of the tables in an application exceeds 100 pages in length, where a table page is a page printed on paper in conformance with paragraph (b) of this section and § 1.58(c).
    • (2) A compact disc as used in this part means a Compact Disc-Read Only Memory (CD-ROM) or a Compact Disc-Recordable (CD-R) in compliance with this paragraph. A CD-ROM is a “read-only” medium on which the data is pressed into the disc so that it cannot be changed or erased. A CD-R is a “write once” medium on which once the data is recorded, it is permanent and cannot be changed or erased.
    • (3)
      • (i) Each compact disc must conform to the International Standards Organization (ISO) 9660 standard, and the contents of each compact disc must be in compliance with the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII). CD-R discs must be finalized so that they are closed to further writing to the CD-R.
      • (ii) Each compact disc must be enclosed in a hard compact disc case within an unsealed padded and protective mailing envelope and accompanied by a transmittal letter on paper in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section. The transmittal letter must list for each compact disc the machine format (e.g., IBM-PC, Macintosh), the operating system compatibility (e.g., MS-DOS, MS-Windows, Macintosh, Unix), a list of files contained on the compact disc including their names, sizes in bytes, and dates of creation, plus any other special information that is necessary to identify, maintain, and interpret (e.g. , tables in landscape orientation should be identified as landscape orientation or be identified when inquired about) the information on the compact disc. Compact discs submitted to the Office will not be returned to the applicant.
    • (4) Any compact disc must be submitted in duplicate unless it contains only the “Sequence Listing” in computer readable form required by § 1.821(e). The compact disc and duplicate copy must be labeled “Copy 1” and “Copy 2,” respectively. The transmittal letter which accompanies the compact disc must include a statement that the two compact discs are identical. In the event that the two compact discs are not identical, the Office will use the compact disc labeled “Copy 1” for further processing. Any amendment to the information on a compact disc must be by way of a replacement compact disc in compliance with this paragraph containing the substitute information, and must be accompanied by a statement that the replacement compact disc contains no new matter. The compact disc and copy must be labeled “COPY 1 REPLACEMENT MM/DD/YYYY” (with the month, day and year of creation indicated), and “COPY 2 REPLACEMENT MM/DD/YYYY,” respectively.
    • (5) The specification must contain an incorporation-by-reference of the material on the compact disc in a separate paragraph (§ 1.77(b)(5)), identifying each compact disc by the names of the files contained on each of the compact discs, their date of creation and their sizes in bytes. The Office may require applicant to amend the specification to include in the paper portion any part of the specification previously submitted on compact disc.
    • (6) A compact disc must also be labeled with the following information:
      • (i) The name of each inventor (if known);
      • (ii) Title of the invention;
      • (iii) The docket number, or application number if known, used by the person filing the application to identify the application; and
      • (iv) A creation date of the compact disc.
      • (v) If multiple compact discs are submitted, the label shall indicate their order (e.g. “1 of X”).
      • (vi) An indication that the disk is “Copy 1” or “Copy 2” of the submission. See paragraph (b)(4) of this section.
    • (7) If a file is unreadable on both copies of the disc, the unreadable file will be treated as not having been submitted. A file is unreadable if, for example, it is of a format that does not comply with the requirements of paragraph (e)(3) of this section, it is corrupted by a computer virus, or it is written onto a defective compact disc.
  • (f)
    • (1) Any sequence listing in an electronic medium in compliance with §§ 1.52(e) and 1.821(c) or (e), and any computer program listing filed in an electronic medium in compliance with §§ 1.52(e) and 1.96, will be excluded when determining the application size fee required by § 1.16(s) or § 1.492(j). For purposes of determining the application size fee required by § 1.16(s) or § 1.492(j), for an application the specification and drawings of which, excluding any sequence listing in compliance with § 1.821(c) or (e), and any computer program listing filed in an electronic medium in compliance with §§ 1.52(e) and 1.96, are submitted in whole or in part on an electronic medium other than the Office electronic filing system, each three kilobytes of content submitted on an electronic medium shall be counted as a sheet of paper.
    • (2) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, the paper size equivalent of the specification and drawings of an application submitted via the Office electronic filing system will be considered to be seventy-five percent of the number of sheets of paper present in the specification and drawings of the application when entered into the Office file wrapper after being rendered by the Office electronic filing system for purposes of determining the application size fee required by § 1.16(s). Any sequence listing in compliance with § 1.821(c) or (e), and any computer program listing in compliance with § 1.96, submitted via the Office electronic filing system will be excluded when determining the application size fee required by § 1.16(s) if the listing is submitted in ASCII text as part of an associated file.

37 C.F.R. 1.58   Chemical and mathematical formulae and tables.

  • (a) The specification, including the claims, may contain chemical and mathematical formulae, but shall not contain drawings or flow diagrams. The description portion of the specification may contain tables, but the same tables may only be included in both the drawings and description portion of the specification if the application was filed under 35 U.S.C. 371. Claims may contain tables either if necessary to conform to 35 U.S.C. 112 or if otherwise found to be desirable.
  • (b) Tables that are submitted in electronic form (§§ 1.96(c) and 1.821(c)) must maintain the spatial relationships (e.g., alignment of columns and rows) of the table elements when displayed so as to visually preserve the relational information they convey. Chemical and mathematical formulae must be encoded to maintain the proper positioning of their characters when displayed in order to preserve their intended meaning.
  • (c) Chemical and mathematical formulae and tables must be presented in compliance with § 1.52(a) and (b), except that chemical and mathematical formulae or tables may be placed in a landscape orientation if they cannot be presented satisfactorily in a portrait orientation. Typewritten characters used in such formulae and tables must be chosen from a block (nonscript) type font or lettering style having capital letters which should be at least 0.422 cm. (0.166 inch) high (e.g., preferably Arial, Times Roman, or Courier with a font size of 12), but may be no smaller than 0.21 cm. (0.08 inch) high (e.g., a font size of 6). A space at least 0.64 cm. (1/4 inch) high should be provided between complex formulae and tables and the text. Tables should have the lines and columns of data closely spaced to conserve space, consistent with a high degree of legibility.

The pages of the specification including claims and abstract must be numbered consecutively, starting with 1, the numbers being centrally located above or preferably, below, the text. The lines of the specification, and any amendments to the specification, must be 1 1/2 or double spaced. The text must be written in a nonscript type font (e.g., Arial, Times Roman, or Courier, preferably a font size of 12) lettering style having capital letters which should be at least 0.3175 cm. (0.125 inch) high, but may be no smaller than 0.21 cm. (0.08 inch) high (e.g., a font size of 6) (37 CFR1.52(b)(2)(ii)). The text may not be written solely in capital letters.

All application papers (specification, including claims, abstract, any drawings, oath or declaration, and other papers), and also papers subsequently filed, must have each page plainly written on only one side of a sheet of paper. The specification must commence on a separate sheet. Each sheet including part of the specification may not include other parts of the application or other information. The claim(s), abstract and sequence listing (if any) should not be included on a sheet including any other part of the application (37 CFR 1.71(f)). The claim or claims must commence on a separate sheet or electronic page and any sheet including a claim or portion of a claim may not contain any other parts of the application or other material (37 CFR 1.75(h)). The abstract must commence on a separate sheet and any sheet including an abstract or portion of an abstract may not contain any other parts of the application or other material (37 CFR 1.72(b)).

All application papers that are submitted on paper or by facsimile transmission which are to become a part of the permanent record of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office must be on sheets of paper which are the same size (for example, an amendment should not have two different sizes of paper, but the specification can have one size of paper and the drawings a different size) and are either 21.0 cm. by 29.7 cm. (DIN size A4) or 21.6 cm. by 27.9 cm. (8 1/2 by 11 inches). See 37 CFR 1.52(a)(1) and 37 CFR 1.84(f). Each sheet, other than the drawings, must include a top margin of at least 2.0 cm. (3/4 inch), a left side margin of at least 2.5 cm. (1 inch), a right side margin of at least 2.0 cm. (3/4 inch), and a bottom margin of at least 2.0 cm. (3/4 inch). No holes should be made in the sheets as submitted.

Application papers that are submitted electronically to the Office must be formatted and transmitted in compliance with the Office’s electronic filing system requirements. See 37 CFR 1.52(a)(5). See also MPEP § 502.05 for details regarding correspondence transmitted to the Office using EFS-Web, the Office’s system for the electronic filing of patent correspondence.

Applicants must make every effort to file patent applications, and papers that are to become a part of the permanent United States Patent and Trademark Office records in the file of a patent application or a reexamination proceeding, in a form that is clear and reproducible. If the papers are not of the required quality, substitute papers of suitable quality will be required. See 37 CFR 1.125 for filing rewritten papers constituting a substitute specification required by the Office. See also MPEP § 608.01(q). All papers which are to become a part of the permanent records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office must be legibly written either by a typewriter or mechanical printer in permanent dark ink or its equivalent in portrait orientation on flexible, strong, smooth, nonshiny, durable, and white paper. Typed, mimeographed, xeroprinted, multigraphed or nonsmearing carbon copy forms of reproduction are acceptable. So-called “Easily Erasable” paper having a special coating so that erasures can be made more easily may not provide a “permanent” copy, 37 CFR 1.52(a)(1)(iv). Since application papers are now maintained in an Image File Wrapper, the type of paper is unlikely to be an issue so long as the Office is able to scan and reproduce the papers that were filed.

Where an application is filed with papers that do not comply with 37 CFR 1.52, the Office of Patent Application Processing will mail a “Notice to File Corrected Application Papers” indicating the deficiency and setting a time period within which the applicant must correct the deficiencies to avoid abandonment. The failure to submit application papers in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52 does not affect the grant of a filing date, and original application papers that do not comply with 37 CFR 1.52 will be retained in the application file as the original disclosure of the invention. The USPTO will not return papers simply because they do not comply with 37 CFR 1.52.

Legibility includes ability to be photocopied and scanned so that suitable reprints can be made and paper can be electronically reproduced by use of digital imaging and optical character recognition. This requires a high contrast, with black lines and a white background. Gray lines and/or a gray background sharply reduce photo reproduction quality.

Some of the patent application papers received by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are copies of the original, ribbon copy. These are acceptable if, in the opinion of the Office, they are legible and permanent.

¶ 6.32.01    Application Papers Must Be Legible

The specification (including the abstract and claims), and any amendments for applications, except as provided for in 37 CFR 1.821 through 1.825, must have text written plainly and legibly either by a typewriter or machine printer in a nonscript type font (e.g., Arial, Times Roman, or Courier, preferably a font size of 12) lettering style having capital letters which should be at least 0.3175 cm. (0.125 inch) high, but may be no smaller than 0.21 cm. (0.08 inch) high (e.g., a font size of 6) in portrait orientation and presented in a form having sufficient clarity and contrast between the paper and the writing thereon to permit the direct reproduction of readily legible copies in any number by use of photographic, electrostatic, photo-offset, and microfilming processes and electronic capture by use of digital imaging and optical character recognition; and only a single column of text. See 37 CFR 1.52(a) and (b).

The application papers are objected to because [1].

A legible substitute specification in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52(a) and (b) and 1.125 is required.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, identify the part of the specification that is illegible: all of the specification; or certain pages of the specification.
  • 2. Do not use this form paragraph for reissue applications or reexamination proceedings.

II.   ALTERATION OF APPLICATION PAPERS

Effective September 16, 2012, 37 CFR 1.52(c) no longer prohibits interlineations and other alterations of the application papers from being made after the signing of the inventor’s oath or declaration. It should be noted that if such interlineations or other alterations are made after the signing of the inventor’s oath or declaration, then the statements in the inventor’s oath or declaration pursuant to 37 CFR 1.63 must remain applicable to the application papers. Otherwise, the inventor may need to execute a new inventor’s oath or declaration. See also MPEP § 602.08(b).

III.   CERTIFIED COPIES OF AN APPLICATION-AS-FILED

If an application-as-filed does not meet the sheet size/margin and quality requirements of 37 CFR 1.52 and 1.84(f) and (g), certified copies of such application may be illegible and/or ineffective as priority documents. When an applicant requests that the USPTO provide a certified copy of an application-as-filed and pays the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b)(1), the USPTO will make a copy of the application-as-filed from the records in the IFW database (or the microfilm database). If papers submitted in the application-as-filed are not legible, certified copies of the application as originally filed will not be legible.

The USPTO performs exception processing when scanning application papers that do not comply with the sheet size/margin and quality requirements. If papers submitted in the application-as-filed (including any transmittal letter or cover sheet) do not meet the sheet size requirement of 37 CFR 1.52 and 1.84(f) (e.g., the papers are legal size (8 1/2 by 14 inches)), the USPTO must reduce such papers to be able to image-scan the entire application and record it in the IFW database. In addition, if papers submitted in the application-as-filed do not meet the quality requirements of 37 CFR 1.52 (e.g., the papers are shiny or non-white), the USPTO will attempt to enhance such papers before scanning to make the resulting electronic record in the IFW database more readable. However, if exception processing is required to make the IFW copy, certified copies of the application as originally filed may not be legible.

If application papers are filed that do not meet sheet size/margin and quality requirements, the USPTO will require the applicant to file substitute papers that do comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.52 and 1.84(e), (f) and (g). The substitute papers submitted in reply to the above-mentioned requirement will provide the USPTO with an image- and OCR-scannable copy of the application for printing the application as a patent publication or patent. However, the USPTO will not treat application papers submitted after the filing date of an application as the original disclosure of the application for making a certified copy of the application-as-filed or any other purpose. That is, even if an applicant subsequently files substitute application papers that comply with 37 CFR 1.52 and then requests that the USPTO provide a certified copy of an application-as-filed, paying the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b)(1), the USPTO will still make a copy of the application-as-filed rather than a copy of the subsequently filed substitute papers.

IV.   USE OF METRIC SYSTEM OF MEASUREMENTS IN PATENT APPLICATIONS

In order to minimize the necessity in the future for converting dimensions given in the English system of measurements to the metric system of measurements when using printed patents as research and prior art search documents, all patent applicants should use the metric (S.I.) units followed by the equivalent English units when describing their inventions in the specifications of patent applications.

The initials S.I. stand for “Le Système International d’ Unités,” the French name for the International System of Units, a modernized metric system adopted in 1960 by the International General Conference of Weights and Measures based on precise unit measurements made possible by modern technology.

V.   FILING OF NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE APPLICATIONS

37 C.F.R. 1.52   Language, Paper, Writing, Margins, Compact Disc Specifications.

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  • (d) A nonprovisional or provisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111 may be in a language other than English.
    • (1) Nonprovisional application. If a nonprovisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a)is filed in a language other than English, an English language translation of the non-English language application, a statement that the translation is accurate, and the processing fee set forth in § 1.17(i) are required. If these items are not filed with the application, applicant will be notified and given a period of time within which they must be filed in order to avoid abandonment.
    • (2) Provisional application. If a provisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111(b) is filed in a language other than English, an English language translation of the non-English language provisional application will not be required in the provisional application. See § 1.78(a) for the requirements for claiming the benefit of such provisional application in a nonprovisional application.

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will accord a filing date to an application meeting the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 111(a), or a provisional application in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 111(b), even though some or all of the application papers, including the written description and the claims, is in a language other than English and hence does not comply with 37 CFR 1.52.

If a nonprovisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) is filed in a language other than English, an English translation of the non-English language papers, a statement that the translation is accurate, the fees set forth in 37 CFR 1.16, the oath or declaration and fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(i) should either accompany the nonprovisional application papers or be filed in the Office within the time set by the Office. If a provisional application is filed in a language other than English, an English translation of the non-English language provisional application and a statement that the translation is accurate must be submitted if benefit of the provisional application is claimed in a later-filed nonprovisional application (see 37 CFR 1.78(a)(5)). If the translation and statement were not previously filed in the provisional application, applicant will be notified in the nonprovisional application that claims the benefit of the provisional application and be given a period of time within which to file the translation and statement in the provisional application. Applicants may file the translation and statement in the provisional application even if the provisional application has become abandoned. A timely reply to such notice must include the filing in the nonprovisional application of either a confirmation that the translation and statement were filed in the provisional application or withdrawal of the benefit claim. For applications filed before September 16, 2012, an amendment or Supplemental Application Data Sheet withdrawing the benefit claim. may be filed. For applications filed on or after September 16, 2012, a corrected application data sheet withdrawing the benefit claim may be filed. Failure to take one of the above actions will result in the abandonment of the nonprovisional application.

A subsequently filed English translation must contain the complete identifying data for the application in order to permit prompt association with the papers initially filed. Accordingly, it is strongly recommended that the original application papers be accompanied by a cover letter and a self-addressed return postcard, each containing the following identifying data in English: (a) applicant’s name(s); (b) title of invention; (c) number of pages of specification, claims, and sheets of drawings; (d) whether an oath or declaration was filed and (e) amount and manner of paying the fees set forth in 37 CFR 1.16.

The translation must be a literal translation and must be accompanied by a statement that the translation is accurate. The translation must also be accompanied by a signed request from the applicant, his or her attorney or agent, asking that the English translation be used as the copy for examination purposes in the Office. If the English translation does not conform to idiomatic English and United States practice, it should be accompanied by a preliminary amendment making the necessary changes without the introduction of new matter prohibited by 35 U.S.C. 132. If such an application is published as a patent application publication, the document that is published is the translation. See 37 CFR 1.215(a) and MPEP § 1121 regarding the content of the application publication. In the event that the English translation and the statement are not timely filed in the nonprovisional application, the nonprovisional application will be regarded as abandoned.

It should be recognized that this practice is intended for emergency situations to prevent loss of valuable rights and should not be routinely used for filing applications. There are at least two reasons why this should not be used on a routine basis. First, there are obvious dangers to applicant and the public if he or she fails to obtain a correct literal translation. Second, the filing of a large number of applications under the procedure will create significant administrative burdens on the Office.

VI.   ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE SPECIFICATION

Graphical illustrations, diagrammatic views, flowcharts, and diagrams in the descriptive portion of the specification do not come within the purview of 37 CFR 1.58(a), which permits tables, chemical and mathematical formulas in the specification in lieu of drawings. The examiner should object to such descriptive illustrations in the specification and request drawings in accordance with 37 CFR 1.81 when an application contains graphs, drawings, or flow charts in the specification.

The specification, including any claims, may contain chemical formulas and mathematical equations, but the written description portion of the specification must not contain drawings or flow diagrams. A claim may incorporate by reference to a specific figure or table where there is no practical way to define the invention in words. See MPEP § 2173.05(s). The description portion of the specification may contain tables, but the same tables must not be included in both the drawings as a figure and in the description portion of the specification. Applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 371 are excluded from the prohibition from having the same tables in both the description portion of the specification and drawings. Claims may contain tables either if necessary to conform to 35 U.S.C. 112 or if otherwise found to be desirable. See MPEP § 2173.05(s). When such a patent is printed, however, the table will not be included as part of the claim, and instead the claim will contain a reference to the table number.

See MPEP § 601.01(d) for treatment of applications filed without all pages of the specification.

VII.   Hyperlinks and Other Forms of Browser-Executable Code in the Specification

Examiners must review patent applications to make certain that hyperlinks and other forms of browser-executable code, especially commercial site URLs, are not included in a patent application. 37 CFR 1.57(d) states that an incorporation by reference by hyperlink or other form of browser executable code is not permitted. Examples of a hyperlink or a browser-executable code are a URL placed between these symbols “< >” and http:// followed by a URL address. When a patent application with embedded hyperlinks and/or other forms of browser-executable code issues as a patent (or is published as a patent application publication) and the patent document is placed on the USPTO Web page, when the patent document is retrieved and viewed via a web browser, the URL is interpreted as a valid HTML code and it becomes a live web link. When a user clicks on the link with a mouse, the user will be transferred to another web page identified by the URL, if it exists, which could be a commercial web site. USPTO policy does not permit the USPTO to link to any commercial sites since the USPTO exercises no control over the organization, views or accuracy of the information contained on these outside sites.

If hyperlinks and/or other forms of browser-executable code are embedded in the text of the patent application, examiners should object to the specification and indicate to applicants that the embedded hyperlinks and/or other forms of browser-executable code are impermissible and that references to web sites should be limited to the top-level domain name without any prefix such as http:// or other browser-executable code. This requirement does not apply to electronic documents listed on forms PTO-892 and PTO/SB/08 where the electronic document is identified by reference to a URL.

The attempt to incorporate subject matter into the patent application by reference to a hyperlink and/or other forms of browser-executable code is considered to be an improper incorporation by reference. See 37 CFR 1.57(d) and MPEP § 608.01(p), paragraph I regarding incorporation by reference. Where the hyperlinks and/or other forms of browser-executable codes themselves rather than the contents of the site to which the hyperlinks are directed are part of applicant’s invention and it is necessary to have them included in the patent application in order to comply with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph, and applicant does not intend to have these hyperlinks be active links, examiners should not object to these hyperlinks. The Office will disable these hyperlinks when preparing the text to be loaded onto the USPTO Web database.

Note that nucleotide and/or amino acid sequence data placed between the symbols “< >” are not considered to be hyperlinks and/or browser-executable code and therefore should not be objected to as being an improper incorporation by reference (see 37 CFR 1.821 1.825).

¶ 7.29.04    Disclosure Objected To, Embedded Hyperlinks or Other Forms of Browser-Executable Code

The disclosure is objected to because it contains an embedded hyperlink and/or other form of browser-executable code. Applicant is required to delete the embedded hyperlink and/or other form of browser-executable code; references to web sites should be limited to the top-level domain name without any prefix such as http:// or other browser-executable code. See MPEP § 608.01.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. Examples of a hyperlink or a browser-executable code are a URL placed between these symbols "< >" and "http://" followed by a URL address. Nucleotide and/or amino acid sequence data placed between the symbols "< >" are not considered to be hyperlinks and/or browser-executable code.
  • 2. If the application attempts to incorporate essential or nonessential subject matter into the patent application by reference to the contents of the site to which a hyperlink and/or other form of browser-executable code is directed, use form paragraph 6.19 or 6.19.01 instead. See also MPEP § 608.01(p).
  • 3. The requirement to delete an embedded hyperlink or other form of browser-executable code does not apply to electronic documents listed on forms PTO-892 and PTO/SB/08B where the electronic document is identified by reference to a URL.
  • 4. Examiners should not object to hyperlinks where the hyperlinks and/or browser-executable codes themselves (rather than the contents of the site to which the hyperlinks are directed) are necessary to be included in the patent application in order to meet the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph, and applicant does not intend to have those hyperlinks be active links.

608.01(a)   Arrangement of Application

37 C.F.R. 1.77   Arrangement of application elements.

  • (a) The elements of the application, if applicable, should appear in the following order:
    • (1) Utility application transmittal form.
    • (2) Fee transmittal form.
    • (3) Application data sheet (see § 1.76).
    • (4) Specification.
    • (5) Drawings.
    • (6) The inventor’s oath or declaration.
  • (b) The specification should include the following sections in order:
    • (1) Title of the invention, which may be accompanied by an introductory portion stating the name, citizenship, and residence of the applicant (unless included in the application data sheet).
    • (2) Cross-reference to related applications.
    • (3) Statement regarding federally sponsored research or development.
    • (4) The names of the parties to a joint research agreement.
    • (5) Reference to a “Sequence Listing,” a table, or a computer program listing appendix submitted on a compact disc and an incorporation-by-reference of the material on the compact disc (see § 1.52(e)(5)). The total number of compact discs including duplicates and the files on each compact disc shall be specified.
    • (6) Statement regarding prior disclosures by the inventor or a joint inventor.
    • (7) Background of the invention.
    • (8) Brief summary of the invention.
    • (9) Brief description of the several views of the drawing.n.
    • (10) Detailed description of the invention.
    • (11) A claim or claims.
    • (12) Abstract of the disclosure.
    • (13) “Sequence Listing,” if on paper (see §§ 1.821 through 1.825).
  • (c) The text of the specification sections defined in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(12) of this section, if applicable, should be preceded by a section heading in uppercase and without underlining or bold type.

For design patent specification, see MPEP § 1503.01.

For plant patent specification, see MPEP § 1605.

For reissue patent specification, see MPEP § 1411.

The order of arrangement of specification elements as set forth in 37 CFR 1.77(b) is preferable in framing the nonprovisional specification and each of the items should appear in upper case, without underlining or bold type, as section headings. If no text follows the section heading, the phrase “Not Applicable” should follow the section heading. It is recommended that provisional applications follow the same general format, although claims are not required. If an application data sheet (37 CFR 1.76) is used, data supplied in the application data sheet need not be provided elsewhere in the application except that for applications filed before September 16, 2012, the citizenship of each inventor must be provided in the oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63 even if this information is provided in the application data sheet.

For applications filed on or after September 16, 2012, if there is a discrepancy between the information submitted in an application data sheet and the information submitted elsewhere in the application, the application data sheet will control except for the naming of inventors. The naming of the inventorship is governed by 37 CFR 1.41, and changes to inventorship or the names of inventors is governed by 37 CFR 1.48. In addition, for applications filed on or after September 16, 2012, the most recent application data sheet will govern with respect to foreign priority claims or domestic benefit claims. See 37 CFR 1.76(d) and MPEP § 601.05(a).

For applications filed before September 16, 2012, if there is a discrepancy between the information submitted in an application data sheet and the information submitted elsewhere in the application, the application data sheet will control except for the naming of the inventors and the citizenship of the inventors. See pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.76(d) and MPEP § 601.05(b).

Applicant (typically a pro se) may be advised of the proper arrangement by using Form Paragraph 6.01 or 6.02.

¶ 6.01    Arrangement of the Sections of the Specification in a Utility Application

The following guidelines illustrate the preferred layout for the specification of a utility application. These guidelines are suggested for the applicant’s use.

Arrangement of the Specification

As provided in 37 CFR 1.77(b), the specification of a utility application should include the following sections in order. Each of the lettered items should appear in upper case, without underlining or bold type, as a section heading. If no text follows the section heading, the phrase “Not Applicable” should follow the section heading:

(a) TITLE OF THE INVENTION.

(b) CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS.

(c) STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT.

(d) THE NAMES OF THE PARTIES TO A JOINT RESEARCH AGREEMENT.

(e) INCORPORATION-BY-REFERENCE OF MATERIAL SUBMITTED ON A COMPACT DISC OR AS A TEXT FILE VIA THE OFFICE ELECTRONIC FILING SYSTEM (EFS-WEB).

(f) STATEMENT REGARDING PRIOR DISCLOSURES BY THE INVENTOR OR A JOINT INVENTOR.

(g) BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION.

(1) Field of the Invention.

(2) Description of Related Art including information disclosed under 37 CFR 1.97 and 1.98.

(h) BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION.

(i) BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S).

(j) DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION.

(k) CLAIM OR CLAIMS (commencing on a separate sheet).

(l) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE (commencing on a separate sheet).

(m) SEQUENCE LISTING. (See MPEP § 2424 and 37 CFR 1.821-1.825. A “Sequence Listing” is required on paper if the application discloses a nucleotide or amino acid sequence as defined in 37 CFR 1.821(a) and if the required “Sequence Listing” is not submitted as an electronic document either on compact disc or as a text file via the Office electronic filing system (EFS-Web.)

Examiner Note:

For the arrangement of the sections of the specification in a design application, see 37 CFR 1.154(b). Form paragraph 15.05 may be used for a design application. For the arrangement of the sections of the specification in a plant application, see 37 CFR 1.163(c). For the requirements of the specification in a reissue application, see 37 CFR 1.173(a)(1).

¶ 6.02    Content of Specification

Content of Specification

(a) TITLE OF THE INVENTION: See 37 CFR 1.72(a) and MPEP § 606. The title of the invention should be placed at the top of the first page of the specification unless the title is provided in an application data sheet. The title of the invention should be brief but technically accurate and descriptive, preferably from two to seven words. It may not contain more than 500 characters.

(b) CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS: See 37 CFR 1.78 and MPEP § 211 et seq.

(c) STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT: See MPEP § 310.

(d) THE NAMES OF THE PARTIES TO A JOINT RESEARCH AGREEMENT. See 37 CFR 1.71(g).

(e) INCORPORATION-BY-REFERENCE OF MATERIAL SUBMITTED ON A COMPACT DISC OR AS A TEXT FILE VIA THE OFFICE ELECTRONIC FILING SYSTEM (EFS-WEB): The specification is required to include an incorporation-by-reference of electronic documents that are to become part of the permanent United States Patent and Trademark Office records in the file of a patent application. See 37 CFR 1.52(e) and MPEP § 608.05. See also the Legal Framework for EFS-Web posted on the USPTO Web site (http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/file/efs/guidance/New_legal_framework.jsp) and MPEP § 502.05

(f) STATEMENT REGARDING PRIOR DISCLOSURES BY THE INVENTOR OR A JOINT INVENTOR. See 35 U.S.C. 102(b)and 37 CFR 1.77.

(g) BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION: See MPEP § 608.01(c). The specification should set forth the Background of the Invention in two parts:

(1) Field of the Invention: A statement of the field of art to which the invention pertains. This statement may include a paraphrasing of the applicable U.S. patent classification definitions of the subject matter of the claimed invention. This item may also be titled “Technical Field.”

(2) Description of the Related Art including information disclosed under 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98: A description of the related art known to the applicant and including, if applicable, references to specific related art and problems involved in the prior art which are solved by the applicant’s invention. This item may also be titled “Background Art.”

(h) BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION: See MPEP § 608.01(d). A brief summary or general statement of the invention as set forth in 37 CFR 1.73. The summary is separate and distinct from the abstract and is directed toward the invention rather than the disclosure as a whole. The summary may point out the advantages of the invention or how it solves problems previously existent in the prior art (and preferably indicated in the Background of the Invention). In chemical cases it should point out in general terms the utility of the invention. If possible, the nature and gist of the invention or the inventive concept should be set forth. Objects of the invention should be treated briefly and only to the extent that they contribute to an understanding of the invention.

(i) BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S): See MPEP § 608.01(f). A reference to and brief description of the drawing(s) as set forth in 37 CFR 1.74.

(j) DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION: See MPEP § 608.01(g). A description of the preferred embodiment(s) of the invention as required in 37 CFR 1.71. The description should be as short and specific as is necessary to describe the invention adequately and accurately. Where elements or groups of elements, compounds, and processes, which are conventional and generally widely known in the field of the invention described, and their exact nature or type is not necessary for an understanding and use of the invention by a person skilled in the art, they should not be described in detail. However, where particularly complicated subject matter is involved or where the elements, compounds, or processes may not be commonly or widely known in the field, the specification should refer to another patent or readily available publication which adequately describes the subject matter.

(k) CLAIM OR CLAIMS: See 37 CFR 1.75 and MPEP § 608.01(m). The claim or claims must commence on a separate sheet or electronic page (37 CFR 1.52(b)(3)). Where a claim sets forth a plurality of elements or steps, each element or step of the claim should be separated by a line indentation. There may be plural indentations to further segregate subcombinations or related steps. See 37 CFR 1.75 and MPEP 608.01(i)-(p).

(l) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE: See 37 CFR 1.72(b) and MPEP § 608.01(b). A brief narrative of the disclosure as a whole in a single paragraph of 150 words or less commencing on a separate sheet following the claims. In an international application which has entered the national stage (37 CFR 1.491(b)), the applicant need not submit an abstract commencing on a separate sheet if an abstract was published with the international application under PCT Article 21. The abstract that appears on the cover page of the pamphlet published by the International Bureau (IB) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the abstract that will be used by the USPTO. See MPEP § 1893.03(e).

(m) SEQUENCE LISTING: See 37 CFR 1.821-1.825 and MPEP §§ 2421-2431. The requirement for a sequence listing applies to all sequences disclosed in a given application, whether the sequences are claimed or not. See MPEP § 2421.02.

Examiner Note:

In this paragraph an introductory sentence will be necessary. This paragraph is intended primarily for use in pro se applications.

608.01(b)   Abstract of the Disclosure

37 C.F.R. 1.72   Title and abstract.

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  • (b) A brief abstract of the technical disclosure in the specification must commence on a separate sheet, preferably following the claims, under the heading “Abstract” or “Abstract of the Disclosure.” The sheet or sheets presenting the abstract may not include other parts of the application or other material. The abstract in an application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111 may not exceed 150 words in length. The purpose of the abstract is to enable the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the public generally to determine quickly from a cursory inspection the nature and gist of the technical disclosure.

The Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP) will review all applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) for compliance with 37 CFR 1.72 and will require an abstract, if one has not been filed. In all other applications which lack an abstract, the examiner in the first Office action should require the submission of an abstract directed to the technical disclosure in the specification. See Form Paragraph 6.12 (below). Applicants may use either “Abstract” or “Abstract of the Disclosure” as a heading.

If the abstract contained in the application does not comply with the guidelines, the examiner should point out the defect to the applicant in the first Office action, or at the earliest point in the prosecution that the defect is noted, and require compliance with the guidelines. Since the abstract of the disclosure has been interpreted to be a part of the specification for the purpose of compliance with 35 U.S.C. 112 (In re Armbruster, 512 F.2d 676, 678-79, 185 USPQ 152, 154 (CCPA 1975)), it would ordinarily be preferable that the applicant make the necessary changes to the abstract to bring it into compliance with the guidelines. See Form Paragraphs 6.13-6.16 (below).

Replies to such actions requiring either a new abstract or amendment to bring the abstract into compliance with the guidelines should be treated under 37 CFR 1.111(b) practice like any other formal matter. Any submission of a new abstract or amendment to an existing abstract should be carefully reviewed for introduction of new matter, 35 U.S.C. 132, MPEP § 608.04.

Upon passing the application to issue, the examiner should make certain that the abstract is an adequate and clear statement of the contents of the disclosure and generally in line with the guidelines. If the application is otherwise in condition for allowance except that the abstract does not comply with the guidelines, the examiner generally should make any necessary revisions by a formal examiner’s amendment after obtaining applicant’s authorization (see MPEP § 1302.04 rather than issuing an Ex parteQuayle action requiring applicant to make the necessary revisions.

Under current practice, in all instances where the application contains an abstract when sent to issue, the abstract will be printed on the patent.

I.   GUIDELINES FOR THE PREPARATION OF PATENT ABSTRACTS

A.   Background

The Rules of Practice in Patent Cases require that each application for patent include an abstract of the disclosure, 37 CFR 1.72(b).

The content of a patent abstract should be such as to enable the reader thereof, regardless of his or her degree of familiarity with patent documents, to determine quickly from a cursory inspection of the nature and gist of the technical disclosure and should include that which is new in the art to which the invention pertains.

B.   Content

A patent abstract is a concise statement of the technical disclosure of the patent and should include that which is new in the art to which the invention pertains.

If the patent is of a basic nature, the entire technical disclosure may be new in the art, and the abstract should be directed to the entire disclosure.

If the patent is in the nature of an improvement in old apparatus, process, product, or composition, the abstract should include the technical disclosure of the improvement.

In certain patents, particularly those for compounds and compositions, wherein the process for making and/or the use thereof are not obvious, the abstract should set forth a process for making and/or a use thereof.

If the new technical disclosure involves modifications or alternatives, the abstract should mention by way of example the preferred modification or alternative.

The abstract should not refer to purported merits or speculative applications of the invention and should not compare the invention with the prior art.

Where applicable, the abstract should include the following: (1) if a machine or apparatus, its organization and operation; (2) if an article, its method of making; (3) if a chemical compound, its identity and use; (4) if a mixture, its ingredients; (5) if a process, the steps. Extensive mechanical and design details of apparatus should not be given.

With regard particularly to chemical patents, for compounds or compositions, the general nature of the compound or composition should be given as well as the use thereof, e.g., “The compounds are of the class of alkyl benzene sulfonyl ureas, useful as oral anti-diabetics.” Exemplification of a species could be illustrative of members of the class. For processes, the type reaction, reagents and process conditions should be stated, generally illustrated by a single example unless variations are necessary.

C.    Language and Format

The abstract must commence on a separate sheet, preferably following the claims, under the heading “Abstract” or “Abstract of the Disclosure.” The sheet or sheets presenting the abstract may not include other parts of the application or other material. Form paragraph 6.16.01 (below) may be used if the abstract does not commence on a separate sheet. Note that the abstract for a national stage application filed under 35 U.S.C. 371 may be found on the front page of the Patent Cooperation Treaty publication (i.e., pamphlet). See MPEP § 1893.03(e).

The abstract should be in narrative form and generally limited to a single paragraph within the range of 50 to 150 words. The abstract should not exceed 15 lines of text. Abstracts exceeding 15 lines of text should be checked to see that it does not exceed 150 words in length . If the abstract exceeds 150 words in length, the application will be returned to the examiner for preparation of a shorter abstract. The form and legal phraseology often used in patent claims, such as “means” and “said,” should be avoided. The abstract should sufficiently describe the disclosure to assist readers in deciding whether there is a need for consulting the full patent text for details.

The language should be clear and concise and should not repeat information given in the title. It should avoid using phrases which can be implied, such as, “This disclosure concerns,” “The disclosure defined by this invention,” “This disclosure describes,” etc.

D.   Responsibility

Preparation of the abstract is the responsibility of the applicant. Background knowledge of the art and an appreciation of the applicant’s contribution to the art are most important in the preparation of the abstract. The review of the abstract for compliance with these guidelines, with any necessary editing and revision on allowance of the application, is the responsibility of the examiner.

E.   Sample Abstracts

(1) A heart valve which has an annular valve body defining an orifice and a plurality of struts forming a pair of cages on opposite sides of the orifice. A spherical closure member is captively held within the cages and is moved by blood flow between open and closed positions in check valve fashion. A slight leak or backflow is provided in the closed position by making the orifice slightly larger than the closure member. Blood flow is maximized in the open position of the valve by providing an inwardly convex contour on the orifice-defining surfaces of the body. An annular rib is formed in a channel around the periphery of the valve body to anchor a suture ring used to secure the valve within a heart.

(2) A method for sealing whereby heat is applied to seal, overlapping closure panels of a folding box made from paperboard having an extremely thin coating of moisture-proofing thermoplastic material on opposite surfaces. Heated air is directed at the surfaces to be bonded, the temperature of the air at the point of impact on the surfaces being above the char point of the board. The duration of application of heat is made so brief, by a corresponding high rate of advance of the boxes through the air stream, that the coating on the reverse side of the panels remains substantially non-tacky. Under such conditions the heat applied to soften the thermoplastic coating is dissipated after completion of the bond by absorption into the board acting as a heat sink without the need for cooling devices.

(3) Amides are produced by reacting an ester of a carbonized acid with an amine, using as catalyst an dioxide of an alkali metal. The ester is first heated to at least 75°C under a pressure of no more than 500 mm. of mercury to remove moisture and acid gases which would prevent the reaction, and then converted to an amide without heating to initiate the reaction.

¶ 6.12    Abstract Missing (Background)

This application does not contain an abstract of the disclosure as required by 37 CFR 1.72(b). An abstract on a separate sheet is required.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. For a pro se applicant, consider following this paragraph with form paragraphs 6.14 to 6.16 as applicable.
  • 2. This form paragraph should not be used during the national stage prosecution of international applications (“371 applications”) if an abstract was published with the international application under PCT Article 21.

¶ 6.13    Abstract Objected To

The abstract of the disclosure is objected to because [1]. Correction is required. See MPEP § 608.01(b).

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, indicate the informalities that require correction such as the inclusion of legal phraseology, undue length, etc.

Examiner Note:

  • 2. For a pro se applicant, this paragraph should be followed by form paragraphs 6.14 to 6.16 as applicable.

¶ 6.14    Abstract of the Disclosure: Content

Applicant is reminded of the proper content of an abstract of the disclosure.

A patent abstract is a concise statement of the technical disclosure of the patent and should include that which is new in the art to which the invention pertains. If the patent is of a basic nature, the entire technical disclosure may be new in the art, and the abstract should be directed to the entire disclosure. If the patent is in the nature of an improvement in an old apparatus, process, product, or composition, the abstract should include the technical disclosure of the improvement. In certain patents, particularly those for compounds and compositions, wherein the process for making and/or the use thereof are not obvious, the abstract should set forth a process for making and/or use thereof. If the new technical disclosure involves modifications or alternatives, the abstract should mention by way of example the preferred modification or alternative.

The abstract should not refer to purported merits or speculative applications of the invention and should not compare the invention with the prior art.

Extensive mechanical and design details of an apparatus should not be included in the abstract. The abstract should be in narrative form and generally limited to a single paragraph within the range of 50 to 150 words.

See MPEP § 608.01(b) for guidelines for the preparation of patent abstracts.

Examiner Note:

See form paragraph 6.16

¶ 6.15    Abstract of the Disclosure: Chemical Cases

Applicant is reminded of the proper content of an abstract of the disclosure.

In chemical patent abstracts for compounds or compositions, the general nature of the compound or composition should be given as well as its use, e.g., “The compounds are of the class of alkyl benzene sulfonyl ureas, useful as oral anti-diabetics.” Exemplification of a species could be illustrative of members of the class. For processes, the type reaction, reagents and process conditions should be stated, generally illustrated by a single example unless variations are necessary.

Examiner Note:

See also form paragraphs 6.126.14 and 6.16.

¶ 6.16    Abstract of the Disclosure: Language

Applicant is reminded of the proper language and format for an abstract of the disclosure.

The abstract should be in narrative form and generally limited to a single paragraph on a separate sheet within the range of 50 to 150 words. The form and legal phraseology often used in patent claims, such as “means” and “said,” should be avoided. The abstract should describe the disclosure sufficiently to assist readers in deciding whether there is a need for consulting the full patent text for details.

The language should be clear and concise and should not repeat information given in the title. It should avoid using phrases which can be implied, such as, “The disclosure concerns,” “The disclosure defined by this invention,” “The disclosure describes,” etc.

Examiner Note:

See also form paragraph 6.12 - 6.15.

¶ 6.16.01    Abstract of the Disclosure: Placement

The abstract of the disclosure does not commence on a separate sheet in accordance with 37 CFR 1.52(b)(4). A new abstract of the disclosure is required and must be presented on a separate sheet, apart from any other text.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. 37 CFR 1.72(b) requires that the abstract be set forth on a separate sheet. This requirement applies to amendments to the abstract as well as to the initial filing of the application.
  • 2. This form paragraph should not be used during the national stage prosecution of international applications (“371 applications”) if an abstract was published with the international application under PCT Article 21.

608.01(c)   Background of the Invention

The Background of the Invention may include the following parts:

(1) Field of the Invention: A statement of the field of art to which the invention pertains. This statement may include a paraphrasing of the applicable U.S. patent classification definitions. The statement should be directed to the subject matter of the claimed invention.

(2) Description of the related art including information disclosed under 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98: A paragraph(s) describing to the extent practical the state of the prior art or other information disclosed known to the applicant, including references to specific prior art or other information where appropriate. Where applicable, the problems involved in the prior art or other information disclosed which are solved by the applicant’s invention should be indicated. See also MPEP § 608.01(a), § 608.01(p) and § 707.05(b).

608.01(d)   Brief Summary of Invention

37 C.F.R. 1.73   Summary of the invention.

A brief summary of the invention indicating its nature and substance, which may include a statement of the object of the invention, should precede the detailed description. Such summary should, when set forth, be commensurate with the invention as claimed and any object recited should be that of the invention as claimed.

Since the purpose of the brief summary of invention is to apprise the public, and more especially those interested in the particular art to which the invention relates, of the nature of the invention, the summary should be directed to the specific invention being claimed, in contradistinction to mere generalities which would be equally applicable to numerous preceding patents. That is, the subject matter of the invention should be described in one or more clear, concise sentences or paragraphs. Stereotyped general statements that would fit one application as well as another serve no useful purpose and may well be required to be canceled as surplusage, and, in the absence of any illuminating statement, replaced by statements that are directly on point as applicable exclusively to the case at hand.

The brief summary, if properly written to set out the exact nature, operation, and purpose of the invention, will be of material assistance in aiding ready understanding of the patent in future searches. The brief summary should be more than a mere statement of the objects of the invention, which statement is also permissible under 37 CFR 1.73.

The brief summary of invention should be consistent with the subject matter of the claims. Note final review of application and preparation for issue, MPEP § 1302.

608.01(e)   Reservation Clauses Not Permitted

37 C.F.R. 1.79   Reservation clauses not permitted.

A reservation for a future application of subject matter disclosed but not claimed in a pending application will not be permitted in the pending application, but an application disclosing unclaimed subject matter may contain a reference to a later filed application of the same applicant or owned by a common assignee disclosing and claiming that subject matter.

608.01(f)   Brief Description of Drawings

37 C.F.R. 1.74   Reference to drawings.

When there are drawings, there shall be a brief description of the several views of the drawings and the detailed description of the invention shall refer to the different views by specifying the numbers of the figures, and to the different parts by use of reference letters or numerals (preferably the latter).

The Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP) will review the specification, including the brief description, to determine whether all of the figures of drawings described in the specification are present. If the specification describes a figure which is not present in the drawings, the application will be treated as an application filed without all figures of drawings in accordance with MPEP § 601.01(g), unless the application lacks any drawings, in which case the application will be treated as an application filed without drawings in accordance with MPEP § 601.01(f).

The examiner should see to it that the figures are correctly described in the brief description of the drawing, that all section lines used are referred to, and that all needed section lines are used. If the drawings show Figures 1A, 1B, and 1C and the brief description of the drawings refers only to Figure 1, the examiner should object to the brief description, and require applicant to provide a brief description of Figures 1A, 1B, and 1C.

The specification must contain or be amended to contain proper reference to the existence of drawings executed in color as required by 37 CFR 1.84.

37 C.F.R. 1.84   Standards for drawings.

  • (a) Drawings. There are two acceptable categories for presenting drawings in utility and design patent applications.
    • (1) Black ink. Black and white drawings are normally required. India ink, or its equivalent that secures solid black lines, must be used for drawings; or
    • (2) Color. On rare occasions, color drawings may be necessary as the only practical medium by which to disclose the subject matter sought to be patented in a utility or design patent application. The color drawings must be of sufficient quality such that all details in the drawings are reproducible in black and white in the printed patent. Color drawings are not permitted in international applications (see PCT Rule 11.13), or in an application, or copy thereof, submitted under the Office electronic filing system. The Office will accept color drawings in utility or design patent applications only after granting a petition filed under this paragraph explaining why the color drawings are necessary. Any such petition must include the following:
      • (i) The fee set forth in § 1.17(h);
      • (ii) Three (3) sets of color drawings;
      • (iii) An amendment to the specification to insert (unless the specification contains or has been previously amended to contain) the following language as the first paragraph of the brief description of the drawings:

    The patent or application file contains at least one drawing executed in color. Copies of this patent or patent application publication with color drawing(s) will be provided by the Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee.

  • (b) Photographs.
    • (1) Black and white. Photographs, including photocopies of photographs, are not ordinarily permitted in utility and design patent applications. The Office will accept photographs in utility and design patent applications, however, if photographs are the only practicable medium for illustrating the claimed invention. For example, photographs or photomicrographs of: electrophoresis gels, blots (e.g., immunological, western, Southern, and northern), auto- radiographs, cell cultures (stained and unstained), histological tissue cross sections (stained and unstained), animals, plants, in vivo imaging, thin layer chromatography plates, crystalline structures, and, in a design patent application, ornamental effects, are acceptable. If the subject matter of the application admits of illustration by a drawing, the examiner may require a drawing in place of the photograph. The photographs must be of sufficient quality so that all details in the photographs are reproducible in the printed patent.
    • (2) Color photographs. Color photographs will be accepted in utility and design patent applications if the conditions for accepting color drawings and black and white photographs have been satisfied. See paragraphs (a)(2) and (b)(1) of this section.

*****

608.01(g)   Detailed Description of Invention

A detailed description of the invention and drawings follows the general statement of invention and brief description of the drawings. This detailed description, required by 37 CFR 1.71, MPEP § 608.01, must be in such particularity as to enable any person skilled in the pertinent art or science to make and use the invention without involving extensive experimentation. An applicant is ordinarily permitted to use his or her own terminology, as long as it can be understood. Necessary grammatical corrections, however, should be required by the examiner, but it must be remembered that an examination is not made for the purpose of securing grammatical perfection.

The reference characters must be properly applied, no single reference character being used for two different parts or for a given part and a modification of such part. See 37 CFR 1.84(p). Every feature specified in the claims must be illustrated, but there should be no superfluous illustrations.

The description is a dictionary for the claims and should provide clear support or antecedent basis for all terms used in the claims. See 37 CFR 1.75, MPEP § 608.01(i), § 608.01(o), and § 1302.01, and § 2111.01.

For completeness of the specification, see MPEP § 608.01(p).

608.01(h)   Mode of Operation of Invention

The best mode contemplated by the inventor of carrying out his or her invention must be set forth in the description. See 35 U.S.C. 112. There is no statutory requirement for the disclosure of a specific example. A patent specification is not intended nor required to be a production specification. Spectra-Physics, Inc. v. Coherent, Inc., 827 F.2d 1524, 1536, 3 USPQ2d 1737, 1745 (Fed. Cir. 1987); In re Gay, 309 F.2d 769, 135 USPQ 311 (CCPA 1962). The absence of a specific working example is not necessarily evidence that the best mode has not been disclosed, nor is the presence of one evidence that it has. In re Honn, 364 F.2d 454, 150 USPQ 652 (CCPA 1966). In determining the adequacy of a best mode disclosure, only evidence of concealment (accidental or intentional) is to be considered. That evidence must tend to show that the quality of an applicant’s best mode disclosure is so poor as to effectively result in concealment. Spectra-Physics, Inc. v. Coherent, Inc., 827 F.2d 1524, 1536, 3 USPQ2d 1737, 1745 (Fed. Cir. 1987); In re Sherwood, 613 F.2d 809, 204 USPQ 537 (CCPA 1980).

The question of whether an inventor has or has not disclosed what he or she feels is his or her best mode is a question separate and distinct from the question of sufficiency of the disclosure. Spectra-Physics, Inc. v. Coherent, Inc., 827 F.2d 1524, 1532, 3 USPQ2d 1737, 1742 (Fed. Cir. 1987); In re Glass, 492 F.2d 1228, 181 USPQ 31 (CCPA 1974); In re Gay, 309 F.2d 769, 135 USPQ 311 (CCPA 1962). See 35 U.S.C. 112 and 37 CFR 1.71(b).

If the best mode contemplated by the inventor at the time of filing the application is not disclosed, such defect cannot be cured by submitting an amendment seeking to put into the specification something required to be there when the application was originally filed. In re Hay, 534 F.2d 917, 189 USPQ 790 (CCPA 1976). Any proposed amendment of this type should be treated as new matter.

For completeness, see MPEP § 608.01(p). For a discussion of the best mode requirement see MPEP § 2165 to § 2165.04.

608.01(i)   Claims

37 C.F.R. 1.75   Claims.

  • (a) The specification must conclude with a claim particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which the applicant regards as his invention or discovery.
  • (b) More than one claim may be presented provided they differ substantially from each other and are not unduly multiplied.
  • (c) One or more claims may be presented in dependent form, referring back to and further limiting another claim or claims in the same application. Any dependent claim which refers to more than one other claim (“multiple dependent claim”) shall refer to such other claims in the alternative only. A multiple dependent claim shall not serve as a basis for any other multiple dependent claim. For fee calculation purposes under § 1.16, a multiple dependent claim will be considered to be that number of claims to which direct reference is made therein. For fee calculation purposes also, any claim depending from a multiple dependent claim will be considered to be that number of claims to which direct reference is made in that multiple dependent claim. In addition to the other filing fees, any original application which is filed with, or is amended to include, multiple dependent claims must have paid therein the fee set forth in § 1.16(j). Claims in dependent form shall be construed to include all the limitations of the claim incorporated by reference into the dependent claim. A multiple dependent claim shall be construed to incorporate by reference all the limitations of each of the particular claims in relation to which it is being considered.
  • (d)
    • (1) The claim or claims must conform to the invention as set forth in the remainder of the specification and the terms and phrases used in the claims must find clear support or antecedent basis in the description so that the meaning of the terms in the claims may be ascertainable by reference to the description (See § 1.58(a).)
    • (2) See §§ 1.141 to 1.146 as to claiming different inventions in one application.
  • (e) Where the nature of the case admits, as in the case of an improvement, any independent claim should contain in the following order:
    • (1) A preamble comprising a general description of all the elements or steps of the claimed combination which are conventional or known,
    • (2) A phrase such as “wherein the improvement comprises,” and
    • (3) Those elements, steps, and/or relationships which constitute that portion of the claimed combination which the applicant considers as the new or improved portion.
  • (f) If there are several claims, they shall be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals.
  • (g) The least restrictive claim should be presented as claim number 1, and all dependent claims should be grouped together with the claim or claims to which they refer to the extent practicable.
  • (h) The claim or claims must commence on a separate physical sheet or electronic page. Any sheet including a claim or portion of a claim may not contain any other parts of the application or other material.
  • (i) Where a claim sets forth a plurality of elements or steps, each element or step of the claim should be separated by a line indentation.

For numbering of claims, see MPEP § 608.01(j).

For form of claims, see MPEP § 608.01(m).

For dependent claims, see MPEP § 608.01(n).

For examination of claims, see MPEP § 706.

For claims in excess of fee, see MPEP § 714.10.

608.01(j)   Numbering of Claims

37 C.F.R. 1.126   Numbering of claims.

The original numbering of the claims must be preserved throughout the prosecution. When claims are canceled the remaining claims must not be renumbered. When claims are added, they must be numbered by the applicant consecutively beginning with the number next following the highest numbered claim previously presented (whether entered or not). When the application is ready for allowance, the examiner, if necessary, will renumber the claims consecutively in the order in which they appear or in such order as may have been requested by applicant.

In a single claim case, the claim is not numbered.

Form paragraph 6.17 may be used to notify applicant.

¶ 6.17    Numbering of Claims, 37 CFR 1.126

The numbering of claims is not accordance with 37 CFR 1.126, which requires the original numbering of the claims to be preserved throughout the prosecution. When claims are canceled, the remaining claims must not be renumbered. When new claims are presented, they must be numbered consecutively beginning with the number next following the highest numbered claims previously presented (whether entered or not).

Misnumbered claim [1] been renumbered [2].

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert appropriate claim number(s) and --has-- or -- have --.
  • 2. In bracket 2, insert correct claim number(s) and --, respectively -- if more than one claim is involved.

608.01(k)   Statutory Requirement of Claims

35 U.S.C. 112 requires that the applicant shall particularly point out and distinctly claim the subject matter which he or she regards as his or her invention. The portion of the application in which he or she does this forms the claim or claims. This is an important part of the application, as it is the definition of that for which protection is granted.

608.01(l)   Original Claims

In establishing a disclosure, applicant may rely not only on the description and drawing as filed but also on the original claims if their content justifies it.

Where subject matter not shown in the drawing or described in the description is claimed in the application as filed, and such original claim itself constitutes a clear disclosure of this subject matter, then the claim should be treated on its merits, and requirement made to amend the drawing and description to show this subject matter. The claim should not be attacked either by objection or rejection because this subject matter is lacking in the drawing and description. It is the drawing and description that are defective, not the claim.

It is, of course, to be understood that this disclosure in the claim must be sufficiently specific and detailed to support the necessary amendment of the drawing and description.

608.01(m)   Form of Claims

The claim or claims must commence on a separate physical sheet or electronic page and should appear after the detailed description of the invention. Any sheet including a claim or portion of a claim may not contain any other parts of the application or other material. While there is no set statutory form for claims, the present Office practice is to insist that each claim must be the object of a sentence starting with “I (or we) claim,” “The invention claimed is” (or the equivalent). If, at the time of allowance, the quoted terminology is not present, it is inserted by the Office of Data Management. Each claim begins with a capital letter and ends with a period. Periods may not be used elsewhere in the claims except for abbreviations. See Fressola v.Manbeck, 36 USPQ2d 1211 (D.D.C. 1995). Where a claim sets forth a plurality of elements or steps, each element or step of the claim should be separated by a line indentation, 37 CFR 1.75(i).

There may be plural indentations to further segregate subcombinations or related steps. In general, the printed patent copies will follow the format used but printing difficulties or expense may prevent the duplication of unduly complex claim formats.

Reference characters corresponding to elements recited in the detailed description and the drawings may be used in conjunction with the recitation of the same element or group of elements in the claims. The reference characters, however, should be enclosed within parentheses so as to avoid confusion with other numbers or characters which may appear in the claims. The use of reference characters is to be considered as having no effect on the scope of the claims.

Many of the difficulties encountered in the prosecution of patent applications after final rejection may be alleviated if each applicant includes, at the time of filing or no later than the first reply, claims varying from the broadest to which he or she believes he or she is entitled to the most detailed that he or she is willing to accept.

Claims should preferably be arranged in order of scope so that the first claim presented is the least restrictive. All dependent claims should be grouped together with the claim or claims to which they refer to the extent practicable. Where separate species are claimed, the claims of like species should be grouped together where possible. Similarly, product and process claims should be separately grouped. Such arrangements are for the purpose of facilitating classification and examination.

The form of claim required in 37 CFR 1.75(e) is particularly adapted for the description of improvement-type inventions. It is to be considered a combination claim. The preamble of this form of claim is considered to positively and clearly include all the elements or steps recited therein as a part of the claimed combination.

The following form paragraphs may be used to object to the form of the claims.

¶ 6.18.01    Claims: Placement

The claims in this application do not commence on a separate sheet or electronic page in accordance with 37 CFR 1.52(b)(3). Appropriate correction is required in response to this action.

¶ 7.29.01    Claims Objected to, Minor Informalities

Claim[1] objected to because of the following informalities: [2]. Appropriate correction is required.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. Use this form paragraph to point out minor informalities such as spelling errors, inconsistent terminology, etc., which should be corrected.
  • 2. If the informalities render the claim(s) indefinite, use form paragraph 7.34.01 instead to reject the claim(s) under 35 U.S.C. 112(b) or 35 U.S.C. 112 (pre-AIA), second paragraph.

¶ 7.29.02    Claims Objected to, Reference Characters Not Enclosed Within Parentheses

The claims are objected to because they include reference characters which are not enclosed within parentheses.

Reference characters corresponding to elements recited in the detailed description of the drawings and used in conjunction with the recitation of the same element or group of elements in the claims should be enclosed within parentheses so as to avoid confusion with other numbers or characters which may appear in the claims. See MPEP § 608.01(m).

Examiner Note:

  • 1. If the lack of parentheses renders the claim(s) indefinite, use form paragraph 7.34.01 instead to reject the claim(s) under 35 U.S.C. 112(b) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112 , second paragraph.

¶ 7.29.03    Claims Objected to, Spacing of Lines

The claims are objected to because the lines are crowded too closely together, making reading difficult. Substitute claims with lines one and one-half or double spaced on good quality paper are required. See 37 CFR 1.52(b).

Amendments to the claims must be in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(c).

608.01(n)   Dependent Claims

I.   MULTIPLE DEPENDENT CLAIMS

35 U.S.C. 112  Specification.

*****

  • (e) A claim in multiple dependent form shall contain a reference, in the alternative only, to more than one claim previously set forth and then specify a further limitation of the subject matter claimed. A multiple dependent claim shall not serve as a basis for any other multiple dependent claim. A multiple dependent claim shall be construed to incorporate by reference all the limitations of the particular claim in relation to which it is being considered.

*****

37 C.F.R. 1.75   Claim(s).

*****

  • (c) One or more claims may be presented in dependent form, referring back to and further limiting another claim or claims in the same application. Any dependent claim which refers to more than one other claim (“multiple dependent claim”) shall refer to such other claims in the alternative only. A multiple dependent claim shall not serve as a basis for any other multiple dependent claim. For fee calculation purposes under § 1.16, a multiple dependent claim will be considered to be that number of claims to which direct reference is made therein. For fee calculation purposes also, any claim depending from a multiple dependent claim will be considered to be that number of claims to which direct reference is made in that multiple dependent claim. In addition to the other filing fees, any original application which is filed with, or is amended to include, multiple dependent claims must have paid therein the fee set forth in § 1.16(j). Claims in dependent form shall be construed to include all the limitations of the claim incorporated by reference into the dependent claim. A multiple dependent claim shall be construed to incorporate by reference all the limitations of each of the particular claims in relation to which it is being considered.

*****

Generally, a multiple dependent claim is a dependent claim which refers back in the alternative to more than one preceding independent or dependent claim.

35 U.S.C. 112(e) and pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, fifth paragraph, authorize multiple dependent claims in applications as long as they are in the alternative form (e.g., “A machine according to claims 3 or 4, further comprising ---”). Cumulative claiming (e.g., “A machine according to claims 3 and 4, further comprising ---”) is not permitted. A multiple dependent claim may refer in the alternative to only one set of claims. A claim such as “A device as in claims 1, 2, 3, or 4, made by a process of claims 5, 6, 7, or 8” is improper. 35 U.S.C. 112 allows reference to only a particular claim. Furthermore, a multiple dependent claim may not serve as a basis for any other multiple dependent claim, either directly or indirectly. These limitations help to avoid undue confusion in determining how many prior claims are actually referred to in a multiple dependent claim.

A multiple dependent claim which depends from another multiple dependent claim should be objected to by using form paragraph 7.45.

¶ 7.45    Improper Multiple Dependent Claims

Claim [1] objected to under 37 CFR 1.75(c) as being in improper form because a multiple dependent claim [2]. See MPEP § 608.01(n). Accordingly, the claim [3] not been further treated on the merits.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 2, insert --should refer to other claims in the alternative only--, and/or, --cannot depend from any other multiple dependent claim--.
  • 2. Use this paragraph rather than 35 U.S.C. 112(e) or 35 U.S.C. 112 (pre-AIA), fifth paragraph.
  • 3. In bracket 3, insert --has-- or --s have--.

Assume each claim example given below is from a different application.

A.   Acceptable Multiple Dependent Claim Wording

Claim 5. A gadget according to claims 3 or 4, further comprising ---

Claim 5. A gadget as in any one of the preceding claims, in which ---

Claim 5. A gadget as in any one of claims 1, 2, and 3, in which ---

Claim 3. A gadget as in either claim 1 or claim 2, further comprising ---

Claim 4. A gadget as in claim 2 or 3, further comprising ---

Claim 16. A gadget as in claims 1, 7, 12, or 15, further comprising ---

Claim 5. A gadget as in any of the preceding claims, in which ---

Claim 8. A gadget as in one of claims 4-7, in which ---

Claim 5. A gadget as in any preceding claim, in which ---

Claim 10. A gadget as in any of claims 1-3 or 7-9, in which ---

Claim 11. A gadget as in any one of claims 1, 2, or 7-10 inclusive, in which ---

B.   Unacceptable Multiple Dependent Claim Wording

1.   Claim Does Not Refer Back in the Alternative Only

Claim 5. A gadget according to claim 3 and 4, further comprising ---

Claim 9. A gadget according to claims 1-3, in which ---

Claim 9. A gadget as in claims 1 or 2 and 7 or 8, which ---

Claim 6. A gadget as in the preceding claims in which ---

Claim 6. A gadget as in claims 1, 2, 3, 4 and/or 5, in which ---

Claim 10. A gadget as in claims 1-3 or 7-9, in which ---

2.   Claim Does Not Refer to a Preceding Claim

Claim 3. A gadget as in any of the following claims, in which ---

Claim 5. A gadget as in either claim 6 or claim 8, in which ---

3.   Reference to Two Sets of Claims to Different Features

Claim 9. A gadget as in claim 1 or 4 made by the process of claims 5, 6, 7, or 8, in which ---

4.   Reference Back to Another Multiple Dependent Claim

Claim 8. A gadget as in claim 5 (claim 5 is a multiple dependent claim) or claim 7, in which ---

35 U.S.C. 112 indicates that the limitations or elements of each claim incorporated by reference into a multiple dependent claim must be considered separately. Thus, a multiple dependent claim, as such, does not contain all the limitations of all the alternative claims to which it refers, but rather contains in any one embodiment only those limitations of the particular claim referred to for the embodiment under consideration. Hence, a multiple dependent claim must be considered in the same manner as a plurality of single dependent claims.

C.   Restriction Practice

For restriction purposes, each embodiment of a multiple dependent claim is considered in the same manner as a single dependent claim. Therefore, restriction may be required between the embodiments of a multiple dependent claim. Also, some embodiments of a multiple dependent claim may be held withdrawn while other embodiments are considered on their merits.

D.   Handling of Multiple Dependent Claims by the Office of Patent Application Processing

The Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP) is responsible for verifying whether multiple dependent claims filed with the application are in proper alternative form, that they depend only upon prior independent or single dependent claims and also for calculating the amount of the filing fee. Form PTO/SB/07 has been designed to be used in conjunction with the current fee calculation form PTO/SB/06.

E.   Handling of Multiple Dependent Claims by the Technology Center Technical Support Staff

The Technology Center (TC) technical support staff is responsible for verifying compliance with the statute and rules of multiple dependent claims added by amendment and for calculating the amount of any additional fees required. This calculation should be performed on form PTO/SB/07.

There is no need for a TC technical support staff to check the accuracy of the initial filing fee since this has already been verified by the Office of Patent Application Processing when granting the filing date.

If a multiple dependent claim (or claims) is added in an amendment without the proper fee, either by adding references to prior claims or by adding a new multiple dependent claim, the amendment should not be entered until the fee has been received. In view of the requirements for multiple dependent claims, no amendment containing new claims or changing the dependency of claims should be entered before checking whether the paid fees cover the costs of the amended claims. The applicant, or his or her attorney or agent, should be contacted to pay the additional fee. Where a letter is written in an insufficient fee situation, a copy of the multiple dependent claim fee calculation, form PTO/SB/07 should be included for applicant’s information.

Where the TC technical support staff notes that the reference to the prior claims is improper in an added or amended multiple dependent claim, a notation should be made in the left margin next to the claim itself and the number 1, which is inserted in the “Dep. Claim” column of that amendment on form PTO/SB/07 should be circled in order to call this matter to the examiner’s attention.

F.    Handling of Multiple Dependent Claims by the Examiner

Pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 112 and 37 CFR 1.75(c), a claim in dependent form must refer only to a claim or claims previously set forth. The following procedures are to be followed by examiners when faced with claims which refer to numerically succeeding claims:

If any series of dependent claims contains a claim with an improper reference to a numerically following claim which cannot be understood, the claim referring to a following claim should normally be objected to and not treated on the merits.

However, in situations where a claim refers to a numerically following claim and the dependency is clear, both as presented and as it will be renumbered at issue, all claims should be examined on the merits and no objection as to form need be made. In such cases, an examiner’s amendment should be prepared if the order of the claims is changed. (See Example B, below.)

Any unusual problems should be brought to the supervisor’s attention.

Example A

(Claims 4 and 6 should be objected to as not being understood and should not be treated on the merits.)

1. Independent

2. Dependent on claim 5

3. Dependent on claim 2

4. “. . . as in any preceding claim”

5. Independent

6. Dependent on claim 4

Example B

Note: Parenthetical numerals represent the claim numbering for issue should all claims be allowed.

(All claims should be examined.)

1. (1) Independent

2. (5) Dependent on claim 5 (4)

3. (2) Dependent on claim 1 (1)

4. (3) Dependent on claim 3 (2)

5. (4) Dependent on either claim 1 (1) or claim 3 (2)

The following practice is followed by patent examiners when making reference to a dependent claim either singular or multiple:

  • (A) When identifying a singular dependent claim which does not include a reference to a multiple dependent claim, either directly or indirectly, reference should be made only to the number of the dependent claim.
  • (B) When identifying the embodiments included within a multiple dependent claim, or a singular dependent claim which includes a reference to a multiple dependent claim, either directly or indirectly, each embodiment should be identified by using the number of the claims involved, starting with the highest, to the extent necessary to specifically identify each embodiment.
  • (C) When all embodiments included within a multiple dependent claim or a singular dependent claim which includes a reference to a multiple dependent claim, either directly or indirectly, are subject to a common rejection, objection, or requirement, reference may be made only to the number of the dependent claim.

The following table illustrates the current practice where each embodiment of each claim must be treated on an individual basis:

Claim No. Claim dependency Identification All claims Approved practice
1 Independent 1 1
2 Depends from 1 2/1 2
3 Depends from 2 3/2/1 3
4 Depends from 2 or 3 4/2/1 4/3/2/1 4/2 4/3
5 Depends from 3 5/3/2/1 5
6 Depends from 2, 3, or 5 6/2/1 6/3/2/1 6/5/3/2/1 6/2 6/3 6/5
7 Depends from 6 7/6/2/1 7/6/3/2/1 7/6/5/3/2/1 7/6/2 7/6/3 7/6/5

When all embodiments in a multiple dependent claim situation (claims 4, 6, and 7 above) are subject to a common rejection, objection, or requirements, reference may be made to the number of the individual dependent claim only. For example, if 4/2 and 4/3 were subject to a common ground of rejection, reference should be made only to claim 4 in the statement of that rejection.

The provisions of 35 U.S.C. 132 require that each Office action make it explicitly clear what rejection, objection and/or requirement is applied to each claim embodiment.

G.   Fees for Multiple Dependent Claims

1.   Use of Form PTO/SB/07

To assist in the computation of the fees for multiple dependent claims, a separate “Multiple Dependent Claim Fee Calculation Sheet,” form PTO/SB/07 has been designed for use with the current “Patent Application Fee Determination Record,” form PTO/SB/06. Form PTO/SB/07 will be placed in the application file by the Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP) where multiple dependent claims are in the application as filed. If multiple dependent claims are not included upon filing, but are later added by amendment, the TC technical support staff will place the form in the application file. If there are multiple dependent claims in the application, the total number of independent and dependent claims for fee purposes will be calculated on form PTO/SB/07 and the total number of claims and number of independent claims is then placed on form PTO/SB/06 for final fee calculation purposes.

2.   Calculation of Fees

(a)   Proper Multiple Dependent Claim

35 U.S.C. 41(a), provides that claims in proper multiple dependent form may not be considered as single dependent claims for the purpose of calculating fees. Thus, a multiple dependent claim is considered to be that number of dependent claims to which it refers. Any proper claim depending directly or indirectly from a multiple dependent claim is also considered as the number of dependent claims as referred to in the multiple dependent claim from which it depends.

(b)   Improper Multiple Dependent Claim

If none of the multiple dependent claims is proper, the multiple dependent claim fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(j) will not be required. However, the multiple dependent claim fee is required if at least one multiple dependent claim is proper.

If any multiple dependent claim is improper, OPAP may indicate that fact by placing an encircled numeral “1” in the “Dep. Claims” column of form PTO/SB/07. The fee for any improper multiple dependent claim, whether it is defective for either not being in the alternative form or for being directly or indirectly dependent on a prior multiple dependent claim, will only be one, since only an objection to the form of such a claim will normally be made. This procedure also greatly simplifies the calculation of fees. Any claim depending from an improper multiple dependent claim will also be considered to be improper and be counted as one dependent claim.

(c)   Fee calculation example

Fee Calculation Example

i)   Comments On Fee Calculation Example

Claim 1 — This is an independent claim; therefore, a numeral “1” is placed opposite claim number 1 in the “Ind.” column.

Claim 2 — Since this is a claim dependent on a single independent claim, a numeral “1” is placed opposite claim number 2 of the “Dep.” column.

Claim 3 — Claim 3 is also a single dependent claim, so a numeral “1” is placed in the “Dep.” column.

Claim 4 — Claim 4 is a proper multiple dependent claim. It refers directly to two claims in the alternative, namely, claim 2 or 3. Therefore, a numeral “2” to indicate direct reference to two claims is placed in the “Dep.” column opposite claim number 4.

Claim 5 — This claim is a singularly dependent claim depending from a multiple dependent claim. For fee calculation purposes, such a claim is counted as being that number of claims to which direct reference is made in the multiple dependent claim from which it depends. In this case, the multiple dependent claim number 4 it depends from counts as 2 claims; therefore, claim 5 also counts as 2 claims. Accordingly, a numeral “2” is placed opposite claim number 5 in the “Dep.” column.

Claim 6 — Claim 6 depends indirectly from a multiple dependent claim 4. Since claim 4 counts as 2 claims, claim 6 also counts as 2 dependent claims. Consequently, a numeral “2” is placed in the “Dep.” column after claim 6.

Claim 7 — This claim is a multiple dependent claim since it refers to claims 4, 5, or 6. However, as can be seen by looking at the “2” in the “Dep.” column opposite claim 4, claim 7 depends from a multiple dependent claim. This practice is improper under 35 U.S.C.112 and 37 CFR 1.75(c). Following the procedure for calculating fees for improper multiple dependent claims, a numeral “1” is placed in the “Dep.” column with a circle drawn around it to alert the examiner that the claim is improper.

Claim 8 — Claim 8 is improper since it depends from an improper claim. If the base claim is in error, this error cannot be corrected by adding additional claims depending therefrom. Therefore, a numeral “1” with a circle around it is placed in the “Dep.” column.

Claim 9 — Here again we have an independent claim which is always indicated with a numeral “1” in the “Ind.” column opposite the claim number.

Claim 10 — This claim refers to two independent claims in the alternative. A numeral “2” is, therefore, placed in the “Dep.” column opposite claim 10.

Claim 11 — Claim 11 is a dependent claim which refers to two claims in the conjunctive (“1” and “9”) rather than in the alternative (“1” or “9”). This form is improper under 35 U.S.C. 112 and 37 CFR 1.75(c). Accordingly, since claim 11 is improper, an encircled number “1” is placed in the “Dep.” column opposite Claim 11.

ii)   Calculation of Fee in Fee Example

After the number of “Ind.” and “Dep.” claims are noted on form PTO/SB/07, each column is added. In this example, there are 2 independent claims and 13 dependent claims or a total of 15 claims. The number of independent and total claims can then be placed on form PTO/SB/06 and the fee calculated.

II.   TREATMENT OF IMPROPER DEPENDENT CLAIMS

The initial determination, for fee purposes, as to whether a claim is dependent must be made by persons other than examiners; it is necessary, at that time, to accept as dependent virtually every claim which refers to another claim, without determining whether there is actually a true dependent relationship. The initial acceptance of a claim as a dependent claim does not, however, preclude a subsequent holding by the examiner that a claim is not a proper dependent claim.

The fact that a dependent claim which is otherwise proper might relate to a separate invention which would require a separate search or be separately classified from the claim on which it depends would not render it an improper dependent claim.

The fact that the independent and dependent claims are in different statutory classes does not, in itself, render the latter improper. Thus, if claim 1 recites a specific product, a claim for the method of making the product of claim 1 in a particular manner would be a proper dependent claim since it could not be infringed without infringing claim 1. Similarly, if claim 1 recites a method of making a product, a claim for a product made by the method of claim 1 could be a proper dependent claim. On the other hand, if claim 1 recites a method of making a specified product, a claim to the product set forth in claim 1 would not be a proper dependent claim since it is conceivable that the product claim can be infringed without infringing the base method claim if the product can be made by a method other than that recited in the base method claim.

When examining a dependent claim, the examiner should determine whether the claim complies with 35 U.S.C. 112(d) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, fourth paragraph, which requires that dependent claims contain a reference to a previous claim in the same application, specify a further limitation of the subject matter claimed, and include all the limitations of the previous claim. If the dependent claim does not comply with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112(d) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, fourth paragraph, the examiner should reject the dependent claim under 35 U.S.C. 112(d) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, fourth paragraph as unpatentable rather than objecting to the claim. Pfizer, Inc. v. Ranbaxy Labs., Ltd., 457 F.3d 1284, 1291-92, 79 USPQ2d 1583, 1589-90 (Fed. Cir. 2006) (holding a dependent claim in a patent invalid for failure to comply with 35 U.S.C. 112, fourth paragraph). Although the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112(d) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, fourth paragraph are related to matters of form, non compliance with 35 U.S.C. 112(d) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, fourth paragraph renders the claim unpatentable just as non-compliance with other paragraphs of 35 U.S.C. 112 would. For example, a dependent claim must be rejected under 35 U.S.C. 112, fourth paragraph if it omits an element from the claim upon which it depends or it fails to add a limitation to the claim upon which it depends.

Claims which are in improper dependent form for failing to further limit the subject matter of a previous claim, or for not including every limitation of the claim from which it depends, should be rejected under 35 U.S.C. 112(d) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, fourth paragraph by using form paragraphs 7.36 and 7.36.01.

¶ 7.36    Statement of Statutory Basis, 35 U.S.C. 112(d) and 35 U.S.C. 112 (pre-AIA), Fourth Paragraph

The following is a quotation of 35 U.S.C. 112(d):

(d) REFERENCE IN DEPENDENT FORMS.—Subject to subsection (e), a claim in dependent form shall contain a reference to a claim previously set forth and then specify a further limitation of the subject matter claimed. A claim in dependent form shall be construed to incorporate by reference all the limitations of the claim to which it refers.

The following is a quotation of 35 U.S.C. 112 (pre-AIA), fourth paragraph:

Subject to the [fifth paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112 (pre-AIA)], a claim in dependent form shall contain a reference to a claim previously set forth and then specify a further limitation of the subject matter claimed. A claim in dependent form shall be construed to incorporate by reference all the limitations of the claim to which it refers.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. The statute is no longer being recited in all Office actions. It is only required in first actions on the merits and final rejections. Where the statute is not being cited in an action on the merits, use paragraph 7.103.
  • 2. Form paragraph 7.36 is to be used ONLY ONCE in a given Office action.

¶ 7.36.01    Rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112(d) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, 4th Paragraph, Improper Dependent Claim

Claim [1] rejected under 35 U.S.C. 112(d) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, 4th paragraph, as being of improper dependent form for failing to further limit the subject matter of the claim upon which it depends, or for failing to include all the limitations of the claim upon which it depends. [2]. Applicant may cancel the claim(s), amend the claim(s) to place the claim(s) in proper dependent form, rewrite the claim(s) in independent form, or present a sufficient showing that the dependent claim(s) complies with the statutory requirements.

Examiner Note:

III.   INFRINGEMENT TEST

The test as to whether a claim is a proper dependent claim is that it shall include every limitation of the claim from which it depends 35 U.S.C. 112(d) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, fourth paragraph) or in other words that it shall not conceivably be infringed by anything which would not also infringe the basic claim. Another requirement is that the dependent claim must specify a further limitation(s) of the subject matter claimed.

A dependent claim does not lack compliance with 35 U.S.C. 112(d) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, fourth paragraph, simply because there is a question as to the significance of the further limitation added by the dependent claim.

Thus, for example, if claim 1 recites the combination of elements A, B, C, and D, a claim reciting the structure of claim 1 in which D was omitted or replaced by E would not be a proper dependent claim, even though it placed further limitations on the remaining elements or added still other elements.

Examiners are reminded that a dependent claim is directed to a combination including everything recited in the base claim and what is recited in the dependent claim. It is this combination that must be compared with the prior art, exactly as if it were presented as one independent claim.

IV.   CLAIM FORM AND ARRANGEMENT

A singular dependent claim 2 could read as follows:

2. The product of claim 1 in which . . . .

A series of singular dependent claims is permissible in which a dependent claim refers to a preceding claim which, in turn, refers to another preceding claim.

A claim which depends from a dependent claim should not be separated therefrom by any claim which does not also depend from said “dependent claim.” It should be kept in mind that a dependent claim may refer back to any preceding independent claim. These are the only restrictions with respect to the sequence of claims and, in general, applicant’s sequence should not be changed. See MPEP § 608.01(j). Applicant may be so advised by using form paragraph 6.18.

¶ 6.18    Series of Singular Dependent Claims

A series of singular dependent claims is permissible in which a dependent claim refers to a preceding claim which, in turn, refers to another preceding claim.

A claim which depends from a dependent claim should not be separated by any claim which does not also depend from said dependent claim. It should be kept in mind that a dependent claim may refer to any preceding independent claim. In general, applicant’s sequence will not be changed. See MPEP § 608.01(n).

During prosecution, the order of claims may change and be in conflict with the requirement that dependent claims refer to a preceding claim. Accordingly, the numbering of dependent claims and the numbers of preceding claims referred to in dependent claims should be carefully checked when claims are renumbered upon allowance.

V.   REJECTION AND OBJECTION

If the base claim has been canceled, a claim which is directly or indirectly dependent thereon should be rejected as incomplete. If the base claim is rejected, the dependent claim should be objected to rather than rejected, if it is otherwise allowable.

Form paragraph 7.43 can be used to state the objection.

¶ 7.43    Objection to Claims, Allowable Subject Matter

Claim [1] objected to as being dependent upon a rejected base claim, but would be allowable if rewritten in independent form including all of the limitations of the base claim and any intervening claims.

608.01(o)   Basis for Claim Terminology in Description

The meaning of every term used in any of the claims should be apparent from the descriptive portion of the specification with clear disclosure as to its import; and in mechanical cases, it should be identified in the descriptive portion of the specification by reference to the drawing, designating the part or parts therein to which the term applies. A term used in the claims may be given a special meaning in the description. See MPEP § 2111.01 and § 2173.05(a).

Usually the terminology of the original claims follows the nomenclature of the specification, but sometimes in amending the claims or in adding new claims, new terms are introduced that do not appear in the specification. The use of a confusing variety of terms for the same thing should not be permitted.

New claims and amendments to the claims already in the application should be scrutinized not only for new matter but also for new terminology. While an applicant is not limited to the nomenclature used in the application as filed, he or she should make appropriate amendment of the specification whenever this nomenclature is departed from by amendment of the claims so as to have clear support or antecedent basis in the specification for the new terms appearing in the claims. This is necessary in order to insure certainty in construing the claims in the light of the specification See 37 CFR 1.75, MPEP § 608.01(i) and § 1302.01 and § 2103. Note that examiners should ensure that the terms and phrases used in claims presented late in prosecution of the application (including claims amended via an examiner’s amendment) find clear support or antecedent basis in the description so that the meaning of the terms in the claims may be ascertainable by reference to the description, see 37 CFR 1.75(d)(1). If the examiner determines that the claims presented late in prosecution do not comply with 37 CFR 1.75(d)(1), applicant will be required to make appropriate amendment to the description to provide clear support or antecedent basis for the terms appearing in the claims provided no new matter is introduced.

The specification should be objected to if it does not provide proper antecedent basis for the claims by using form paragraph 7.44.

¶ 7.44    Claimed Subject Matter Not in Specification

The specification is objected to as failing to provide proper antecedent basis for the claimed subject matter. See 37 CFR 1.75(d)(1) and MPEP § 608.01(o). Correction of the following is required: [1]

608.01(p)   Completeness of Specification

Newly filed applications obviously failing to disclose an invention with the clarity required are discussed in MPEP § 702.01.

The contents of an application, to be complete, must include a specification containing a written description of the invention using such description and details as to enable any person skilled in the art or science to which the invention pertains to make and use the invention as of its filing date.35 U.S.C. 112. At least one specific operative embodiment or example of the invention must be set forth. The example(s) and description should be of sufficient scope as to justify the scope of the claims.

For the written description requirement, an applicant’s specification must reasonably convey to those skilled in the art that the applicant was in possession of the claimed invention as of the date of invention. See MPEP § 2163 et seq. for further guidance with respect to the evaluation of a patent application for compliance with the written description requirement.

An applicant’s specification must enable a person skilled in the art to make and use the claimed invention without undue experimentation. The fact that experimentation is complex, however, will not make it undue if a person of skill in the art typically engages in such complex experimentation. See MPEP § 2164 et seq. for detailed guidance with regard to the enablement requirement of 35 U.S.C. 112.

See also MPEP § 2161.01 regarding computer programming and 35 U.S.C. 112; and MPEP § 2181 and § 2185 regarding 35 U.S.C. 112 in the context of functional claims.

The specification should include a statement which identifies a specific and substantial credible utility for the claimed invention. This usually presents no problem in mechanical or electrical cases. Questions regarding compliance with the utility requirement arise more often in biotechnological or chemical cases.

For “Guidelines For Examination Of Applications For Compliance With The Utility Requirement of 35 U.S.C. 101,” see MPEP § 2107.

For “General Principles Governing Utility Rejections,” see MPEP § 2107.01.

For a discussion of the utility requirement under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph, in drug cases, see MPEP § 2107.03 and § 2164.06(a).

For “Procedural Considerations Related to Rejections for Lack of Utility,” see MPEP § 2107.02.

For “Special Considerations for Asserted Therapeutic or Pharmacological Utilities,” see MPEP § 2107.03.

I.   INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

37 C.F.R. 1.57   Incorporation by reference.

  • (a) Subject to the conditions and requirements of this paragraph, if all or a portion of the specification or drawing(s) is inadvertently omitted from an application, but the application contains a claim under § 1.55 for priority of a prior-filed foreign application, or a claim under §1.78 for the benefit of a prior-filed provisional, nonprovisional, or international application, that was present on the filing date of the application, and the inadvertently omitted portion of the specification or drawing(s) is completely contained in the prior-filed application, the claim under §1.55 or § 1.78 shall also be considered an incorporation by reference of the prior-filed application as to the inadvertently omitted portion of the specification or drawing(s).
    • (1) The application must be amended to include the inadvertently omitted portion of the specification or drawing(s) within any time period set by the Office, but in no case later than the close of prosecution as defined by § 1.114(b), or abandonment of the application, whichever occurs earlier. The applicant is also required to:
      • (i) Supply a copy of the prior-filed application, except where the prior-filed application is an application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111;
      • (ii) Supply an English language translation of any prior-filed application that is in a language other than English; and
      • (iii) Identify where the inadvertently omitted portion of the specification or drawings can be found in the prior-filed application.
    • (2) Any amendment to an international application pursuant to this paragraph shall be effective only as to the United States, and shall have no effect on the international filing date of the application. In addition, no request to add the inadvertently omitted portion of the specification or drawings in an international application designating the United States will be acted upon by the Office prior to the entry and commencement of the national stage (§ 1.491) or the filing of an application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) which claims benefit of the international application.
    • (3) If an application is not otherwise entitled to a filing date under § 1.53(b), the amendment must be by way of a petition pursuant to this paragraph accompanied by the fee set forth in § 1.17(f).
  • (b) Except as provided in paragraph (a) of this section, an incorporation by reference must be set forth in the specification and must:
    • (1) Express a clear intent to incorporate by reference by using the root words “incorporat(e)” and “reference” (e.g. , “incorporate by reference”); and
    • (2) Clearly identify the referenced patent, application, or publication.
  • (c) “Essential material” may be incorporated by reference, but only by way of an incorporation by reference to a U.S. patent or U.S. patent application publication, which patent or patent application publication does not itself incorporate such essential material by reference. “Essential material” is material that is necessary to:
    • (1) Provide a written description of the claimed invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same, and set forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor of carrying out the invention as required by 35 U.S.C. 112(a);
    • (2) Describe the claimed invention in terms that particularly point out and distinctly claim the invention as required by 35 U.S.C. 112(b); or
    • (3) Describe the structure, material, or acts that correspond to a claimed means or step for performing a specified function as required by 35 U.S.C. 112(f).
  • (d) Other material (“Nonessential material”) may be incorporated by reference to U.S. patents, U.S. patent application publications, foreign patents, foreign published applications, prior and concurrently filed commonly owned U.S. applications, or non-patent publications. An incorporation by reference by hyperlink or other form of browser executable code is not permitted.
  • (e) The examiner may require the applicant to supply a copy of the material incorporated by reference. If the Office requires the applicant to supply a copy of material incorporated by reference, the material must be accompanied by a statement that the copy supplied consists of the same material incorporated by reference in the referencing application.
  • (f) Any insertion of material incorporated by reference into the specification or drawings of an application must be by way of an amendment to the specification or drawings. Such an amendment must be accompanied by a statement that the material being inserted is the material previously incorporated by reference and that the amendment contains no new matter.
  • (g) An incorporation of material by reference that does not comply with paragraphs (b), (c), or (d) of this section is not effective to incorporate such material unless corrected within any time period set by the Office, but in no case later than the close of prosecution as defined by § 1.114(b), or abandonment of the application, whichever occurs earlier. In addition:
    • (1) A correction to comply with paragraph (b)(1) of this section is permitted only if the application as file d clearly conveys an intent to incorporate the material by reference. A mere reference to material does not convey an intent to incorporate the material by reference.
    • (2) A correction to comply with paragraph (b)(2) of this section is only permitted for material that was sufficiently described to uniquely identify the document.

The Director has considerable discretion in determining what may or may not be incorporated by reference in a patent application. General Electric Co. v. Brenner, 407 F.2d 1258, 159 USPQ 335 (D.C. Cir. 1968). Effective October 21, 2004, the Office codified in 37 CFR 1.57(b) – (g) existing practice with respect to explicit incorporations by reference with a few changes to reflect the eighteen-month publication of applications. In addition, 37 CFR 1.57(a) was added to provide a safeguard for applicants when a page(s) of the specification, or a portion thereof, or a sheet(s) of the drawing(s), or a portion thereof, is inadvertently omitted from an application, such as through a clerical error. 37 CFR 1.57(a) applies to applications filed on or after September 21, 2004. 37 CFR 1.57(a) permits inadvertently omitted material to be added to the application by way of a later filed amendment if the inadvertently omitted portion of the specification or drawing(s) is completely contained in a prior-filed application (for which priority/benefit is claimed) even though there is no explicit incorporation by reference of the prior-filed application. See MPEP § 217 for discussion regarding 37 CFR 1.57(a).

The incorporation by reference practice with respect to applications which issue as U.S. patents provides the public with a patent disclosure which minimizes the public’s burden to search for and obtain copies of documents incorporated by reference which may not be readily available. Through the Office’s incorporation by reference policy, the Office ensures that reasonably complete disclosures are published as U.S. patents. The following is the manner in which the Director has elected to exercise that discretion. Section A provides the guidance for incorporation by reference in applications which are to issue as U.S. patents. Section B provides guidance for incorporation by reference in benefit applications; i.e., those domestic (35 U.S.C. 120) or foreign (35 U.S.C. 119(a)) applications relied on to establish an earlier effective filing date. See MPEP § 2181 for the impact of incorporation by reference on the determination of whether applicant has complied with the requirements of 35 U.S.C.112(b) when 35 U.S.C. 112(f) is invoked or the requirements of pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph when pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, sixth paragraph is invoked.

A.   Review of Applications Which Are To Issue as Patents.

An application as filed must be complete in itself in order to comply with 35 U.S.C. 112. Material nevertheless may be incorporated by reference. An application for a patent when filed may incorporate “essential material” by reference to (1) a U.S. patent, or (2) a U.S. patent application publication, which patent or patent application publication does not itself incorporate such essential material by reference. See 37 CFR 1.57(c).

“Essential material” is defined in 37 CFR 1.57(c) as that which is necessary to (1) provide a written description of the claimed invention, and of the manner and process of making and using it, in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art to which it pertains, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same, and set forth the best mode contemplated by the inventor of carrying out the invention as required by 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or the first paragraph of pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112; (2) describe the claimed invention in terms that particularly point out and distinctly claim the invention as required by 35 U.S.C. 112(b) or the second paragraph of pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112; or (3) describe the structure, material, or acts that correspond to a claimed means or step for performing a specified function as required by 35 U.S.C. 112(f) or the sixth paragraph of pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112. In any application that is to issue as a U.S. patent, essential material may only be incorporated by reference to a U.S. patent or patent application publication.

Other material (“nonessential subject matter”)may be incorporated by reference to (1) patents or applications published by the United States or foreign countries or regional patent offices, (2) prior and concurrently filed, commonly owned U.S. applications, or (3) non-patent publications . Nonessential subject matter is subject matter referred to for purposes of indicating the background of the invention or illustrating the state of the art.

An incorporation by reference by hyperlink or other form of browser executable code is not permitted. See 37 CFR 1.57(d) and MPEP § 608.01.

Mere reference to another application, patent, or publication is not an incorporation of anything therein into the application containing such reference for the purpose of the disclosure required by 35 U.S.C. 112. In re de Seversky, 474 F.2d 671, 177 USPQ 144 (CCPA 1973). 37 CFR 1.57(b)(1) limits a proper incorporation by reference (except as provided in 37 CFR 1.57(a)) to instances only where the perfecting words “incorporated by reference” or the root of the words “incorporate” (e.g., incorporating, incorporated) and “reference” (e.g., referencing) appear. The requirement for specific root words will bring greater clarity to the record and provide a bright line test as to where something is being referred to is an incorporation by reference. The Office intends to treat references to documents that do not meet this “bright line” test as noncompliant incorporations by reference and may require correction pursuant to 37 CFR 1.57(g). If a reference to a document does not clearly indicate an intended incorporation by reference, examination will proceed as if no incorporation by reference statement has been made and the Office will not expend resources trying to determine if an incorporation by reference was intended. In addition to other requirements for an application, the referencing application must include an identification of the referenced patent, application, or publication. See 37 CFR 1.57(b)(2). Particular attention should be directed to specific portions of the referenced document where the subject matter being incorporated may be found. Guidelines for situations where applicant is permitted to fill in a number for Application No. __________ left blank in the application as filed can be found in In re Fouche, 439 F.2d 1237, 169 USPQ 429 (CCPA 1971) (Abandoned applications less than 20 years old can be incorporated by reference to the same extent as copending applications; both types are open to the public upon the referencing application issuing as a patent. See 37 CFR 1.14(a)(i)(iv) and (vi) and MPEP § 103.

1.   Complete Disclosure Filed

If an application is filed with a complete disclosure, essential material may be canceled by amendment and may be substituted by reference to a U.S. patent or a U.S. patent application publication. The amendment must be accompanied by a statement signed by the applicant, or a practitioner representing the applicant, stating that the material canceled from the application is the same material that has been incorporated by reference and no new matter has been included (see 37 CFR 1.57(f). The same procedure is available for nonessential material.

If an application as filed incorporates material by reference, a copy of the incorporated by reference material may be required to be submitted to the Office even if the material is properly incorporated by reference. The examiner may require a copy of the incorporated material to review and to understand what is being incorporated or to put the description of the material in its proper context. Another instance where a copy of the incorporated material may be required is where the material is being inserted by amendment into the body of the application to replace an improper incorporation by reference statement so that the Office can determine that the material being added by amendment in lieu of the incorporation is the same material as was attempted to be incorporated. If the Office requires the applicant to supply a copy of the material incorporated by reference, the material must be accompanied by a statement that the copy supplied consists of the same material incorporated by reference in the referencing application. See 37 CFR 1.57(e).

2.   Improper Incorporation

37 CFR 1.57(f) addresses corrections of incorporation by reference by inserting the material previously incorporated by reference. A noncompliant incorporation by reference statement may be corrected by an amendment. 37 CFR 1.57(f). However, the amendment must not include new matter. Incorporating by reference material that was not incorporated by reference on filing of an application may introduce new matter. An incorporation by reference of essential material to an unpublished U.S. patent application, a foreign application or patent, or to a publication is improper under 37 CFR 1.57(c). The improper incorporation by reference is not effective to incorporate the material unless corrected by the applicant (37 CFR 1.57(g)). Any underlying objection or rejection (e.g., under 35 U.S.C. 112) should be made by the examiner until applicant corrects the improper incorporation by reference by submitting an amendment to amend the specification or drawings to include the material incorporated by reference. A statement that the material being inserted is the material previously incorporated by reference and that the amendment contains no new matter is also required. 37 CFR 1.57(f). See also In re Hawkins, 486 F.2d 569, 179 USPQ 157 (CCPA 1973); In re Hawkins, 486 F.2d 579, 179 USPQ 163 (CCPA 1973); In re Hawkins, 486 F.2d 577, 179 USPQ 167 (CCPA 1973). Improper incorporation by reference statements and late corrections thereof require expenditure of unnecessary examination resources and slow the prosecution process. Applicants know (or should know) whether they want material incorporated by reference, and must timely correct any incorporation by reference errors. Correction must be done within the time period set forth in 37 CFR 1.57(g).

An incorporation by reference that does not comply with 37 CFR 1.57(b), (c), or (d) is not effective to incorporate such material unless corrected within any time period set by the Office (should the noncompliant incorporation by reference be first noticed by the Office and applicant informed thereof), but in no case later than the close of prosecution as defined by 37 CFR 1.114(b) (should applicant be the first to notice the noncompliant incorporation by reference and the Office informed thereof), or abandonment of the application, whichever occurs earlier. The phrase “or abandonment of the application” is included in 37 CFR 1.57(g) to address the situations where an application is abandoned prior to the close of prosecution, e.g., the situation where an application is abandoned after a non-final Office action.

37 CFR 1.57(g)(1) authorizes the correction of noncompliant incorporation by reference statements that do not use the root of the words “incorporate” and “reference” in the incorporation by reference statement when the application as filed clearly conveys an intent to incorporate the material by reference. This correction can usually be made, for example, when an originally filed claim of an application identifies an amino acid or nucleotide sequence by database accession number. In making the determination of clear intent the examiner should consider the language used in referencing the sequence, the context in which it is disclosed, and any additional arguments or evidence presented by applicants.

37 CFR 1.57(g)(2) states that a citation of a document can be corrected where the document is sufficiently described to uniquely identify the document. Correction of a citation for a document that cannot be identified as the incorporated document may be new matter and is not authorized by 37 CFR 1.57(g)(2). An example would be where applicant intended to incorporate a particular journal article but supplied the citation information for a completely unrelated book by a different author, and there is no other information to identify the correct journal article. Since it cannot be determined from the citation originally supplied what article was intended to be incorporated, it would be improper (e.g., new matter) to replace the original incorporation by reference with the intended incorporation by reference. A citation of a patent application by attorney docket number, inventor name, filing date and title of invention may sufficiently describe the document, but even then correction should be made to specify the application number.

A petition under 37 CFR 1.183 to suspend the time period requirement set forth in 37 CFR 1.57(g) will not be appropriate. After the application has been abandoned, applicant must file a petition to revive under 37 CFR 1.137 for the purpose of correcting the incorporation by reference. After the application has issued as a patent, applicant may correct the patent by filing a reissue application. Correcting an improper incorporation by reference with a certificate of correction is not an appropriate means of correction because it may alter the scope of the claims. The scope of the claims may be altered because 37 CFR 1.57(g) provides that an incorporation by reference that does not comply with paragraph (b), (c), or (d) is not an effective incorporation. For example, an equivalent means omitted from a patent disclosure by an ineffective incorporation by reference would be outside the scope of the patented claims. Hence, a correction of an incorporation by reference pursuant to 37 CFR 1.57 may alter the scope of the claims by adding the omitted equivalent means. Changes involving the scope of the claims should be done via the reissue process. Additionally, the availability of the reissue process for corrections would make a successful showing required under 37 CFR 1.183 unlikely. The following examples show when an improper incorporation by reference is required to be corrected:

Example 1:

Upon review of the specification, the examiner noticed that the specification included an incorporation by reference statement incorporating essential material disclosed in a foreign patent. In a non-final Office action, the examiner required the applicant to amend the specification to include the essential material.

In reply to the non-final Office action, applicant must correct the improper incorporation by reference by filing an amendment to add the essential material disclosed in the foreign patent and a statement in compliance with 37 CFR 1.57(f) within the time period for reply set forth in the non-final Office action.

Example 2:

Upon review of the specification, the examiner determined that the subject matter incorporated by reference from a foreign patent was “nonessential material” and therefore, did not object to the incorporation by reference. In reply to a non-final Office action, applicant filed an amendment to the claims to add a new limitation that was supported only by the foreign patent. The amendment filed by the applicant caused the examiner to re-determine that the incorporated subject matter was “essential material” under 37 CFR 1.57(c). The examiner rejected the claims that include the new limitation under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) in a final Office action.

Since the rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) was necessitated by the applicant’s amendment, the finality of the Office action is proper. If the applicant wishes to overcome the rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) by filing an amendment under 37 CFR 1.57(f) to add the subject material disclosed in the foreign patent into the specification, applicant may file the amendment as an after final amendment in compliance with 37 CFR 1.116. Alternatively, applicant may file an RCE under 37 CFR 1.114 accompanied by the appropriate fee, and an amendment per 37 CFR 1.57(f) within the time period for reply set forth in the final Office action.

The following form paragraphs may be used:

¶ 6.19    Incorporation by Reference, Unpublished U.S. Application, Foreign Patent or Application, Publication

The incorporation of essential material in the specification by reference to an unpublished U.S. application, foreign application or patent, or to a publication is improper. Applicant is required to amend the disclosure to include the material incorporated by reference, if the material is relied upon to overcome any objection, rejection, or other requirement imposed by the Office. The amendment must be accompanied by a statement executed by the applicant, or a practitioner representing the applicant, stating that the material being inserted is the material previously incorporated by reference and that the amendment contains no new matter. 35 U.S.C. 1.57(f).

Examiner Note:

Since the material that applicant is attempting to incorporate in the specification is considered to be essential material, an appropriate objection to the specification under 35 U.S.C. 132 and/or rejection of the claim(s) under 35 U.S.C. 112, should be made. One or more of form paragraphs 7.31.01 to 7.31.04, as for example, should be used following this form paragraph.

¶ 6.19.01    Ineffective Incorporation by Reference, General

The attempt to incorporate subject matter into this application by reference to [1] is ineffective because [2].

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, identify the document such as an application or patent number or other identification.
  • 2. In bracket 2, give reason(s) why it is ineffective (e.g., the root words "incorporate" and/or "reference" have been omitted, see 37 CFR 1.57(b)(1); the reference document is not clearly identified as required by 37 CFR 1.57(b)(2)).
  • 3. This form paragraph should be followed by form paragraph 6.19.03.

¶ 6.19.03    Correction of Ineffective Incorporation by Reference

The incorporation by reference will not be effective until correction is made to comply with 37 CFR 1.57(b), (c), or (d). If the incorporated material is relied upon to meet any outstanding objection, rejection, or other requirement imposed by the Office, the correction must be made within any time period set by the Office for responding to the objection, rejection, or other requirement for the incorporation to be effective. Compliance will not be held in abeyance with respect to responding to the objection, rejection, or other requirement for the incorporation to be effective. In no case may the correction be made later than the close of prosecution as defined in 37 CFR 1.114(b), or abandonment of the application, whichever occurs earlier.

Any correction inserting material by amendment that was previously incorporated by reference must be accompanied by a statement that the material being inserted is the material incorporated by reference and the amendment contains no new matter. 37 CFR 1.57(f).

The filing date of any application wherein essential material is improperly incorporated by reference will not be affected by applicant’s correction where (A) there is a clear intent to incorporate by reference the intended material and the correction is to add the root words of “incorporate” and “reference,” (B) the incorporated document can be uniquely identified and the correction is to clarify the document’s identification, and (C) where the correction is to insert the material from the reference where incorporation is to an unpublished U.S. patent application, foreign application or patent, or to a publication.

Reliance on a commonly assigned, prior filed or concurrently filed copending application by a different inventor may ordinarily be made for the purpose of completing the disclosure provided the incorporated material is directed to nonessential material. See 37 CFR1.57(d). See In re Fried, 329 F.2d 323, 141 USPQ 27 (CCPA 1964), and General Electric Co. v. Brenner, 407 F.2d 1258, 159 USPQ 335 (D.C. Cir. 1968).

Since a disclosure must be complete as of the filing date, subsequent publications or subsequently filed applications cannot be relied on to establish a constructive reduction to practice or an enabling disclosure as of the filing date. White Consol. Indus., Inc. v. Vega Servo-Control, Inc., 713 F.2d 788, 218 USPQ 961 (Fed. Cir. 1983); In re Scarbrough, 500 F.2d 560, 182 USPQ 298 (CCPA 1974); In re Glass, 492 F.2d 1228, 181 USPQ 31 (CCPA 1974).

B.   Review of Applications Which Are Relied on To Establish an Earlier Effective Filing Date.

The limitations on the material which may be incorporated by reference in U.S. patent applications which are to issue as U.S. patents do not apply to applications relied on only to establish an earlier effective filing date under 35 U.S.C. 119 or 35 U.S.C. 120. Neither 35 U.S.C. 119(a) nor 35 U.S.C. 120 places any restrictions or limitations as to how the claimed invention must be disclosed in the earlier application to comply with 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph. Accordingly, an application is entitled to rely upon the filing date of an earlier application, even if the earlier application itself incorporates essential material by reference to another document. See Ex parte Maziere, 27 USPQ2d 1705, 1706-07 (Bd. Pat. App. & Inter. 1993).

The reason for incorporation by reference practice with respect to applications which are to issue as U.S. patents is to provide the public with a patent disclosure which minimizes the public’s burden to search for and obtain copies of documents incorporated by reference which may not be readily available. Through the Office’s incorporation by reference policy, the Office ensures that reasonably complete disclosures are published as U.S. patents. The same policy concern does not apply where the sole purpose for which an applicant relies on an earlier U.S. or foreign application is to establish an earlier filing date. Incorporation by reference in the earlier application of (1) patents or applications published by foreign countries or regional patent offices, (2) nonpatent publications, (3) a U.S. patent or application which itself incorporates “essential material” by reference, or (4) a foreign application, is not critical in the case of a “benefit” application.

When an applicant, or a patent owner in a reexamination or interference, claims the benefit of the filing date of an earlier application which incorporates material by reference, the applicant or patent owner may be required to supply copies of the material incorporated by reference. For example, an applicant may claim the benefit of the filing date of a foreign application which itself incorporates by reference another earlier filed foreign application. If necessary, due to an intervening reference, applicant should be required to supply a copy of the earlier filed foreign application, along with an English language translation. A review can then be made of the foreign application and all material incorporated by reference to determine whether the foreign application discloses the invention sought to be patented in the manner required by 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or the first paragraph of pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112 so that benefit may be accorded. In re Gosteli, 872 F.2d 1008, 10 USPQ2d 1614 (Fed. Cir. 1989).

As a safeguard against the omission of a portion of a prior application for which priority is claimed under 35 U.S.C. 119(a)-(d) or (f), or for which benefit is claimed under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) or 120, applicant may include a statement at the time of filing of the later application incorporating by reference the prior application. See MPEP §§ 201.06(c) and 211 et seq. where domestic benefit is claimed. See MPEP §§ 213- 216 where foreign priority is claimed. See MPEP § 217regarding 37 CFR 1.57(a). The inclusion of such an incorporation by reference statement in the later-filed application will permit applicant to include subject matter from the prior application into the later-filed application without the subject matter being considered as new matter. For the incorporation by reference to be effective as a proper safeguard, the incorporation by reference statement must be filed at the time of filing of the later-filed application. An incorporation by reference statement added after an application’s filing date is not effective because no new matter can be added to an application after its filing date (see 35 U.S.C. 132(a)).

II.   SIMULATED OR PREDICTED TEST RESULTS OR PROPHETIC EXAMPLES

Simulated or predicted test results and prophetical examples (paper examples) are permitted in patent applications. Working examples correspond to work actually performed and may describe tests which have actually been conducted and results that were achieved. Paper examples describe the manner and process of making an embodiment of the invention which has not actually been conducted. Paper examples should not be represented as work actually done. No results should be represented as actual results unless they have actually been achieved. Paper examples should not be described using the past tense. Hoffman-La Roche, Inc. v. Promega Corp., 323 F.3d 1354, 1367, 66 USPQ2d 1385, 1394 (Fed. Cir. 2003).

For problems arising from the designation of materials by trademarks and trade names, see MPEP § 608.01(v).

608.01(q)   Substitute or Rewritten Specification

37 C.F.R. 1.125   Substitute specification.

  • (a) If the number or nature of the amendments or the legibility of the application papers renders it difficult to consider the application, or to arrange the papers for printing or copying, the Office may require the entire specification, including the claims, or any part thereof, be rewritten.
  • (b) Subject to § 1.312, a substitute specification, excluding the claims, may be filed at any point up to payment of the issue fee if it is accompanied by a statement that the substitute specification includes no new matter.
  • (c) A substitute specification submitted under this section must be submitted with markings showing all the changes relative to the immediate prior version of the specification of record. The text of any added subject matter must be shown by underlining the added text. The text of any deleted matter must be shown by strike-through except that double brackets placed before and after the deleted characters may be used to show deletion of five or fewer consecutive characters. The text of any deleted subject matter must be shown by being placed within double brackets if strike-through cannot be easily perceived. An accompanying clean version (without markings) must also be supplied. Numbering the paragraphs of the specification of record is not considered a change that must be shown pursuant to this paragraph.
  • (d) A substitute specification under this section is not permitted in a reissue application or in a reexamination proceeding.

The specification is sometimes in such faulty English that a new specification is necessary; in such instances, a new specification should be required.

Form paragraph 6.28 may be used where the specification is in faulty English.

¶ 6.28    Idiomatic English

A substitute specification in proper idiomatic English and in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52(a) and (b) is required. The substitute specification filed must be accompanied by a statement that it contains no new matter.

37 CFR 1.125(a) applies to a substitute specification required by the Office. If the number or nature of the amendments or the legibility of the application papers renders it difficult to consider the application, or to arrange the papers for printing or copying, the Office may require the entire specification, including the claims, or any part thereof be rewritten. Note that legibility includes ability to be photocopied and scanned so that suitable reprints can be made and papers can be electronically reproduced by use of digital imaging and optical character recognition. See MPEP § 608.01.

Form paragraph 6.28.01 may be used where the examiner, for reasons other than faulty English, requires a substitute specification.

¶ 6.28.01    Substitute Specification Required by Examiner

A substitute specification [1] the claims is required pursuant to 37 CFR 1.125(a) because [2].

A substitute specification must not contain new matter. The substitute specification must be submitted with markings showing all the changes relative to the immediate prior version of the specification of record. The text of any added subject matter must be shown by underlining the added text. The text of any deleted matter must be shown by strikethrough except that double brackets placed before and after the deleted characters may be used to show deletion of five or fewer consecutive characters. The text of any deleted subject matter must be shown by being placed within double brackets if strikethrough cannot be easily perceived. An accompanying clean version (without markings) and a statement that the substitute specification contains no new matter must also be supplied. Numbering the paragraphs of the specification of record is not considered a change that must be shown.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert either --excluding-- or --including--.
  • 2. In bracket 2, insert clear and concise examples of why a new specification is required.
  • 3. A new specification is required if the number or nature of the amendments render it difficult to consider the application or to arrange the papers for printing or copying, 37 CFR 1.125.
  • 4. See also form paragraph 13.01 for partial rewritten specification.

37 CFR 1.125(b) applies to a substitute specification voluntarily filed by the applicant. Subject to the provisions of 37 CFR 1.312, a substitute specification, excluding claims, may be voluntarily filed by the applicant at any point up to the payment of the issue fee provided it is accompanied by a statement that the substitute specification includes no new matter. The Office will accept a substitute specification voluntarily filed by the applicant if the requirements of 37 CFR 1.125(b) are satisfied.

37 CFR 1.125(c) requires a substitute specification filed under 37 CFR 1.125(a) or (b) be submitted in clean form without markings. A marked-up copy of the substitute specification showing all the changes relative to the immediate prior version of the specification of record must also be submitted. The text of any added subject matter must be shown by underlining the added text. The text of any deleted matter must be shown by strike-through except that double brackets placed before and after the deleted characters may be used to show deletion of five of fewer consecutive characters. The text of any deleted subject matter must be shown by being placed within double brackets if strike-through cannot be easily perceived. Numbering the paragraphs of the specification of record is not considered a change that must be shown under 37 CFR 1.125(c). The paragraphs of any substitute specification, other than the claims, should be individually numbered in Arabic numerals (for example [0001]) so that any amendment to the specification may be made by replacement paragraph in accordance with 37 CFR 1.121(b)(1).

A substitute specification filed under 37 CFR 1.125(b) must be accompanied by a statement indicating that no new matter was included. There is no obligation on the examiner to make a detailed comparison between the old and the new specifications for determining whether or not new matter has been added. If, however, an examiner becomes aware that new matter is present, objection thereto should be made.

The filing of a substitute specification rather than amending the original application has the advantage for applicants of eliminating the need to prepare an amendment of the specification. The Office receives the advantage of saving the time needed to enter amendments in the specification and a reduction in the number of printing errors. A substitute specification is not permitted in a reissue application or in a reexamination proceeding. 37 CFR 1.125(d).

A substitute specification which complies with 37 CFR 1.125 should normally be entered. A substitute specification which is denied entry should be so marked.

Form paragraph 6.28.02 may be used to notify applicant that a substitute specification submitted under 37 CFR 1.125(b) has not been entered.

¶ 6.28.02    Substitute Specification Filed Under 37 CFR 1.125(b) and (c) Not Entered.

The substitute specification filed [1] has not been entered because it does not conform to 37 CFR 1.125(b) and (c) because: [2]

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 2, insert statement of why the substitute specification is improper, for example:

    -- the statement as to a lack of new matter under 37 CFR 1.125(b) is missing--,

    -- a marked-up copy of the substitute specification has not been supplied (in addition to the clean copy)--;

    -- a clean copy of the substitute specification has not been supplied (in addition to the marked-up copy)--; or,

    -- the substitute specification has been filed:

    - in a reissue application or in a reexamination proceeding, 37 CFR 1.125(d)-, or

    - after payment of the issue fee-, or

    - containing claims (to be amended)- --.

  • 2. A substitute specification filed after final action or appeal is governed by 37 CFR 1.116. A substitute specification filed after the mailing of a notice of allowance is governed by 37 CFR 1.312.

See MPEP § 714.20 regarding entry of amendments which include an unacceptable substitute specification.

For new matter in amendment, see MPEP § 608.04.

For application prepared for issue, see MPEP § 1302.02.

608.01(r)   Derogatory Remarks About Prior Art in Specification

The applicant may refer to the general state of the art and the advance thereover made by his or her invention, but he or she is not permitted to make derogatory remarks concerning the inventions of others. Derogatory remarks are statements disparaging the products or processes of any particular person other than the applicant, or statements as to the merits or validity of applications or patents of another person. Mere comparisons with the prior art are not considered to be disparaging, per se.

608.01(s)   Restoration of Canceled Matter

Canceled text in the specification can be reinstated only by a subsequent amendment presenting the previously canceled matter as a new insertion. 37 CFR 1.121(b)(4). A claim canceled by amendment (deleted in its entirety) may be reinstated only by a subsequent amendment presenting the claim as a new claim with a new claim number. 37 CFR 1.121(c)(5). See MPEP § 714 .

608.01(t)   Use in Subsequent Application

A reservation for a future application of subject matter disclosed but not claimed in a pending application will not be permitted in the pending application. 37 CFR 1.79; MPEP § 608.01(e).

No part of a specification can normally be transferred to another application. Similarly, drawings cannot normally be transferred to another application See MPEP § 608.02(i).

608.01(u)   [Reserved]

608.01(v)   Trademarks and Trade Names

The expressions “trademarks” and “trade names” as used below have the following meanings:

Trademark: a word, letter, symbol, or device adopted by one manufacturer or merchant and used to identify and distinguish his or her product from those of others. It is a proprietary word, letter, symbol, or device pointing distinctly to the product of one producer.

Trade Names: a nonproprietary name by which an article or product is known and called among traders or workers in the art, although it may not be so known by the public, generally. Trade names do not point to the product of one producer, but they identify a single article or product irrespective of producer.

I.   PERMISSIBLE USE IN PATENT APPLICATIONS

A trademark or trade name may be used in a patent application to identify an article or product if:

  • (A) its meaning is established by an accompanying definition in the specification which is sufficiently descriptive, enabling, precise and definite such that a claim including the trademark or trade name complies with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112, or
  • (B) its meaning is well-known to one skilled in the relevant art and is satisfactorily defined in the literature.

See, e.g., United States Gypsum Co. v. National Gypsum Co., 74 F3d 1209, ____ n.6, 37 USPQ2d 1388, 1392 n. 6 (Fed. Cir. 1996). Condition (A) or (B) must be met at the time of filing of the complete application.

The relationship between a trademark or trade name and the product it identifies is sometimes indefinite, uncertain, and arbitrary. The formula or characteristics of the product may change from time to time and yet it may continue to be sold under the same trademark or trade name In patent specifications, every element or ingredient of the product should be set forth in positive, exact, intelligible language, so that there will be no uncertainty as to what is meant. Arbitrary trademarks which are liable to mean different things at the pleasure of manufacturers do not constitute such language. Ex Parte Kattwinkle, 12 USPQ 11 (Bd. App. 1931).

If the product to which a trademark refers is set forth in such language that its identity is clear, examiners are authorized to permit the use of the trademark if it is distinguished from common descriptive nouns by capitalization. See subsection II, below. If a trademark or trade name has a fixed and definite meaning, it constitutes sufficient identification unless some physical or chemical characteristic of the article or material is involved in the invention such that further description is necessary to comply with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112. In that event, as also in those cases where the trademark or trade name has no fixed and definite meaning, identification by scientific or other explanatory language is necessary. See, e.g., United States Gypsum Co. v. National Gypsum Co., 74 F3d 1209, ____ n.6, 37 USPQ2d 1388, 1392 n. 6 (Fed. Cir. 1996); In re Gebauer-Fuelnegg, 121 F.2d 505, 50 USPQ 125 (CCPA 1941).

The matter of sufficiency of disclosure must be decided on an individual case-by-case basis. In re Metcalfe, 410 F.2d 1378, 161 USPQ 789 (CCPA 1969).

Where the identification of a trademark or trade name is introduced by amendment, it must be restricted to the characteristics of the product known at the time the application was filed to avoid any question of new matter.

If proper identification of the product sold under a trademark, or a product referred to only by a trade name, is omitted from the specification and such identification is deemed necessary under the principles set forth above, the examiner should hold the disclosure insufficient and reject on the ground of insufficient disclosure any claims based on the identification of the product merely by trademark or trade name. If the product cannot be otherwise defined, an amendment defining the process of its manufacture may be permitted unless such amendment would result in the introduction of new matter. Such amendments must be supported by satisfactory showings establishing that the specific nature or process of manufacture of the product as set forth in the amendment was known at the time of filing of the application.

II.   PROPRIETARY NATURE OF TRADEMARKS

Although the use of trademarks having definite meanings is permissible in patent applications, the proprietary nature of the marks should be respected. Trademarks should be identified by capitalizing each letter of the mark (in the case of word or letter marks) or otherwise indicating the description of the mark (in the case of marks in the form of a symbol or device or other nontextual form). Every effort should be made to prevent their use in any manner which might adversely affect their validity as trademarks.

Examiners may conduct a trademark search by using the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) which is available on the USPTO Web site to determine whether an apparent or identified trademark in the patent application is a registered trademark or to what particular goods a registered trademark applies.

Form paragraph 6.20 may be used to inform applicant of the proprietary nature of trademarks.

¶ 6.20    Trademarks and Their Use

The use of the trademark [1] has been noted in this application. It should be capitalized wherever it appears and be accompanied by the generic terminology.

Although the use of trademarks is permissible in patent applications, the proprietary nature of the marks should be respected and every effort made to prevent their use in any manner which might adversely affect their validity as trademarks.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. Capitalize each letter of the word in the bracket or include a proper trademark symbol, such as ™ or ® following the word.
  • 2. Examiners may conduct a trademark search by using the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) which is available on the USPTO website to determine whether a trademark identified in the patent application is a registered trademark or not.

The examiner should not permit the use of language such as “the product X (a descriptive name) commonly known as Y (trademark)” since such language does not bring out the fact that the latter is a trademark. Language such as “the product X (a descriptive name) sold under the trademark Y” is permissible.

The use of a trademark in the title of an application should be avoided as well as the use of a trademark coupled with the word “type”, e.g., “Band-Aid type bandage.”

In the event that the proprietary trademark is a “symbol or device” depicted in a drawing, either the brief description of the drawing or the detailed description of the drawing should specify that the “symbol or device” is a registered trademark of Company X. The owner of a trademark may be identified in the specification.

Technology Center Directors should reply to all trademark misuse complaint letters and forward a copy to the Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy. Where a letter demonstrates a trademark misuse in a patent application publication, the Office should, where the application is still pending, ensure that the trademark is replaced by appropriate generic terminology.

608.01(w)   Copyright and Mask Work Notices

37 C.F.R. 1.71   Detailed description and specification of the invention

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  • (d) A copyright or mask work notice may be placed in a design or utility patent application adjacent to copyright and mask work material contained therein. The notice may appear at any appropriate portion of the patent application disclosure. For notices in drawings, see § 1.84(s). The content of the notice must be limited to only those elements provided for by law. For example, “©1983 John Doe” (17 U.S.C. 401) and “*M* John Doe” (17 U.S.C. 909) would be properly limited and, under current statutes, legally sufficient notices of copyright and mask work, respectively. Inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice will be permitted only if the authorization language set forth in paragraph (e) of this section is included at the beginning (preferably as the first paragraph) of the specification.
  • (e) The authorization shall read as follows:

    A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to (copyright or mask work) protection. The (copyright or mask work) owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all (copyright or mask work) rights whatsoever.

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37 C.F.R. 1.84   Standards for drawings

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  • (s) Copyright or Mask Work Notice. A copyright or mask work notice may appear in the drawing, but must be placed within the sight of the drawing immediately below the figure representing the copyright or mask work material and be limited to letters having a print size of .32 cm. to .64 cm. (1/8 to 1/4 inches) high. The content of the notice must be limited to only those elements provided for by law. For example, “ ©1983 John Doe” (17 U.S.C. 401) and “*M* John Doe” (17 U.S.C. 909) would be properly limited and, under current statutes, legally sufficient notices of copyright and mask work, respectively. Inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice will be permitted only if the authorization language set forth in § 1.71(e) is included at the beginning (preferably as the first paragraph) of the specification.

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will permit the inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice in a design or utility patent application, and thereby any patent issuing therefrom, which discloses material on which copyright or mask work protection has previously been established, under the following conditions:

  • (A) The copyright or mask work notice must be placed adjacent to the copyright or mask work material. Therefore, the notice may appear at any appropriate portion of the patent application disclosure, including the drawing. However, if appearing in the drawing, the notice must comply with 37 CFR 1.84(s). If placed on a drawing in conformance with these provisions, the notice will not be objected to as extraneous matter under 37 CFR 1.84.
  • (B) The content of the notice must be limited to only those elements required by law. For example, “©1983 John Doe”(17 U.S.C. 401) and “*M* John Doe” (17 U.S.C. 909) would be properly limited, and under current statutes, legally sufficient notices of copyright and mask work respectively.
  • (C) Inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice will be permitted only if the following authorization in 37 CFR 1.71(e) is included at the beginning (preferably as the first paragraph) of the specification to be printed for the patent:

    A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material which is subject to (copyright or mask work) protection. The (copyright or mask work) owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all (copyright or mask work) rights whatsoever.

  • (D) Inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice after a Notice of Allowance has been mailed will be permitted only if the criteria of 37 CFR 1.312 have been satisfied.

The inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice in a design or utility patent application, and thereby any patent issuing therefrom, under the conditions set forth above will serve to protect the rights of the author/inventor, as well as the public, and will serve to promote the mission and goals of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Therefore, the inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice which complies with these conditions will be permitted. However, any departure from these conditions may result in a refusal to permit the desired inclusion. If the authorization required under condition (C) above does not include the specific language “(t)he (copyright or mask work) owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records,...” the notice will be objected to as improper by the examiner of the application. If the examiner maintains the objection upon reconsideration, a petition may be filed in accordance with 37 CFR 1.181.

608.02   Drawing [R-11.2013]

35 U.S.C. 113   Drawings.

The applicant shall furnish a drawing where necessary for the understanding of the subject matter to be patented. When the nature of such subject matter admits of illustration by a drawing and the applicant has not furnished such a drawing, the Commissioner may require its submission within a time period of not less than two months from the sending of a notice thereof. Drawings submitted after the filing date of the application may not be used (i) to overcome any insufficiency of the specification due to lack of an enabling disclosure or otherwise inadequate disclosure therein, or (ii) to supplement the original disclosure thereof for the purpose of interpretation of the scope of any claim.

37 C.F.R. 1.81   Drawings required in patent application.

  • (a) The applicant for a patent is required to furnish a drawing of the invention where necessary for the understanding of the subject matter sought to be patented; this drawing, or a high quality copy thereof, must be filed with the application. Since corrections are the responsibility of the applicant, the original drawing(s) should be retained by the applicant for any necessary future correction.
  • (b) Drawings may include illustrations which facilitate an understanding of the invention (for example, flow sheets in cases of processes, and diagrammatic views).
  • (c) Whenever the nature of the subject matter sought to be patented admits of illustration by a drawing without its being necessary for the understanding of the subject matter and the applicant has not furnished such a drawing, the examiner will require its submission within a time period of not less than two months from the date of the sending of a notice thereof.
  • (d) Drawings submitted after the filing date of the application may not be used to overcome any insufficiency of the specification due to lack of an enabling disclosure or otherwise inadequate disclosure therein, or to supplement the original disclosure thereof for the purpose of interpretation of the scope of any claim.

I.   DRAWING REQUIREMENTS

The first sentence of 35 U.S.C 113 requires a drawing to be submitted upon filing where such drawing is necessary for the understanding of the invention. In this situation, the lack of a drawing renders the application incomplete and, as such, the application cannot be given a filing date until the drawing is received. The second sentence of 35 U.S.C. 113 addresses the situation wherein a drawing is not necessary for the understanding of the invention, but the subject matter sought to be patented admits of illustration and no drawing was submitted on filing. The lack of a drawing in this situation does not render the application incomplete but rather is treated as an informality. The examiner should require such drawings in almost all such instances. Such drawings could be required during the initial processing of the application but do not have to be furnished at the time the application is filed. The applicant is given at least 2 months from the date of the letter requiring drawings to submit the drawing(s).

If the specification includes a sequence listing or a table, such a sequence listing or table is not permitted to be reprinted in the drawings. 37 CFR 1.83(a) and 1.58(a). If a sequence listing as shown in the drawings has more information than is otherwise contained in the specification, the sequence listing could be included in the specification and the drawings. Applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 371 are excluded from the prohibition from having the same tables and sequence listings in both the description portion of the specification and drawings.

II.   RECEIPT OF DRAWING AFTER THE FILING DATE

If the examiner discovers new matter in a substitute or additional drawing, the drawing should not be entered. The drawing should be objected to as containing new matter. A new drawing without such new matter may be required if the examiner determines that a drawing is needed under 37 CFR 1.81 or 37 CFR 1.83. The examiner’s decision would be reviewable by filing a petition under 37 CFR 1.181. The Technology Center (TC) Director would decide such a petition.

III.   HANDLING OF DRAWING REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE FIRST SENTENCE OF 35 U.S.C 113

The Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP) will make the initial decision in all new applications as to whether a drawing is “necessary” under the first sentence of 35 U.S.C. 113. A drawing will be considered necessary under the first sentence of 35 U.S.C. 113 in all applications where the drawing is referred to in the specification and one or more figures have been omitted.

The determination under 35 U.S.C. 113 (first sentence) as to when a drawing is necessary will be handled in OPAP in accordance with the following procedure. OPAP will make the initial determination as to whether drawings are required for the understanding of the subject matter of the invention. When no drawings are included in the application as filed and drawings are required, the application is treated as incomplete and the applicant is so informed by OPAP. A filing date will not be granted and applicant will be notified to complete the application (37 CFR 1.53(e)). If a drawing is later furnished, a filing date may be granted as of the date of receipt of such drawing.

An OPAP formality examiner should not treat an application without drawings as incomplete if drawings are not required. A drawing is not required for a filing date under 35 U.S.C. 111 and 113 if the application contains:

  • (A) at least one process claim including the term “process” or “method” in its introductory phrase;
  • (B) at least one composition claim including the term “composition,” “compound,” “mixture” or “pharmaceutical” in its introductory phrase;
  • (C) at least one claim directed to a coated article or product or to an article or product made from a particular material or composition (i.e., an article of known and conventional character (e.g., a table), coated with or made of a particular composition (e.g., a specified polymer such as polyvinyl-chloride));
  • (D) at least one claim directed to a laminated article or product (i.e., a laminated article of known and conventional character (e.g., a table)); or
  • (E) at least one claim directed to an article, apparatus, or system where the sole distinguishing feature is the presence of a particular material (e.g., a hydraulic system using a particular hydraulic fluid, or a conventional packaged suture using a particular material).

For a more complete explanation about when a drawing is required, see MPEP § 601.01(f). For applications submitted without all of the drawings described in the specification, see MPEP § 601.01(g).

If an examiner determines that a filing date should not have been granted in an application because it does not contain drawings, the matter should be brought to the attention of the supervisory patent examiner (SPE) for review. If the SPE decides that drawings are required to understand the subject matter of the invention, the SPE should return the application to OPAP with a typed, signed, and dated memorandum requesting cancellation of the filing date and identifying the subject matter required to be illustrated.

IV.   HANDLING OF DRAWING REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE SECOND SENTENCE OF 35 U.S.C 113 - ILLUSTRATION SUBSEQUENTLY REQUIRED

35 U.S.C.113 addresses the situation wherein a drawing is not necessary for the understanding of the invention, but the subject matter sought to be patented admits of illustration by a drawing and the applicant has not furnished a drawing. The lack of a drawing in this situation does not render the application incomplete but rather is treated as an informality. A filing date will be accorded with the original presentation of the papers, despite the absence of drawings. The acceptance of an application without a drawing does not preclude the examiner from requiring an illustration in the form of a drawing under 37 CFR 1.81(c) or 37 CFR 1.83(c). In requiring such a drawing, the examiner should clearly indicate that the requirement is made under 37 CFR 1.81(c) or 37 CFR 1.83(a) and be careful not to state that he or she is doing so “because it is necessary for the understanding of the invention,” as that might give rise to an erroneous impression as to the completeness of the application as filed. Examiners making such requirements are to specifically require, as a part of the applicant’s next reply, at least an ink sketch or permanent print of any drawing in reply to the requirement, even though no allowable subject matter is yet indicated. This will afford the examiner an early opportunity to determine the sufficiency of the illustration and the absence of new matter. See 37 CFR 1.121 and 37 CFR 1.81(d). One of the following form paragraphs may be used to require a drawing:

¶ 6.23    Subject Matter Admits of Illustration

The subject matter of this application admits of illustration by a drawing to facilitate understanding of the invention. Applicant is required to furnish a drawing under 37 CFR 1.81(c). No new matter may be introduced in the required drawing. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be labeled in the top margin as either "Replacement Sheet" or "New Sheet" pursuant to 37 CFR 1.121(d).

Examiner Note:

When requiring drawings before examination use form paragraph 6.23.01 with a PTOL-90 or PTO-90C form as a cover sheet.

¶ 6.23.01    Subject Matter Admits of Illustration (No Examination of Claims)

The subject matter of this application admits of illustration by a drawing to facilitate understanding of the invention. Applicant is required to furnish a drawing under 37 CFR 1.81. No new matter may be introduced in the required drawing.

Applicant is given a TWO MONTH time period to submit a drawing in compliance with 37 CFR 1.81. Extensions of time may be obtained under the provisions of 37 CFR 1.136(a). Failure to timely submit a drawing will result in ABANDONMENT of the application.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. Use of this form paragraph should be extremely rare and limited to those instances where no examination can be performed due to lack of an illustration of the invention resulting in a lack of understanding of the claimed subject matter.
  • 2. Use a PTOL-90 or PTO-90C form as a cover sheet for this communication.

Applicant should also amend the specification accordingly to reference to the new illustration at the time of submission of the drawing(s). This may obviate further correspondence where an amendment places the application in condition for allowance.

V.   DRAWING STANDARDS

37 C.F.R. 1.84   Standards for drawings.

  • (a) Drawings. There are two acceptable categories for presenting drawings in utility and design patent applications.
    • (1) Black ink. Black and white drawings are normally required. India ink, or its equivalent that secures solid black lines, must be used for drawings; or
    • (2) Color. On rare occasions, color drawings may be necessary as the only practical medium by which to disclose the subject matter sought to be patented in a utility or design patent application The color drawings must be of sufficient quality such that all details in the drawings are reproducible in black and white in the printed patent. Color drawings are not permitted in international applications (see PCT Rule 11.13), or in an application, or copy thereof, submitted under the Office electronic filing system. . The Office will accept color drawings in utility or design patent applications only after granting a petition filed under this paragraph explaining why the color drawings are necessary. Any such petition must include the following:
      • (i) The fee set forth in § 1.17(h);
      • (ii) Three (3) sets of color drawings;
      • (iii) An amendment to the specification to insert (unless the specification contains or has been previously amended to contain) the following language as the first paragraph of the brief description of the drawings:

        The patent or application file contains at least one drawing executed in color. Copies of this patent or patent application publication with color drawing(s) will be provided by the Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee.

  • (b) Photographs.—
    • (1) Black and white. Photographs, including photocopies of photographs, are not ordinarily permitted in utility and design patent applications. The Office will accept photographs in utility and design patent applications, however, if photographs are the only practicable medium for illustrating the claimed invention. For example, photographs or photomicrographs of: electrophoresis gels, blots (e.g., immunological, western, Southern, and northern), auto- radiographs, cell cultures (stained and unstained), histological tissue cross sections (stained and unstained), animals, plants, in vivo imaging, thin layer chromatography plates, crystalline structures, and, in a design patent application, ornamental effects, are acceptable. If the subject matter of the application admits of illustration by a drawing, the examiner may require a drawing in place of the photograph. The photographs must be of sufficient quality so that all details in the photographs are reproducible in the printed patent.
    • (2) Color photographs. Color photographs will be accepted in utility and design patent applications if the conditions for accepting color drawings and black and white photographs have been satisfied. See paragraphs (a)(2) and (b)(1) of this section.
  • (c) Identification of drawings. Identifying indicia should be provided, and if provided, should include the title of the invention, inventor’s name, and application number, or docket number (if any) if an application number has not been assigned to the application. If this information is provided, it must be placed on the front of each sheet within the top margin. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be identified as either “Replacement Sheet” or “New Sheet” pursuant to § 1.121(d). If a marked-up copy of any amended drawing figure including annotations indicating the changes made is filed, such marked-up copy must be clearly labeled as “Annotated Sheet” pursuant to § 1.121(d)(1).
  • (d) Graphic forms in drawings. Chemical or mathematical formulae, tables, and waveforms may be submitted as drawings and are subject to the same requirements as drawings. Each chemical or mathematical formula must be labeled as a separate figure, using brackets when necessary, to show that information is properly integrated. Each group of waveforms must be presented as a single figure, using a common vertical axis with time extending along the horizontal axis. Each individual waveform discussed in the specification must be identified with a separate letter designation adjacent to the vertical axis.
  • (e) Type of paper. Drawings submitted to the Office must be made on paper which is flexible, strong, white, smooth, non-shiny, and durable. All sheets must be reasonably free from cracks, creases, and folds. Only one side of the sheet may be used for the drawing. Each sheet must be reasonably free from erasures and must be free from alterations, overwritings, and interlineations. Photographs must be developed on paper meeting the sheet-size requirements of paragraph (f) of this section and the margin requirements of paragraph (g) of this section. See paragraph (b) of this section for other requirements for photographs.
  • (f) Size of paper. All drawing sheets in an application must be the same size. One of the shorter sides of the sheet is regarded as its top. The size of the sheets on which drawings are made must be:
    • (1) 21.0 cm. by 29.7 cm. (DIN size A4), or
    • (2) 21.6 cm. by 27.9 cm. (8 1/2 by 11 inches).
  • (g) Margins. The sheets must not contain frames around the sight (i.e., the usable surface), but should have scan target points (i.e., cross-hairs) printed on two cater-corner margin corners. Each sheet must include a top margin of at least 2.5 cm. (1 inch), a left side margin of at least 2.5 cm. (1 inch), a right side margin of at least 1.5 cm. (5/8 inch), and a bottom margin of at least 1.0 cm. (3/8 inch), thereby leaving a sight no greater than 17.0 cm. by 26.2 cm. on 21.0 cm. by 29.7 cm. (DIN size A4) drawing sheets, and a sight no greater than 17.6 cm. by 24.4 cm. (6 15/16 by 9 5/8 inches) on 21.6 cm. by 27.9 cm. (8 1/2 by 11 inch) drawing sheets.
  • (h) Views. The drawing must contain as many views as necessary to show the invention. The views may be plan, elevation, section, or perspective views. Detail views of portions of elements, on a larger scale if necessary, may also be used. All views of the drawing must be grouped together and arranged on the sheet(s) without wasting space, preferably in an upright position, clearly separated from one another, and must not be included in the sheets containing the specifications, claims, or abstract. Views must not be connected by projection lines and must not contain center lines. Waveforms of electrical signals may be connected by dashed lines to show the relative timing of the waveforms.
    • (1) Exploded views. Exploded views, with the separated parts embraced by a bracket, to show the relationship or order of assembly of various parts are permissible. When an exploded view is shown in a figure which is on the same sheet as another figure, the exploded view should be placed in brackets.
    • (2) Partial views. When necessary, a view of a large machine or device in its entirety may be broken into partial views on a single sheet, or extended over several sheets if there is no loss in facility of understanding the view. Partial views drawn on separate sheets must always be capable of being linked edge to edge so that no partial view contains parts of another partial view. A smaller scale view should be included showing the whole formed by the partial views and indicating the positions of the parts shown. When a portion of a view is enlarged for magnification purposes, the view and the enlarged view must each be labeled as separate views.
      • (i) Where views on two or more sheets form, in effect, a single complete view, the views on the several sheets must be so arranged that the complete figure can be assembled without concealing any part of any of the views appearing on the various sheets.
      • (ii) A very long view may be divided into several parts placed one above the other on a single sheet. However, the relationship between the different parts must be clear and unambiguous.
    • (3) Sectional views. The plane upon which a sectional view is taken should be indicated on the view from which the section is cut by a broken line. The ends of the broken line should be designated by Arabic or Roman numerals corresponding to the view number of the sectional view, and should have arrows to indicate the direction of sight. Hatching must be used to indicate section portions of an object, and must be made by regularly spaced oblique parallel lines spaced sufficiently apart to enable the lines to be distinguished without difficulty. Hatching should not impede the clear reading of the reference characters and lead lines. If it is not possible to place reference characters outside the hatched area, the hatching may be broken off wherever reference characters are inserted. Hatching must be at a substantial angle to the surrounding axes or principal lines, preferably 45°. A cross section must be set out and drawn to show all of the materials as they are shown in the view from which the cross section was taken. The parts in cross section must show proper material(s) by hatching with regularly spaced parallel oblique strokes, the space between strokes being chosen on the basis of the total area to be hatched. The various parts of a cross section of the same item should be hatched in the same manner and should accurately and graphically indicate the nature of the material(s) that is illustrated in cross section. The hatching of juxtaposed different elements must be angled in a different way. In the case of large areas, hatching may be confined to an edging drawn around the entire inside of the outline of the area to be hatched. Different types of hatching should have different conventional meanings as regards the nature of a material seen in cross section.
    • (4) Alternate position. A moved position may be shown by a broken line superimposed upon a suitable view if this can be done without crowding; otherwise, a separate view must be used for this purpose.
    • (5) Modified forms. Modified forms of construction must be shown in separate views.
  • (i) Arrangement of views. One view must not be placed upon another or within the outline of another. All views on the same sheet should stand in the same direction and, if possible, stand so that they can be read with the sheet held in an upright position. If views wider than the width of the sheet are necessary for the clearest illustration of the invention, the sheet may be turned on its side so that the top of the sheet, with the appropriate top margin to be used as the heading space, is on the right-hand side. Words must appear in a horizontal, left-to-right fashion when the page is either upright or turned so that the top becomes the right side, except for graphs utilizing standard scientific convention to denote the axis of abscissas (of X) and the axis of ordinates (of Y).
  • (j) Front page view. The drawing must contain as many views as necessary to show the invention. One of the views should be suitable for inclusion on the front page of the patent application publication and patent as the illustration of the invention. Views must not be connected by projection lines and must not contain center lines. Applicant may suggest a single view (by figure number) for inclusion on the front page of the patent application publication and patent.
  • (k) Scale. The scale to which a drawing is made must be large enough to show the mechanism without crowding when the drawing is reduced in size to two-thirds in reproduction. Indications such as “actual size” or “scale 1/2” on the drawings are not permitted since these lose their meaning with reproduction in a different format.
  • (l) Character of lines, numbers, and letters. All drawings must be made by a process which will give them satisfactory reproduction characteristics. Every line, number, and letter must be durable, clean, black (except for color drawings), sufficiently dense and dark, and uniformly thick and well-defined. The weight of all lines and letters must be heavy enough to permit adequate reproduction. This requirement applies to all lines however fine, to shading, and to lines representing cut surfaces in sectional views. Lines and strokes of different thicknesses may be used in the same drawing where different thicknesses have a different meaning.
  • (m) Shading. The use of shading in views is encouraged if it aids in understanding the invention and if it does not reduce legibility. Shading is used to indicate the surface or shape of spherical, cylindrical, and conical elements of an object. Flat parts may also be lightly shaded. Such shading is preferred in the case of parts shown in perspective, but not for cross sections. See paragraph (h)(3) of this section. Spaced lines for shading are preferred. These lines must be thin, as few in number as practicable, and they must contrast with the rest of the drawings. As a substitute for shading, heavy lines on the shade side of objects can be used except where they superimpose on each other or obscure reference characters. Light should come from the upper left corner at an angle of 45°. Surface delineations should preferably be shown by proper shading. Solid black shading areas are not permitted, except when used to represent bar graphs or color.
  • (n) Symbols. Graphical drawing symbols may be used for conventional elements when appropriate. The elements for which such symbols and labeled representations are used must be adequately identified in the specification. Known devices should be illustrated by symbols which have a universally recognized conventional meaning and are generally accepted in the art. Other symbols which are not universally recognized may be used, subject to approval by the Office, if they are not likely to be confused with existing conventional symbols, and if they are readily identifiable.
  • (o) Legends. Suitable descriptive legends may be used subject to approval by the Office, or may be required by the examiner where necessary for understanding of the drawing. They should contain as few words as possible.
  • (p) Numbers, letters, and reference characters.
    • (1) Reference characters (numerals are preferred), sheet numbers, and view numbers must be plain and legible, and must not be used in association with brackets or inverted commas, or enclosed within outlines, e.g., encircled. They must be oriented in the same direction as the view so as to avoid having to rotate the sheet. Reference characters should be arranged to follow the profile of the object depicted.
    • (2) The English alphabet must be used for letters, except where another alphabet is customarily used, such as the Greek alphabet to indicate angles, wavelengths, and mathematical formulas.
    • (3) Numbers, letters, and reference characters must measure at least .32 cm. (1/8 inch) in height. They should not be placed in the drawing so as to interfere with its comprehension. Therefore, they should not cross or mingle with the lines. They should not be placed upon hatched or shaded surfaces. When necessary, such as indicating a surface or cross section, a reference character may be underlined and a blank space may be left in the hatching or shading where the character occurs so that it appears distinct.
    • (4) The same part of an invention appearing in more than one view of the drawing must always be designated by the same reference character, and the same reference character must never be used to designate different parts.
    • (5) Reference characters not mentioned in the description shall not appear in the drawings. Reference characters mentioned in the description must appear in the drawings.
  • (q) Lead lines. Lead lines are those lines between the reference characters and the details referred to. Such lines may be straight or curved and should be as short as possible. They must originate in the immediate proximity of the reference character and extend to the feature indicated. Lead lines must not cross each other. Lead lines are required for each reference character except for those which indicate the surface or cross section on which they are placed. Such a reference character must be underlined to make it clear that a lead line has not been left out by mistake. Lead lines must be executed in the same way as lines in the drawing. See paragraph (l) of this section.
  • (r) Arrows. Arrows may be used at the ends of lines, provided that their meaning is clear, as follows:
    • (1) On a lead line, a freestanding arrow to indicate the entire section towards which it points;
    • (2) On a lead line, an arrow touching a line to indicate the surface shown by the line looking along the direction of the arrow; or
    • (3) To show the direction of movement.
  • (s) Copyright or Mask Work Notice. A copyright or mask work notice may appear in the drawing, but must be placed within the sight of the drawing immediately below the figure representing the copyright or mask work material and be limited to letters having a print size of .32 cm. to .64 cm. (1/8 to 1/4 inches) high. The content of the notice must be limited to only those elements provided for by law. For example, “©1983 John Doe” (17 U.S.C. 401) and “*M* John Doe” (17 U.S.C. 909) would be properly limited and, under current statutes, legally sufficient notices of copyright and mask work, respectively. Inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice will be permitted only if the authorization language set forth in § 1.71(e) is included at the beginning (preferably as the first paragraph) of the specification.
  • (t) Numbering of sheets of drawings. The sheets of drawings should be numbered in consecutive Arabic numerals, starting with 1, within the sight as defined in paragraph (g) of this section. These numbers, if present, must be placed in the middle of the top of the sheet, but not in the margin. The numbers can be placed on the right-hand side if the drawing extends too close to the middle of the top edge of the usable surface. The drawing sheet numbering must be clear and larger than the numbers used as reference characters to avoid confusion. The number of each sheet should be shown by two Arabic numerals placed on either side of an oblique line, with the first being the sheet number and the second being the total number of sheets of drawings, with no other marking.
  • (u) Numbering of views.
    • (1) The different views must be numbered in consecutive Arabic numerals, starting with 1, independent of the numbering of the sheets and, if possible, in the order in which they appear on the drawing sheet(s). Partial views intended to form one complete view, on one or several sheets, must be identified by the same number followed by a capital letter. View numbers must be preceded by the abbreviation “FIG.” Where only a single view is used in an application to illustrate the claimed invention, it must not be numbered and the abbreviation “FIG.” must not appear.
    • (2) Numbers and letters identifying the views must be simple and clear and must not be used in association with brackets, circles, or inverted commas. The view numbers must be larger than the numbers used for reference characters.
  • (v) Security markings. Authorized security markings may be placed on the drawings provided they are outside the sight, preferably centered in the top margin.
  • (w) Corrections. Any corrections on drawings submitted to the Office must be durable and permanent.
  • (x) Holes. No holes should be made by applicant in the drawing sheets.
  • (y) Types of drawings. See § 1.152 for design drawings, § 1.165 for plant drawings, and § 1.173(a)(2) for reissue drawings.

Drawings on paper are acceptable as long as they are in compliance with 37 CFR 1.84. Corrections thereto must be made in the form of replacement sheets labeled, in the header, “Replacement Sheet” since the Office does not release drawings for correction. See 37 CFR 1.85.

Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be identified as either “Replacement Sheet” or “New Sheet” so that the Office will recognize how to treat such a drawing sheet for entry into the application. See 37 CFR 1.84(c). If a marked-up copy of any amended drawing figure, including annotations indicating the changes made, is filed, such marked-up copy must be clearly labeled as “Annotated Sheet.”

Good quality copies made on office copiers are acceptable if the lines are uniformly thick, black, and solid. Facsimile copies of drawings are acceptable if included with application papers mailed or hand-carried to the Office. Black and white drawings are permitted to be transmitted by facsimile if the drawings are being submitted after the filing date of the application and thus are not being filed for the purpose of obtaining an application filing date.Applicants should ensure that the facsimile transmission process does not unreasonably degrade the quality of the drawings. Color drawings are not permitted to be transmitted by facsimile. See 37 CFR 1.6(d)(4).

Drawings are currently accepted in two different size formats. It is, however, required that all drawing sheets in a particular application be the same size for ease of handling and reproduction.

For information regarding certified copies of an application-as-filed which does not meet the sheet size/margin and quality requirements of 37 CFR 1.52, 1.84(f), and 1.84(g), see MPEP § 608.01, subsection III.

For design patent drawings, 37 CFR 1.152, see MPEP § 1503.02.

For plant patent drawings, 37 CFR 1.165, see MPEP § 1606.

For reissue application drawings, see MPEP § 1413.

For correction of drawings, see MPEP § 608.02(p). For return of drawings, see MPEP § 608.02(y).

For amendment of drawings, 37 CFR 1.121(d), see MPEP § 714.

The filing of a divisional or continuation application under the provisions of 37 CFR 1.53(b) does not obviate the need for acceptable drawings. See MPEP § 608.02(b).

See MPEP § 601.01(f) for treatment of applications filed without drawings and MPEP § 601.01(g) for treatment of applications filed without all figures of drawings.

VI.   DEFINITIONS

A number of different terms are used when referring to drawings in patent applications. The following definitions are used in this Manual.

Original drawings: The drawing submitted with the application when filed.

Substitute drawing: A drawing filed later than the filing date of an application. Usually submitted to replace an original drawing that was not acceptable.

Acceptable drawing: A drawing that is acceptable for publication of the application or issuance of the patent.

Corrected drawing: A drawing that includes corrections of informalities and changes approved by the examiner.

Unacceptable drawing: The Office no longer considers drawings as formal or informal; drawings are either acceptable or not acceptable. Drawings that do not comply with all of the form requirements of 37 CFR 1.84, e.g., because they are not on the proper size sheets, or the quality of the lines is poor, may be acceptable for the purposes of publication and examination if the drawings are readable and reproducible for publication purposes. An objection will generally only be made to a drawing that does not comply with the form requirements of 37 CFR 1.84 if the Office is unable to reproduce the drawing or the contents of the drawing are unacceptable to the examiner.

Plan: This term is used to illustrate the top view.

Elevation:This term is used to illustrate views showing the height of objects.

VII.   BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHS

37 C.F.R. 1.84   Standards for drawings.

*****

  • (b) Photographs.—
    • (1) Black and white. Photographs, including photocopies of photographs, are not ordinarily permitted in utility and design patent applications. The Office will accept photographs in utility and design patent applications, however, if photographs are the only practicable medium for illustrating the claimed invention. For example, photographs or photomicrographs of: electrophoresis gels, blots (e.g., immunological, western, Southern, and northern), auto- radiographs, cell cultures (stained and unstained), histological tissue cross sections (stained and unstained), animals, plants, in vivo imaging, thin layer chromatography plates, crystalline structures, and, in a design patent application, ornamental effects, are acceptable. If the subject matter of the application admits of illustration by a drawing, the examiner may require a drawing in place of the photograph. The photographs must be of sufficient quality so that all details in the photographs are reproducible in the printed patent.

*****

Photographs or photomicrographs (not photolithographs or other reproductions of photographs made by using screens) printed on sensitized paper are acceptable as final drawings, in lieu of India ink drawings, to illustrate inventions which are incapable of being accurately or adequately depicted by India ink drawings, e.g., electrophoresis gels, blots, (e.g., immunological, western, Southern, and northern), autoradiographs, cell cultures (stained and unstained), histological tissue cross sections (stained and unstained), animals, plants, in vivo imaging, thin layer chromatography plates, crystalline structures, metallurgical microstructures, textile fabrics, grain structures and ornamental effects. The photographs or photomicrographs must show the invention more clearly than they can be done by India ink drawings and otherwise comply with the rules concerning such drawings.

Black and white photographs submitted in lieu of ink drawings must comply with 37 CFR 1.84(b). There is no requirement for a petition or petition fee, and only one set of photographs is required. See 37 CFR 1.84(b)(1).

Such photographs to be acceptable must be made on photographic paper having the following characteristics which are generally recognized in the photographic trade: double weight paper with a surface described as smooth with a white tint. Note that photographs filed on or after October 1, 2001 may no longer be mounted on Bristol Board. See 37 CFR 1.84(e) and 1246 O.G. 106 (May 22, 2001). If several photographs are used to make one sheet of drawings, the photographs must be contained on a single sheet.

See MPEP § 1503.02 for discussion of photographs used in design patent applications.

Photographs may be treated as artifacts and maintained in an artifact folder when the patent application is an IFW application since the photographs may not be able to be accurately reproduced by scanning.

VIII.   COLOR DRAWINGS OR COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS

37 C.F.R. 1.84   Standards for drawings.

  • (a) Drawings. There are two acceptable categories for presenting drawings in utility and design patent applications:

*****

  • (2) Color. On rare occasions, color drawings may be necessary as the only practical medium by which to disclose the subject matter sought to be patented in a utility or design patent application The color drawings must be of sufficient quality such that all details in the drawings are reproducible in black and white in the printed patent. Color drawings are not permitted in international applications (see PCT Rule 11.13), or in an application, or copy thereof, submitted under the Office electronic filing system. The Office will accept color drawings in utility or design patent applications only after granting a petition filed under this paragraph explaining why the color drawings are necessary. Any such petition must include the following:
    • (i) The fee set forth in § 1.17(h);
    • (ii) Three (3) sets of color drawings;
    • (iii) An amendment to the specification to insert (unless the specification contains or has been previously amended to contain) the following language as the first paragraph of the brief description of the drawings:

      The patent or application file contains at least one drawing executed in color. Copies of this patent or patent application publication with color drawing(s) will be provided by the Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee.

  • (b) Photographs.

*****

  • (2) Color photographs. Color photographs will be accepted in utility and design patent applications if the conditions for accepting color drawings and black and white photographs have been satisfied. See paragraphs (a)(2) and (b)(1) of this section.

*****

Limited use of color drawings or color photographs in utility patent applications is provided for in 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2) and (b)(2). Unless a petition is filed and granted, color drawings or color photographs will not be accepted in a utility or design patent application. The examiner must object to the color drawings or color photographs as being improper and require applicant either to cancel the drawings or to provide substitute black and white drawings.

Under 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2) and (b)(2), the applicant must file a petition with fee requesting acceptance of the color drawings or color photographs. Three sets of color drawings or color photographs must also be submitted (37 CFR 1.84(a)(2)(ii)). The petition is decided by a Supervisory Patent Examiner. See MPEP § 1002.02(d).

If the application is an IFW application, the color photographs are maintained in an artifact folder.

Where color drawings or color photographs are filed in a continuing application, applicant must renew the petition under 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2) and (b)(2) even though a similar petition was filed in the prior application. Until the renewed petition is granted, the examiner must object to the color drawings or color photographs as being improper.

In light of the substantial administrative and economic burden associated with printing a utility patent with color drawings or color photographs, the patent copies which are printed at issuance of the patent will depict the drawings in black and white only. However, a set of color drawings or color photographs will be attached to the Letters Patent. Moreover, copies of the patent with color drawings or color photographs attached thereto will be provided by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office upon special request and payment of the fee necessary to recover the actual costs associated therewith.

Accordingly, the petition must also be accompanied by a proposed amendment to insert the following language as the first paragraph in the portion of the specification containing a brief description of the drawings:

The patent or application file contains at least one drawing executed in color. Copies of this patent or patent application publication with color drawing(s) will be provided by the Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee.

If color drawings or color photographs have been filed, but the required petition has not, form paragraph 6.24.01 may be used to notify applicant that a petition is needed.

¶ 6.24.01    Color Photographs and Color Drawings, Petition Required

Color photographs and color drawings are not accepted unless a petition filed under 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2) is granted. Any such petition must be accompanied by the appropriate fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(h), three sets of color drawings or color photographs, as appropriate, and, unless already present, an amendment to include the following language as the first paragraph of the brief description of the drawings section of the specification:

The patent or application file contains at least one drawing executed in color. Copies of this patent or patent application publication with color drawing(s) will be provided by the Office upon request and payment of the necessary fee.

Color photographs will be accepted if the conditions for accepting color drawings and black and white photographs have been satisfied. See 37 CFR 1.84(b)(2). Note that the requirement for three sets of color drawings under 37 CFR 1.84(a)(2)(ii) is not applicable to color drawings submitted via EFS-Web. Therefore, only one set of such color drawings is necessary when filing via EFS-Web.

Examiner Note:

This form paragraph should be used only if the application contains color photographs or color drawings as the drawings required by 37 CFR 1.81.

It is anticipated that such a petition will be granted only when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has determined that a color drawing or color photograph is the only practical medium by which to disclose in a printed utility patent the subject matter to be patented.

It is emphasized that a decision to grant the petition should not be regarded as an indication that color drawings or color photographs are necessary to comply with a statutory requirement. In this latter respect, clearly it is desirable to file any desired color drawings or color photographs as part of the original application papers in order to avoid issues concerning statutory defects (e.g., lack of enablement under 35 U.S.C. 112 or new matter under 35 U.S.C. 132).

IX.   DRAWING SYMBOLS

37 CFR 1.84(n) indicates that graphic drawing symbols and other labeled representations may be used for conventional elements where appropriate, subject to approval by the Office. Also, suitable legends may be used, or may be required, in proper cases. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) (www.ansi.org) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) (www.iso.org) are organizations whose numerous publications include some that pertain to graphical symbols,; the symbols therein are considered to be generally acceptable in patent drawings. Although ANSI and ISO documents and other published sources may be used as guides during the selection of graphic symbols for patent drawings, the Office will not “approve” any published collection of symbols as a group because their use and clarity must be decided on a case-by-case basis. Overly specific symbols should be avoided. Symbols with unclear meanings should be labeled for clarification.

The following symbols should be used to indicate various materials where the material is an important feature of the invention. The use of conventional features is very helpful in making prior art searches.

Conventional Symbols and Shading in Drawings [Page 1 of 2]
Conventional Symbols and Shading in Drawings [Page 2 of 2]

608.02(a)   New Drawing — When Replacement is Required Before Examination

See MPEP § 608.02 for the procedure to follow when drawings have not been filed, but a drawing will aid in the understanding of the invention. See MPEP § 601.01(f) for the procedure to follow when applications appear to be missing sheets of drawings. Drawings in utility and plant applications will be reviewed by the Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP) for compliance with certain requirements of 37 CFR 1.84. will send a Notice to File Corrected Application Papers if the drawings are not acceptable for purposes of publication. The notice will give applicant a time period of 2 months from the mailing date of the notice to file acceptable drawings. This time period for reply is extendable under 37 CFR 1.136(a). will not release applications to the Technology Centers until acceptable drawings are filed in the applications.

If at the time of the initial assignment of an application to an examiner’s docket, or if at the time the application is taken up for action, the supervisory patent examiner believes the drawings to be of such a condition as to not permit reasonable examination of the application, applicant should be required to immediately submit corrected drawings. However, if the drawings do permit reasonable examination and the supervisory patent examiner believes the drawings are of such a character as to render the application defective under 35 U.S.C. 112, examination should begin immediately with a requirement for corrected drawings and a rejection of the claims as not being in compliance with 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph, being made.

If the drawings have been indicated by the applicant as "informal," but the drawings are considered acceptable by OPAP, the examiner should not require replacement of the drawings. If the examiner does make objections to the drawings, the examiner should require correction in reply to the Office action and not permit the objection to be held in abeyance. See MPEP § 608.02(b), § 608.02(d) - § 608.02(h) and § 608.02(p) for further information on specific grounds for finding drawings informalities.

I.   UNTIMELY FILED DRAWINGS

If a drawing is not timely received in reply to a notice from the Office or a letter from the examiner who requires a drawing, the application becomes abandoned for failure to reply.

For the handling of replacement drawings, see MPEP § 608.02(h).

608.02(b)   Acceptability of Drawings

37 C.F.R. 1.85   Corrections to drawings.

  • (a) A utility or plant application will not be placed on the files for examination until objections to the drawings have been corrected. Except as provided in § 1.215(c), any patent application publication will not include drawings filed after the application has been placed on the files for examination. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance, and a request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action (§ 1.135(c)). If a drawing in a design application meets the requirements of § 1.84(e), (f), and (g) and is suitable for reproduction, but is not otherwise in compliance with § 1.84, the drawing may be admitted for examination.
  • (b) The Office will not release drawings for purposes of correction. If corrections are necessary, new corrected drawings must be submitted within the time set by the Office.
  • (c) If a corrected drawing is required or if a drawing does not comply with §1.84 at the time an application is allowed, the Office may notify the applicant and set a three-month period of time from the mail date of the notice of allowability within which the applicant must file a corrected drawing in compliance with §1.84 to avoid abandonment. This time period is not extendable under §1.136(a) or § 1.136(b).

In instances where the drawing is such that the prosecution can be carried on without the corrections, applicant is informed of the reasons why the drawing is objected to in an examiner’s action, and that the drawing is admitted for examination purposes only (see MPEP § 707.07(a)). To be fully responsive, an amendment must include corrected drawings. See 37 CFR 1.85(c) and 37 CFR 1.121(d). The objection to the drawings will not be held in abeyance.

I.   ACCEPTABILITY OF DRAWINGS

The Office no longer considers drawings as formal or informal. Drawings are either acceptable or not acceptable. Drawings will be accepted by the Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP) if the drawings are readable and reproducible for publication purposes. See MPEP § 507.

Examiners should review the drawings for disclosure of the claimed invention and for proper use of reference numerals. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance. A request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action (37 CFR 1.135(c)). Drawing corrections should be made promptly before allowance of the application in order to avoid delays in issuance of the application as a patent or a reduction to any term adjustment. See 37 CFR 1.704(c)(10).

II.   NOTIFYING APPLICANT

If the original drawings are not acceptable, applicant will be notified and informed of what the objections are and that new corrected drawings are required. In either case, the drawings will be accepted as satisfying the requirements of 37 CFR 1.51. The examiners are directed to advise the applicants (see MPEP § 707.07(a)) in the first Office action of the reasons why the drawings are not acceptable. If the examiner discovers a defect in the content of the drawing, one or more of the form paragraphs reproduced below may be used to notify applicant.

¶ 6.21    New Drawings, Competent Draftsperson

New corrected drawings in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) are required in this application because [1]. Applicant is advised to employ the services of a competent patent draftsperson outside the Office, as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office does not prepare new drawings. The corrected drawings are required in reply to the Office action to avoid abandonment of the application. The requirement for corrected drawings will not be held in abeyance.

¶ 6.22    Drawings Objected To

The drawings are objected to because [1]. Corrected drawing sheets in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) are required in reply to the Office action to avoid abandonment of the application. Any amended replacement drawing sheet should include all of the figures appearing on the immediate prior version of the sheet, even if only one figure is being amended. The figure or figure number of an amended drawing should not be labeled as “amended.” If a drawing figure is to be canceled, the appropriate figure must be removed from the replacement sheet, and where necessary, the remaining figures must be renumbered and appropriate changes made to the brief description of the several views of the drawings for consistency. Additional replacement sheets may be necessary to show the renumbering of the remaining figures. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be labeled in the top margin as either “Replacement Sheet” or “New Sheet” pursuant to 37 CFR 1.121(d). If the changes are not accepted by the examiner, the applicant will be notified and informed of any required corrective action in the next Office action. The objection to the drawings will not be held in abeyance.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert the reason for the objection, for example, --the drawings do not show every feature of the invention specified in the claims-- or --the unlabeled rectangular box(es) shown in the drawings should be provided with descriptive text labels--.
  • 2. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance, and a request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action. See 37 CFR 1.85(a).
  • 3. This form paragraph may be followed by form paragraph 6.27 to require a marked up copy of the amended drawing figure(s) including annotations indicating the changes made in the corrected drawings.

¶ 6.26    Drawings Do Not Permit Examination

The drawings are not of sufficient quality to permit examination. Accordingly, replacement drawing sheets in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) are required in reply to this Office action. The replacement sheet(s) should be labeled “Replacement Sheet” in the page header (as per 37 CFR 1.84(c)) so as not to obstruct any portion of the drawing figures. If the changes are not accepted by the examiner, the applicant will be notified and informed of any required corrective action in the next Office action.

Applicant is given a TWO MONTH time period to submit new drawings in compliance with 37 CFR 1.81. Extensions of time may be obtained under the provisions of 37 CFR 1.136(a). Failure to timely submit replacement drawing sheets will result in ABANDONMENT of the application.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. Use of this form paragraph should be extremely rare and limited to those instances where no examination can be performed due to the poor quality of the drawings resulting in a lack of understanding of the claimed subject matter.
  • 2. Use a PTOL-90 or PTO-90C form as a cover sheet for this communication.

¶ 6.27    Requirement for Marked-up Copy of Drawing Corrections

In addition to Replacement Sheets containing the corrected drawing figure(s), applicant is required to submit a marked-up copy of each Replacement Sheet including annotations indicating the changes made to the previous version. The marked-up copy must be clearly labeled as “Annotated Sheet” and must be presented in the amendment or remarks section that explains the change(s) to the drawings. See 37 CFR 1.121(d)(1). Failure to timely submit the corrected drawing and marked-up copy will result in the abandonment of the application.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. When this form paragraph is used by the examiner, the applicant must provide a marked-up copy of any amended drawing figure, including annotations indicating the changes made in the drawing replacement sheets. See 37 CFR 1.121(d)(2).
  • 2. Applicants should be encouraged to submit corrected drawings before allowance in order to avoid having any term adjustment reduced pursuant to 37 CFR 1.704(c)(10).

III.   HANDLING OF REPLACEMENT DRAWINGS

In those situations where an application is filed with unacceptable drawings, applicants will be notified by OPAP to file new acceptable drawings complying with 37 CFR 1.84 and 1.121(d). If the requirement for corrected drawings appears on the notice of allowability (PTOL-37), the drawings must be filed within three months of the date of mailing of the notice of allowability. Also, each sheet of the drawing should include the application number and the art unit in the upper center margin (37 CFR 1.84(c)) and labeled, in the header, “Replacement Sheet.”

In utility applications, the examination will normally be conducted using the originally presented drawings. The sufficiency of disclosure, as concerns the subject matter claimed, will be made by the examiner utilizing the original drawings. IT IS APPLICANT’S RESPONSIBILITY TO SEE THAT NO NEW MATTER IS ADDED when submitting replacement drawings after allowance since they will not normally be reviewed by an examiner. Of course, if the examiner notices new matter in the replacement drawings, appropriate action to have the new matter deleted should be undertaken.

608.02(c)   Location of Drawings

For applications maintained in an image file wrapper (IFW), originally submitted drawings that are photographs or in color may be maintained in an artifact folder.

608.02(d)   Complete Illustration in Drawings

37 C.F.R. 1.83   Content of drawing.

  • (a) The drawing in a nonprovisional application must show every feature of the invention specified in the claims. However, conventional features disclosed in the description and claims, where their detailed illustration is not essential for a proper understanding of the invention, should be illustrated in the drawing in the form of a graphical drawing symbol or a labeled representation (e.g., a labeled rectangular box). In addition, tables and sequence listings that are included in the specification are, except for applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 371, not permitted to be included in the drawings.
  • (b) When the invention consists of an improvement on an old machine the drawing must when possible exhibit, in one or more views, the improved portion itself, disconnected from the old structure, and also in another view, so much only of the old structure as will suffice to show the connection of the invention therewith.
  • (c) Where the drawings in a nonprovisional application do not comply with the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, the examiner shall require such additional illustration within a time period of not less than two months from the date of the sending of a notice thereof. Such corrections are subject to the requirements of § 1.81(d).

Any structural detail that is of sufficient importance to be described should be shown in the drawing. (Ex parte Good, 1911 C.D. 43, 164 O.G. 739 (Comm’r Pat. 1911).)

Form paragraph 6.22.01, 6.22.04, or 6.36, where appropriate, may be used to require illustration.

¶ 6.22.01    Drawings Objected To, Details Not Shown

The drawings are objected to under 37 CFR 1.83(a) because they fail to show [1] as described in the specification. Any structural detail that is essential for a proper understanding of the disclosed invention should be shown in the drawing. MPEP § 608.02(d). Corrected drawing sheets in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) are required in reply to the Office action to avoid abandonment of the application. Any amended replacement drawing sheet should include all of the figures appearing on the immediate prior version of the sheet, even if only one figure is being amended. The figure or figure number of an amended drawing should not be labeled as “amended.” If a drawing figure is to be canceled, the appropriate figure must be removed from the replacement sheet, and where necessary, the remaining figures must be renumbered and appropriate changes made to the brief description of the several views of the drawings for consistency. Additional replacement sheets may be necessary to show the renumbering of the remaining figures. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be labeled in the top margin as either "Replacement Sheet" or "New Sheet" pursuant to 37 CFR 1.121(d). If the changes are not accepted by the examiner, the applicant will be notified and informed of any required corrective action in the next Office action. The objection to the drawings will not be held in abeyance.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, identify the structural details not shown in the drawings.
  • 2. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance, and a request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action. See 37 CFR 1.85(a).
  • 3. This form paragraph may be followed by form paragraph 6.27 to require a marked up copy of the amended drawing figure(s) including annotations indicating the changes made in the corrected drawings.

¶ 6.22.04    Drawings Objected to, Incomplete

The drawings are objected to under 37 CFR 1.83(b) because they are incomplete. 37 CFR 1.83(b) reads as follows:

When the invention consists of an improvement on an old machine the drawing must when possible exhibit, in one or more views, the improved portion itself, disconnected from the old structure, and also in another view, so much only of the old structure as will suffice to show the connection of the invention therewith.

Corrected drawing sheets in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) are required in reply to the Office action to avoid abandonment of the application. Any amended replacement drawing sheet should include all of the figures appearing on the immediate prior version of the sheet, even if only one figure is being amended. The figure or figure number of an amended drawing should not be labeled as “amended.” If a drawing figure is to be canceled, the appropriate figure must be removed from the replacement sheet, and where necessary, the remaining figures must be renumbered and appropriate changes made to the brief description of the several views of the drawings for consistency. Additional replacement sheets may be necessary to show the renumbering of the remaining figures. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be labeled in the top margin as either "Replacement Sheet" or "New Sheet" pursuant to 37 CFR 1.121(d). If the changes are not accepted by the examiner, the applicant will be notified and informed of any required corrective action in the next Office action. The objection to the drawings will not be held in abeyance.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. Supply a full explanation, if it is not readily apparent how the drawings are incomplete.
  • 2. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance, and a request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action. See 37 CFR 1.85(a).
  • 3. This form paragraph may be followed by form paragraph 6.27 to require a marked up copy of the amended drawing figure(s) including annotations indicating the changes made in the corrected drawings.

¶ 6.36    Drawings Do Not Show Claimed Subject Matter

The drawings are objected to under 37 CFR 1.83(a). The drawings must show every feature of the invention specified in the claims. Therefore, the [1] must be shown or the feature(s) canceled from the claim(s). No new matter should be entered.

Corrected drawing sheets in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) are required in reply to the Office action to avoid abandonment of the application. Any amended replacement drawing sheet should include all of the figures appearing on the immediate prior version of the sheet, even if only one figure is being amended. The figure or figure number of an amended drawing should not be labeled as “amended.” If a drawing figure is to be canceled, the appropriate figure must be removed from the replacement sheet, and where necessary, the remaining figures must be renumbered and appropriate changes made to the brief description of the several views of the drawings for consistency. Additional replacement sheets may be necessary to show the renumbering of the remaining figures. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be labeled in the top margin as either "Replacement Sheet" or "New Sheet" pursuant to 37 CFR 1.121(d). If the changes are not accepted by the examiner, the applicant will be notified and informed of any required corrective action in the next Office action. The objection to the drawings will not be held in abeyance.

Examiner Note:

In bracket 1, insert the features that must be shown.

See also MPEP § 608.02.

608.02(e)   Examiner Determines Completeness and Consistency of Drawings

The examiner should see to it that the figures are correctly described in the brief description of the several views of the drawing section of the specification, that the reference characters are properly applied, that no single reference character is used for two different parts or for a given part and a modification of such part, and that there are no superfluous illustrations.

One or more of the following form paragraphs may be used to require correction.

¶ 6.22.01    Drawings Objected To, Details Not Shown

The drawings are objected to under 37 CFR 1.83(a) because they fail to show [1] as described in the specification. Any structural detail that is essential for a proper understanding of the disclosed invention should be shown in the drawing. MPEP § 608.02(d). Corrected drawing sheets in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) are required in reply to the Office action to avoid abandonment of the application. Any amended replacement drawing sheet should include all of the figures appearing on the immediate prior version of the sheet, even if only one figure is being amended. The figure or figure number of an amended drawing should not be labeled as “amended.” If a drawing figure is to be canceled, the appropriate figure must be removed from the replacement sheet, and where necessary, the remaining figures must be renumbered and appropriate changes made to the brief description of the several views of the drawings for consistency. Additional replacement sheets may be necessary to show the renumbering of the remaining figures. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be labeled in the top margin as either "Replacement Sheet" or "New Sheet" pursuant to 37 CFR 1.121(d). If the changes are not accepted by the examiner, the applicant will be notified and informed of any required corrective action in the next Office action. The objection to the drawings will not be held in abeyance.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, identify the structural details not shown in the drawings.
  • 2. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance, and a request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action. See 37 CFR 1.85(a).
  • 3. This form paragraph may be followed by form paragraph 6.27 to require a marked up copy of the amended drawing figure(s) including annotations indicating the changes made in the corrected drawings.

¶ 6.22.02    Drawings Objected to, Different Numbers Refer to Same Part

The drawings are objected to as failing to comply with 37 CFR 1.84(p)(4) because reference characters “[1]” and [2] have both been used to designate [3]. Corrected drawing sheets in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) are required in reply to the Office action to avoid abandonment of the application. Any amended replacement drawing sheet should include all of the figures appearing on the immediate prior version of the sheet, even if only one figure is being amended. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be labeled in the top margin as either “Replacement Sheet” or “New Sheet” pursuant to 37 CFR 1.121(d). If the changes are not accepted by the examiner, the applicant will be notified and informed of any required corrective action in the next Office action. The objection to the drawings will not be held in abeyance.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In brackets 1 and 2, identify the numbers which refer to the same part.
  • 2. In bracket 3, identify the part which is referred to by different numbers.
  • 3. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance, and a request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action. See 37 CFR 1.85(a).
  • 4. This form paragraph may be followed by form paragraph 6.27 to require a marked up copy of the amended drawing figure(s) including annotations indicating the changes made in the corrected drawings.

¶ 6.22.03    Drawings Objected to, Different Parts Referred to by Same Number

The drawings are objected to as failing to comply with 37 CFR 1.84(p)(4) because reference character “[1]” has been used to designate both [2] and [3]. Corrected drawing sheets in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) are required in reply to the Office action to avoid abandonment of the application. Any amended replacement drawing sheet should include all of the figures appearing on the immediate prior version of the sheet, even if only one figure is being amended. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be labeled in the top margin as either "Replacement Sheet " or "New Sheet" pursuant to 37 CFR 1.121(d). If the changes are not accepted by the examiner, the applicant will be notified and informed of any required corrective action in the next Office action. The objection to the drawings will not be held in abeyance.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, identify the number which refers to the different parts.
  • 2. In brackets 2 and 3, identify the parts which are referred to by the same number.
  • 3. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance, and a request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action. See 37 CFR 1.85(a).
  • 4. This form paragraph may be followed by form paragraph 6.27 to require a marked up copy of the amended drawing figure(s) including annotations indicating the changes made in the corrected drawings.

¶ 6.22.06    Drawings Objected to, Reference Numbers Not in Drawings

The drawings are objected to as failing to comply with 37 CFR 1.84(p)(5) because they do not include the following reference sign(s) mentioned in the description: [1]. Corrected drawing sheets in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) are required in reply to the Office action to avoid abandonment of the application. Any amended replacement drawing sheet should include all of the figures appearing on the immediate prior version of the sheet, even if only one figure is being amended. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be labeled in the top margin as either "Replacement Sheet" or "New Sheet" pursuant to 37 CFR 1.121(d). If the changes are not accepted by the examiner, the applicant will be notified and informed of any required corrective action in the next Office action. The objection to the drawings will not be held in abeyance.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, specify the reference characters which are not found in the drawings, including the page and line number where they first occur in the specification.
  • 2. This form paragraph may be modified to require or allow the applicant to delete the reference character(s) from the description instead of adding them to the drawing(s).
  • 3. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance, and a request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action. See 37 CFR 1.85(a).
  • 4. This form paragraph may be followed by form paragraph 6.27 to require a marked up copy of the amended drawing figure(s) including annotations indicating the changes made in the corrected drawings.

¶ 6.22.07    Drawings Objected to, Reference Numbers Not in Specification

The drawings are objected to as failing to comply with 37 CFR 1.84(p)(5) because they include the following reference character(s) not mentioned in the description: [1]. Corrected drawing sheets in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d), or amendment to the specification to add the reference character(s) in the description in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(b) are required in reply to the Office action to avoid abandonment of the application. Any amended replacement drawing sheet should include all of the figures appearing on the immediate prior version of the sheet, even if only one figure is being amended. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be labeled in the top margin as either "Replacement Sheet" or "New Sheet" pursuant to 37 CFR 1.121(d) If the changes are not accepted by the examiner, the applicant will be notified and informed of any required corrective action in the next Office action. The objection to the drawings will not be held in abeyance.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, specify the reference characters which are not found in the specification, including the figure in which they occur.
  • 2. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance, and a request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action. See 37 CFR 1.85(a).
  • 3. This form paragraph may be followed by form paragraph 6.27 to require a marked up copy of the amended drawing figure(s) including annotations indicating the changes made in the corrected drawings.

608.02(f)   Modifications in Drawings

Modifications may not be shown in broken lines on figures which show in solid lines another form of the invention. Ex parte Badger, 1901 C.D. 195, 97 O.G. 1596 (Comm’r Pat. 1901).

All modifications described must be illustrated, or the text canceled. (Ex parte Peck, 1901 C.D. 136, 96 O.G. 2409 (Comm’r Pat. 1901).) This requirement does not apply to a mere reference to minor variations nor to well-known and conventional parts.

Form paragraph 6.22.05 may be used to require correction.

¶ 6.22.05    Drawings Objected to, Modifications in Same Figure

The drawings are objected to under 37 CFR 1.84(h)(5) because Figure [1] show(s) modified forms of construction in the same view. Corrected drawing sheets in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) are required in reply to the Office action to avoid abandonment of the application. Any amended replacement drawing sheet should include all of the figures appearing on the immediate prior version of the sheet, even if only one figure is being amended. The figure or figure number of an amended drawing should not be labeled as “amended.” If a drawing figure is to be canceled, the appropriate figure must be removed from the replacement sheet, and where necessary, the remaining figures must be renumbered and appropriate changes made to the brief description of the several views of the drawings for consistency. Additional replacement sheets may be necessary to show the renumbering of the remaining figures. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be labeled in the top margin as either "Replacement Sheet" or "New Sheet" pursuant to 37 CFR 1.121(d). If the changes are not accepted by the examiner, the applicant will be notified and informed of any required corrective action in the next Office action. The objection to the drawings will not be held in abeyance.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert the appropriate Figure number(s).
  • 2. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance, and a request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action. See 37 CFR 1.85(a).
  • 3. This form paragraph may be followed by form paragraph 6.27 to require a marked up copy of the amended drawing figure(s) including annotations indicating the changes made in the corrected drawings.

608.02(g)   Illustration of Prior Art

Figures showing the prior art are usually unnecessary and should be canceled. Ex parte Elliott, 1904 C.D. 103, 109 O.G. 1337 (Comm’r Pat. 1904). However, where needed to understand applicant’s invention, they may be retained if designated by a legend such as “Prior Art.”

If the prior art figure is not labeled, form paragraph 6.36.01 may be used.

¶ 6.36.01    Illustration of “Prior Art”

Figure [1] should be designated by a legend such as --Prior Art-- because only that which is old is illustrated. See MPEP § 608.02(g). Corrected drawings in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) are required in reply to the Office action to avoid abandonment of the application. The replacement sheet(s) should be labeled “Replacement Sheet” in the page header (as per 37 CFR 1.84(c)) so as not to obstruct any portion of the drawing figures. If the changes are not accepted by the examiner, the applicant will be notified and informed of any required corrective action in the next Office action. The objection to the drawings will not be held in abeyance.

608.02(h)   Replacement Drawings

All sheets of replacement drawings will be routinely entered into the contents of the application. However, the examiner should not overlook such factors as new matter, the necessity for the replacement sheets and consistency with other sheets. If the examiner decides that the sheets should not be entered, the examiner should provide the applicant with the complete, explicit reasoning for the denial of entry. The entries previously made will be marked "not entered."

Form paragraph 6.37 may be used to acknowledge replacement drawing sheets.

¶ 6.37    Acknowledgment of Replacement Drawing Sheets

The drawings were received on [1]. These drawings are [2].

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 2, insert either --acceptable-- or --not acceptable--.
  • 2. If not acceptable because of noncompliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d), an explanation must be provided. Form PTOL-324 may be used instead of this form paragraph to provide the explanation.

Alternatively, PTOL-326 Office Action Summary includes a block for acknowledgment of replacement drawings.

When an amendment is filed stating that replacement sheets of drawings are filed with the amendment and such drawings are not in the IFW, in the next communication by the examiner, the applicant must be notified that replacement drawings do not appear to have been received and thus have not been entered in the application.

Note that drawings will not be returned to the applicant. See MPEP § 608.02(y).

608.02(i)   Transfer of Drawings From Prior Applications

Drawings cannot normally be transferred from a first pending application to another as the Office no longer considers drawings as formal or informal. Drawings that do not comply with all of the form requirements of 37 CFR 1.84 may be acceptable for the purposes of publication and examination if the drawings are readable and reproducible for publication purposes.

608.02(j) - 608.02(o)   [Reserved]

608.02(p)   Correction of Drawings

37 C.F.R. 1.121   Manner of making amendments in applications.

*****

  • (d) Drawings: One or more application drawings shall be amended in the following manner: Any changes to an application drawing must be in compliance with § 1.84 and must be submitted on a replacement sheet of drawings which shall be an attachment to the amendment document and, in the top margin, labeled “Replacement Sheet”. Any replacement sheet of drawings shall include all of the figures appearing on the immediate prior version of the sheet, even if only one figure is amended. Any new sheet of drawings containing an additional figure must be labeled in the top margin as “New Sheet”. All changes to the drawings shall be explained, in detail, in either the drawing amendment or remarks section of the amendment paper.
    • (1) A marked-up copy of any amended drawing figure, including annotations indicating the changes made, may be included. The marked-up copy must be clearly labeled as “Annotated Sheet” and must be presented in the amendment or remarks section that explains the change to the drawings.
    • (2) A marked-up copy of any amended drawing figure, including annotations indicating the changes made, must be provided when required by the examiner.

*****

37 C.F.R. 1.85   Corrections to drawings.

  • (a) A utility or plant application will not be placed on the files for examination until objections to the drawings have been corrected. Except as provided in § 1.215(c), any patent application publication will not include drawings filed after the application has been placed on the files for examination. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance, and a request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action (§ 1.135(c)). If a drawing in a design application meets the requirements of § 1.84(e), (f), and (g) and is suitable for reproduction, but is not otherwise in compliance with § 1.84, the drawing may be admitted for examination.
  • (b) The Office will not release drawings for purposes of correction. If corrections are necessary, new corrected drawings must be submitted within the time set by the Office.
  • (c) If a corrected drawing is required or if a drawing does not comply with § 1.84 at the time an application is allowed, the Office may notify the applicant and set a three-month period of time from the mail date of the notice of allowability within which the applicant must file a corrected drawing in compliance with § 1.84 to avoid abandonment. This time period is not extendable under § 1.136(a) or § 1.136(b).

See also MPEP § 608.02(b). For correction at allowance and issue, see MPEP § 608.02(w) and MPEP § 1302.05.

A canceled figure may be reinstated. An amendment should be made to the specification adding the brief description of the view if a canceled figure is reinstated.

The following form paragraphs may be used to notify applicants of drawing corrections.

¶ 6.39    USPTO Does Not Make Drawing Changes

The United States Patent and Trademark Office does not make drawing changes. It is applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the drawings are corrected. Corrections must be made in accordance with the instructions below.

Examiner Note:

This form paragraph is to be used whenever the applicant has filed a request for the Office to make drawing changes. Form paragraph 6.40 must follow.

¶ 6.40    Information on How To Effect Drawing Changes

INFORMATION ON HOW TO EFFECT DRAWING CHANGESReplacement Drawing Sheets

Drawing changes must be made by presenting replacement sheets which incorporate the desired changes and which comply with 37 CFR 1.84. An explanation of the changes made must be presented either in the drawing amendments section, or remarks, section of the amendment paper. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be labeled in the top margin as either "Replacement Sheet" or "New Sheet" pursuant to 37 CFR 1.121(d). A replacement sheet must include all of the figures appearing on the immediate prior version of the sheet, even if only one figure is being amended. The figure or figure number of the amended drawing(s) must not be labeled as “amended.” If the changes to the drawing figure(s) are not accepted by the examiner, applicant will be notified of any required corrective action in the next Office action. No further drawing submission will be required, unless applicant is notified.

Identifying indicia, if provided, should include the title of the invention, inventor’s name, and application number, or docket number (if any) if an application number has not been assigned to the application. If this information is provided, it must be placed on the front of each sheet and within the top margin.

Annotated Drawing Sheets

A marked-up copy of any amended drawing figure, including annotations indicating the changes made, may be submitted or required by the examiner. The annotated drawing sheets must be clearly labeled as “Annotated Sheet” and must be presented in the amendment or remarks section that explains the change(s) to the drawings.

Timing of Corrections

Applicant is required to submit acceptable corrected drawings within the time period set in the Office action. See 37 CFR 1.85(a). Failure to take corrective action within the set period will result in ABANDONMENT of the application.

If corrected drawings are required in a Notice of Allowability (PTOL-37), the new drawings MUST be filed within the THREE MONTH shortened statutory period set for reply in the “Notice of Allowability.” Extensions of time may NOT be obtained under the provisions of 37 CFR 1.136 for filing the corrected drawings after the mailing of a Notice of Allowability.

¶ 6.41    Reminder That USPTO Does Not Make Drawing Changes

Applicant is reminded that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office does not make drawing changes and that it is applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the drawings are corrected in accordance with the instructions set forth in the paper mailed on [1].

Examiner Note:

This form paragraph is to be used when the applicant has been previously provided with information on how to effect drawing changes.

¶ 6.42    Reminder That Applicant Must Make Drawing Changes

Applicant is reminded that in order to avoid an abandonment of this application, the drawings must be corrected in accordance with the instructions set forth in the paper mailed on [1].

Examiner Note:

This form paragraph is to be used when allowing the application and when applicant has previously been provided with information on how to effect drawing changes.

¶ 6.43    Drawings Contain Informalities, Application Allowed

The drawings filed on [1] are acceptable subject to correction of the informalities indicated below. In order to avoid abandonment of this application, correction is required in reply to the Office action. The correction will not be held in abeyance.

Examiner Note:

¶ 6.47    Examiner’s Amendment Involving Drawing Changes

The following changes to the drawings have been approved by the examiner and agreed upon by applicant: [1]. In order to avoid abandonment of the application, applicant must make these agreed upon drawing changes.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert the agreed upon drawing changes.
  • 2. Form paragraphs 6.39 and 6.40 must follow.

608.02(q) - 608.02(s)   [Reserved]

608.02(t)   Cancelation of Figures

If a drawing figure is canceled, a replacement sheet of drawings must be submitted without the figure (see 37 CFR 1.121(d)). If the canceled drawing figure was the only drawing on the sheet, then only a marked-up copy of the drawing sheet including an annotation showing that the drawing has been cancelled is required. The marked-up (annotated) copy must be clearly labeled as "Annotated Sheet" and must be presented in the amendment or remarks section of the amendment document which explains the changes to the drawings (see 37 CFR 1.121(d)(1)). The brief description of the drawings should also be amended to reflect this change.

608.02(u)   [Reserved]

608.02(v)   Drawing Changes Which Require Annotated Sheets

When changes are to be made in the drawing itself, other than mere changes in reference characters, designations of figures, or inking over lines pale and rough, a marked-up copy of the drawing should be filed with a replacement drawing. The marked-up copy must be clearly labeled as “Annotated Sheet.” See 37 CFR 1.84(c) and 1.121(d).Ordinarily, broken lines may be changed to full without a sketch.

Annotated sheets filed by an applicant and used for correction of the drawing will not be returned. All such annotated sheets must be in ink or permanent prints.

608.02(w)   Drawing Changes Which May Be Made Without Applicant’s Annotated Sheets

Where an application is ready for issue except for a slight defect in the drawing not involving change in structure, the examiner will prepare a letter to the applicant indicating the change to be made and may include a marked-up copy of the drawing showing the addition or alteration to be made. The marked-up copy of the drawing should be attached to the letter to the applicant made of record in the application file.

As a guide to the examiner, the following corrections are illustrative of those that may be suggested without requiring annotated sheets from the applicant:

  • (A) Adding two or three reference characters or exponents.
  • (B) Changing one or two numerals or figure ordinals.
  • (C) Removing superfluous matter.
  • (D) Adding or reversing directional arrows.
  • (E) Changing Roman Numerals to Arabic Numerals to agree with specification.
  • (F) Adding section lines or brackets, where easily executed.
  • (G) Changing lead lines.
  • (H) Correcting misspelled legends.

608.02(x)   Drawing Corrections or Changes Accepted Unless Notified Otherwise

Drawing corrections or changes will be entered at the time they are presented, unless applicant is notified to the contrary by the examiner in the action following the amended drawing submission.

  CORRECTION OR CHANGE NOT ACCEPTED

Where the corrected or changed drawing is not accepted, for example, because the submitted corrections or changes are erroneous, or involve new matter or do not include all necessary corrections, the applicant will be notified and informed of any required corrective action in the next Office action. The examiner should explicitly and clearly set forth all the reasons for not approving the corrections to the drawings in the next communication to the applicant. See MPEP § 608.02(p) for suggested form paragraphs that may be used by examiners to notify applicants of drawing corrections.

608.02(y)   Return of Drawing

Drawings will not be returned to the applicant.

608.02(z)   Allowable Applications Needing Drawing Corrections or Corrected Drawings

If the drawings submitted in an application have been indicated by the applicant as “informal,” but the drawings are considered acceptable by OPAP, the examiner should not require replacement of the drawings.

In IFW applications, generally, the most recently filed drawings will be used for printing, unless they have been indicated as “Not Entered.”

If the examiner makes an objection to the drawings, the examiner should require correction in reply to the Office action that sets forth the objection. If an application is being allowed, and corrected drawings have not been filed, form PTOL-37 provides an appropriate check box for requiring corrected drawings.

Extensions of time to provide acceptable drawings after the mailing of a notice of allowability are not permitted. If the Office of Data Management receives drawings that cannot be scanned or are otherwise unacceptable for publication, the Office of Data Management will mail a requirement for corrected drawings, giving applicant a shortened statutory period of two months (with no extensions of time permitted) to reply. The drawings will ordinarily not be returned to the examiner for corrections.

I.   UTILITY PATENT APPLICATIONS RECEIVING REPLACEMENT DRAWINGS AFTER THE NOTICE OF ALLOWABILITY

Where replacement drawings are received in utility patent applications after the Notice of Allowability was mailed, the replacement drawings are handled by the Office of Data Management. Submission to the examiner is not necessary unless an amendment to the specification accompanies the drawings, such as an amendment where the description of figures is added or canceled. It is applicant’s responsibility to see that no new matter is added when submitting replacement drawings after allowance because they will not normally be reviewed by an examiner.

II.   37 CFR 1.312 AMENDMENTS

For information on handling amendments to drawings filed under 37 CFR 1.312, see MPEP § 714.16.

608.03   Models, Exhibits, Specimens [R-08.2012]

35 U.S.C. 114   Models, specimens.

The Director may require the applicant to furnish a model of convenient size to exhibit advantageously the several parts of his invention.

When the invention relates to a composition of matter, the Director may require the applicant to furnish specimens or ingredients for the purpose of inspection or experiment.

37 C.F.R. 1.91   Models or exhibits not generally admitted as part of application or patent.

  • (a) A model or exhibit will not be admitted as part of the record of an application unless it:
    • (1) Substantially conforms to the requirements of § 1.52 or § 1.84;
    • (2) Is specifically required by the Office; or
    • (3) Is filed with a petition under this section including:
      • (i) The fee set forth in § 1.17(h); and
      • (ii) An explanation of why entry of the model or exhibit in the file record is necessary to demonstrate patentability.
  • (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section, a model, working model, or other physical exhibit may be required by the Office if deemed necessary for any purpose in examination of the application.
  • (c) Unless the model or exhibit substantially conforms to the requirements of §1.52 or §1.84 under paragraph (a)(1) of this section, it must be accompanied by photographs that show multiple views of the material features of the model or exhibit and that substantially conform to the requirements of § 1.84.

Models or exhibits are generally not admitted as part of an application or patent unless the requirements of 37 CFR 1.91 are satisfied.

With the exception of cases involving perpetual motion, a model is not ordinarily required by the Office to demonstrate the operability of a device. If operability of a device is questioned, the applicant must establish it to the satisfaction of the examiner, but he or she may choose his or her own way of so doing.

Models or exhibits that are required by the Office or filed with a petition under 1.91(a)(3) must be accompanied by photographs that (A) show multiple views of the material features of the model or exhibit, and (B) substantially conform to the requirements of 37 CFR 1.84. See 37 CFR 1.91(c). Material features are considered to be those features which represent that portion(s) of the model or exhibit forming the basis for which the model or exhibit has been submitted. Where a video or DVD or similar item is submitted as a model or exhibit, applicant must submit photographs of what is depicted in the video or DVD (the content of the material such as a still image single frame of a movie) and not a photograph of a video cassette, DVD disc or compact disc.

37 C.F.R. 1.93   Specimens.

When the invention relates to a composition of matter, the applicant may be required to furnish specimens of the composition, or of its ingredients or intermediates, for the purpose of inspection or experiment.

See MPEP Chapter 2400 regarding treatment of biological deposits.

608.03(a)   Handling of Models, Exhibits, and Specimens

All models and exhibits received in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office should be taken to the Technology Center (TC) assigned the related application for examination. The receipt of all models and exhibits which are to be entered into the application file record must be properly recorded on an artifact sheet.

A label indicating the application number, filing date, and attorney’s name and address should be attached to the model or exhibit so that it is clearly identified and easily returned. The Office may return the model, exhibit, or specimen, at any time once it is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office and return of the model or exhibit is appropriate.See 37 CFR 1.94.

If the model or exhibit cannot be conveniently stored in an artifact folder, it should not be accepted.

Models and exhibits may be presented for demonstration purposes during an interview. The models and exhibits should be taken away by applicant or his/her attorney or agent at the conclusion of the interview since models or exhibits are generally not permitted to be admitted as part of the application or patent unless the requirements of 37 CFR 1.91 are satisfied. See MPEP § 713.08. A full description of what was demonstrated or exhibited during the interview must be made of record. See 37 CFR 1.133. Any model or exhibit that is left with the examiner at the conclusion of the interview, which is not made part of the application or patent, may be disposed of at the discretion of the Office.

37 C.F.R. 1.94   Return of models, exhibits or specimens.

  • (a) Models, exhibits, or specimens may be returned to the applicant if no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office. When applicant is notified that a model, exhibit, or specimen is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office and will be returned, applicant must arrange for the return of the model, exhibit, or specimen at the applicant’s expense. The Office will dispose of perishables without notice to applicant unless applicant notifies the Office upon submission of the model, exhibit or specimen that a return is desired and makes arrangements for its return promptly upon notification by the Office that the model, exhibit or specimen is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office.
  • (b) Applicant is responsible for retaining the actual model, exhibit, or specimen for the enforceable life of any patent resulting from the application. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply to a model or exhibit that substantially conforms to the requirements of § 1.52 or § 1.84, where the model or exhibit has been described by photographs that substantially conform to § 1.84, or where the model, exhibit or specimen is perishable.
  • (c) Where applicant is notified, pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, of the need to arrange for return of a model, exhibit or specimen, applicant must arrange for the return within the period set in such notice, to avoid disposal of the model, exhibit or specimen by the Office. Extensions of time are available under § 1.136, except in the case of perishables. Failure to establish that the return of the item has been arranged for within the period set or failure to have the item removed from Office storage within a reasonable amount of time notwithstanding any arrangement for return, will permit the Office to dispose of the model, exhibit or specimen.

When applicant is notified that a model, exhibit, or specimen is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office and will be returned, applicant must make arrangements for the return of the model, exhibit, or specimen at applicant’s expense. The Office may return the model, exhibit, or specimen at any time once it is no longer necessary for the conduct of business and need not wait until the close of prosecution or later. Where the model, exhibit, or specimen is a perishable, the Office will be presumed to have permission to dispose of the item without notice to applicant, unless applicant notifies the Office upon submission of the item that a return is desired and arrangements are promptly made for the item’s return upon notification by the Office.

For models, exhibits, or specimens that are returned, applicant is responsible for retaining the actual model, exhibit, or specimen for the enforceable life of any patent resulting from the application except where: (A) the model or exhibit substantially conforms to the requirements of 37 CFR 1.52 or 1.84; (B) the model or exhibit has been described by photographs that substantially conform to 37 CFR 1.84; or (C) the model, exhibit, or specimen is perishable. Applicant may be called upon to resubmit such returned model, exhibit, or specimen under appropriate circumstances, such as where a continuing application is filed.

The notification to applicant that a model, exhibit, or specimen is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office will set a time period within which applicant must make arrangements for a return of a model, exhibit, or specimen. The time period is normally one month from the mailing date of the notification, unless the item is perishable, in which case the time period will be shorter. Extensions of time are available under 37 CFR 1.136, except in the case of perishables. Failure by applicant to establish that arrangements for the return of a model, exhibit, or specimen have been made within the time period set in the notice will result in the disposal of the model, exhibit, or specimen by the Office.

Form paragraph 6.48 may be used to notify applicant that the model, exhibit, or specimen is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office and that applicant must make arrangement for the return of the model, exhibit, or specimen.

¶ 6.48    Model, Exhibit, or Specimen - Applicant Must Make Arrangements for Return

The [1] is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office. Applicant must arrange for the return of the model, exhibit or specimen at the applicant’s expense in accordance with 37 CFR 1.94(a).

Applicant is given ONE MONTH or THIRTY DAYS, whichever is longer, from the mailing date of this letter to make arrangements for return of the above-identified model, exhibit, or specimen to avoid its disposal in accordance with 37 CFR 1.94(c). Extensions of time are available under 37 CFR 1.136, except in the case of perishables.

Applicant is responsible for retaining the actual model, exhibit, or specimen for the enforceable life of any patent resulting from the application unless one of the exceptions set forth in 37 CFR 1.94(b) applies.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, identify the model, exhibit, or specimen that is no longer needed by the Office.
  • 2. The Office will dispose of perishables without notice to Applicant unless applicant notifies the Office upon submission of the model, exhibit or specimen that a return is desired and makes arrangements for its return promptly upon notification by the Office that the model, exhibit or specimen is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office.

For plant specimens, see MPEP § 1607 and 37 CFR 1.166.

37 C.F.R. 1.95   Copies of exhibits.

Copies of models or other physical exhibits will not ordinarily be furnished by the Office, and any model or exhibit in an application or patent shall not be taken from the Office except in the custody of an employee of the Office specially authorized by the Director.

608.04   New Matter [R-11.2013]

37 C.F.R. 1.121   Manner of making amendments in applications.

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  • (f) No new matter. No amendment may introduce new matter into the disclosure of an application.

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In establishing a disclosure, applicant may rely not only on the specification and drawing as filed but also on the original claims if their content justifies it. See MPEP § 608.01(l).

While amendments to the specification and claims involving new matter are ordinarily entered, such matter is required to be canceled from the descriptive portion of the specification, and the claims affected are rejected under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph.

When new matter is introduced into the specification, the amendment should be objected to under 35 U.S.C. 132 (35 U.S.C. 251 if a reissue application) and a requirement made to cancel the new matter. The subject matter which is considered to be new matter must be clearly identified by the examiner. If the new matter has been entered into the claims or affects the scope of the claims, the claims affected should be rejected under 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph, because the new matter is not described in the application as originally filed.

A “new matter” amendment of the drawing is ordinarily not entered; neither is an additional or substitute sheet containing “new matter” even though provisionally entered by the TC technical support staff. See MPEP § 608.02(h).

The examiner’s holding of new matter may be petitionable or appealable. See MPEP § 608.04(c).

For new matter in reissue application, see MPEP § 1411.02. For new matter in substitute specification, see MPEP § 608.01(q).

Note: No amendment is permitted in a provisional application after it receives a filing date.

608.04(a)   Matter Not in Original Specification, Claims, or Drawings

Matter not in the original specification, claims, or drawings that is added after the application filing is usually new matter. See MPEP §§ 2163.06 and 2163.07 for guidance in determining whether an amendment adds new matter. See MPEP § 2163.07(a) to determine whether added characteristics such as chemical or physical properties, a new structural formula or a new use are inherent characteristics that do not introduce new matter. For rejection of claim involving new matter, see MPEP § 706.03(o).

For completeness of specification, see MPEP § 608.01(p). For trademarks and trade names, see MPEP § 608.01(v).

608.04(b)   New Matter by Preliminary Amendment

A preliminary amendment present on the filing date of the application (e.g., filed along with the filing of the application) is considered a part of the original disclosure. See MPEP § 714.01(e) and § 602. A preliminary amendment filed after the filing date of the application is not part of the original disclosure of the application. See MPEP § 706.03(o). For applications filed on or after September 21, 2004, the Office will automatically treat any preliminary amendment under 37 CFR 1.115(a)(1) that is present on the filing date of the application as part of the original disclosure. Applicants can avoid the need to file a preliminary amendment by incorporating any desired amendments into the text of the specification, even where the application is a continuation or divisional application of a prior-filed application. Applicants are strongly encouraged to avoid submitting any preliminary amendments so as to minimize the burden on the Office in processing preliminary amendments and reduce delays in processing the application.

608.04(c)   Review of Examiner’s Holding of New Matter

Where the new matter is confined to amendments to the specification, review of the examiner’s requirement for cancelation is by way of petition. But where the alleged new matter is introduced into or affects the claims, thus necessitating their rejection on this ground, the question becomes an appealable one, and should not be considered on petition even though that new matter has been introduced into the specification also. See also MPEP § 2163.06.

608.05   Sequence Listing, Table, or Computer Program Listing Appendix Submitted in Electronic Form [R-11.2013]

37 C.F.R. 1.52   Language, paper, writing, margins, compact disc specifications.

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  • (e) Electronic documents that are to become part of the permanent United States Patent and Trademark Office records in the file of a patent application or reexamination proceeding.
    • (1) The following documents may be submitted to the Office on a compact disc in compliance with this paragraph:
      • (i) A computer program listing (see § 1.96);
      • (ii) A “Sequence Listing” (submitted under § 1.821(c)); or
      • (iii) Any individual table (see § 1.58) if the table is more than 50 pages in length, or if the total number of pages of all of the tables in an application exceeds 100 pages in length, where a table page is a page printed on paper in conformance with paragraph (b) of this section and § 1.58(c).
    • (2) A compact disc as used in this part means a Compact Disc-Read Only Memory (CD-ROM) or a Compact Disc-Recordable (CD-R) in compliance with this paragraph. A CD-ROM is a “read-only” medium on which the data is pressed into the disc so that it cannot be changed or erased. A CD-R is a “write once” medium on which once the data is recorded, it is permanent and cannot be changed or erased.
    • (3)
      • (i) Each compact disc must conform to the International Standards Organization (ISO) 9660 standard, and the contents of each compact disc must be in compliance with the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII). CD-R discs must be finalized so that they are closed to further writing to the CD-R.
      • (ii) Each compact disc must be enclosed in a hard compact disc case within an unsealed padded and protective mailing envelope and accompanied by a transmittal letter on paper in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section. The transmittal letter must list for each compact disc the machine format (e.g., IBM-PC, Macintosh), the operating system compatibility (e.g., MS-DOS, MS-Windows, Macintosh, Unix), a list of files contained on the compact disc including their names, sizes in bytes, and dates of creation, plus any other special information that is necessary to identify, maintain, and interpret (e.g., tables in landscape orientation should be identified as landscape orientation or be identified when inquired about) the information on the compact disc. Compact discs submitted to the Office will not be returned to the applicant.
    • (4) Any compact disc must be submitted in duplicate unless it contains only the “Sequence Listing” in computer readable form required by § 1.821(e). The compact disc and duplicate copy must be labeled “Copy 1” and “Copy 2,” respectively. The transmittal letter which accompanies the compact disc must include a statement that the two compact discs are identical. In the event that the two compact discs are not identical, the Office will use the compact disc labeled “Copy 1” for further processing. Any amendment to the information on a compact disc must be by way of a replacement compact disc in compliance with this paragraph containing the substitute information, and must be accompanied by a statement that the replacement compact disc contains no new matter. The compact disc and copy must be labeled “COPY 1 REPLACEMENT MM/DD/YYYY” (with the month, day and year of creation indicated), and “COPY 2 REPLACEMENT MM/DD/YYYY,” respectively.
    • (5) The specification must contain an incorporation-by-reference of the material on the compact disc in a separate paragraph (§ 1.77(b)(5)), identifying each compact disc by the names of the files contained on each of the compact discs, their date of creation and their sizes in bytes. The Office may require applicant to amend the specification to include in the paper portion any part of the specification previously submitted on compact disc.
    • (6) A compact disc must also be labeled with the following information:
      • (i) The name of each inventor (if known);
      • (ii) Title of the invention;
      • (iii) The docket number, or application number if known, used by the person filing the application to identify the application; and
      • (iv) A creation date of the compact disc.
      • (v) If multiple compact discs are submitted, the label shall indicate their order (e.g. “1 of X”).
      • (vi) An indication that the disk is “Copy 1” or “Copy 2” of the submission. See paragraph (b)(4) of this section.
    • (7) If a file is unreadable on both copies of the disc, the unreadable file will be treated as not having been submitted. A file is unreadable if, for example, it is of a format that does not comply with the requirements of paragraph (e)(3) of this section, it is corrupted by a computer virus, or it is written onto a defective compact disc.
  • (f)
    • (1) Any sequence listing in an electronic medium in compliance with §§ 1.52(e) and 1.821(c) or (e), and any computer program listing filed in an electronic medium in compliance with §§ 1.52(e) and 1.96, will be excluded when determining the application size fee required by § 1.16(s) or § 1.492(j). For purposes of determining the application size fee required by § 1.16(s) or § 1.492(j), for an application the specification and drawings of which, excluding any sequence listing in compliance with § 1.821(c) or (e), and any computer program listing filed in an electronic medium in compliance with §§ 1.52(e) and 1.96, are submitted in whole or in part on an electronic medium other than the Office electronic filing system, each three kilobytes of content submitted on an electronic medium shall be counted as a sheet of paper.
    • (2) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, the paper size equivalent of the specification and drawings of an application submitted via the Office electronic filing system will be considered to be the number of sheets of paper present in the specification and drawings of the application when entered into the Office file wrapper after being rendered by the Office electronic filing system for purposes of computing the application size fee required by § 1.16(s). Any sequence listing in compliance with § 1.821(c) or (e), and any computer program listing in compliance with § 1.96, submitted via the Office electronic filing system will be excluded when determining the application size fee required by § 1.16(s) if the listing is submitted in ACSII text as part of an associated file.

37 C.F.R. 1.77   Arrangement of application elements.

  • (a) The elements of the application, if applicable, should appear in the following order:
    • (1) Utility application transmittal form.
    • (2) Fee transmittal form.
    • (3) Application data sheet (see § 1.76).
    • (4) Specification.
    • (5) Drawings.
    • (6) The inventor’s oath or declaration.
  • (b) The specification should include the following sections in order:
    • (1) Title of the invention, which may be accompanied by an introductory portion stating the name, citizenship, and residence of the applicant (unless included in the application data sheet).
    • (2) Cross-reference to related applications.
    • (3) Statement regarding federally sponsored research or development.
    • (4) The names of the parties to a joint research agreement.
    • (5) Reference to a “Sequence Listing,” a table, or a computer program listing appendix submitted on a compact disc and an incorporation-by-reference of the material on the compact disc (see § 1.52(e)(5)). The total number of compact discs including duplicates and the files on each compact disc shall be specified.
    • (6) Statement regarding prior disclosures by the inventor or a joint inventor.
    • (7) Background of the invention.
    • (8) Brief summary of the invention.
    • (9) Brief description of the several views of the drawing.
    • (10) Detailed description of the invention.
    • (11) A claim or claims.
    • (12) Abstract of the disclosure.
    • (13) “Sequence Listing,” if on paper (see §§ 1.821 through 1.825).
  • (c) The text of the specification sections defined in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(12) of this section, if applicable, should be preceded by a section heading in uppercase and without underlining or bold type.

In view of lengthy data listings being submitted as part of the disclosure in some patent applications, the Office established procedures for the presentation of large tables (37 CFR 1.58), computer program listings (37 CFR 1.96) and biotechnology sequence listings (37 CFR 1.821(c)) in electronic form. Such listings are often several hundred pages or more in length. By filing and publishing such data listings in electronic form, substantial cost savings can result to the applicants, the public, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Consistent 37 CFR 1.52(e), biotechnology sequence listings and computer listing appendices may be submitted as ASCII text files with a “.txt” extension (e.g., “seqlist.txt”). The following document types may be submitted as text files via EFS-Web or as compact discs in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52(e) and 1.821 et seq. provided the specification contains a statement in a separate paragraph that incorporates by reference the material in the ASCII text file identifying the name of the ASCII text file, the date of creation, and the size of the ASCII text file in bytes:

  • (1) A computer program listing (see 37 CFR 1.96);
  • (2) A sequence listing (submitted under 37 CFR 1.821); or
  • (3) Any individual table (see 37 CFR 1.58) if the table is more than 50 pages in length, or if the total number of pages of all of the tables in an application exceeds 100 pages in length, wherein a table page is a page printed on paper in conformance with 37 CFR 1.52(b) and 1.58(c).

I.   TEXT FILES SUBMITTED VIA EFS-WEB

The requirements of 37 CFR 1.52(e)(3)-(6) for documents submitted on compact disc are not applicable to computer program listings, sequence listings, and tables submitted as ASCII text files via EFS-Web. However, each text file must be in compliance with ASCII and has a file name with a “.txt” extension. Further, the specification must contain an incorporation-by-reference of the material in the ASCII text file in a separate paragraph identifying the name of the ASCII text file, the date of creation, and the size of the ASCII text file in bytes similar to the requirements of 37 CFR 1.52(e)(5) for compact discs.

A.   Information Specific to Sequence Listings

It is recommended that a sequence listing be submitted in an ASCII text file via EFS-Web rather than in a PDF file. If the sequence listing text file submitted via EFS-Web complies with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.824(a)(2)-(6) and (b) (i.e., is a compliant sequence listing ASCII text file), the text file will serve as both the paper copy required by 37 CFR 1.821(c) and the computer readable form (CRF) required by 37 CFR 1.821(e). Thus, the following are not required and should not be submitted: (1) a second copy of the sequence listing in a PDF file; (2) a statement under 37 CFR 1.821(f) (indicating that the paper copy and CRF copy of the sequence listing are identical); and (3) a request the use of a compliant computer readable “Sequence Listing” that is already on file for another application pursuant to 37 CFR 1.821(e). If such a request is filed, the USPTO will not carry out the request but will use the sequence listing submitted in an ASCII text file with the application via EFS-Web. Checker software that may be used to check a sequence listing for compliance with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.824 is available on the USPTO Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/checker/.

If a user submits a sequence listing (under 37 CFR 1.821(c) and (e)) as an ASCII text file via EFS-Web in response to a requirement under 37 CFR 1.821(g) or (h), the sequence listing text file must be accompanied by a statement that the submission does not include any new matter which goes beyond the disclosure of the application as filed. In addition, if a user submits an amendment to, or a replacement of, a sequence listing (under 37 CFR 1.821(c) and (e)) as an ASCII text file via EFS-Web, the sequence listing text file must be accompanied by: (1) a statement that the submission does not include any new matter; and (2) a statement that indicates support for the amendment in the application, as filed. See 37 CFR 1.825.

Submission of the sequence listing in a PDF file is not recommended because applicant would still be required to provide the CRF required by 37 CFR 1.821(e) and the sequence listing in the PDF file will not be excluded when determining the application size fee. The USPTO prefers the submission of a sequence listing in an ASCII text file because as stated above, the text file will serve as both the paper copy required by 37 CFR 1.821(c) and the CRF required by 37 CFR 1.821(e). Any sequence listing in PDF format is treated as the paper copy required by 37 CFR 1.821(c). If applicant submits a sequence listing in a PDF file and a copy of the sequence listing in an ASCII text file, a statement that the sequence listing content of the PDF copy and the ASCII text file copy are identical is required. In situations where applicant files the sequence listing in PDF format and requests the use of the CRF of another application under 37 CFR 1.821(e), applicant must submit a letter and request in compliance with 37 CFR 1.821(e) and a statement that the PDF copy filed in the new application is identical to the CRF filed in the other application.

B.   Application Size Fee

Any sequence listing submitted as an ASCII text file via EFS-Web that is otherwise in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52(e) and 1.821(c) or (e), and any computer program listing submitted as an ASCII text file via EFS-Web that is otherwise in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52(e) and 1.96, will be excluded when determining the application size fee required by 37 CFR 1.16(s) or 1.492(j) as per 37 CFR 1.52(f)(1).

Regarding a table submitted as an ASCII text file via EFS-Web that is part of the specification or drawings, each three kilobytes of content submitted will be counted as a sheet of paper for purposes of determining the application size fee required by 37 CFR 1.16(s) or 1.492(j). Each table should be submitted as a separate text file. Further, the file name for each table should indicate which table is contained therein.

C.   Size Limit for Text Files

One hundred (100) megabytes is the size limit for sequence listing text files submitted via EFS-Web; for all other file types, 25 megabytes is the size limit. If a user wishes to submit an electronic copy of a file that exceeds these size limits, it is recommended that the electronic copy be submitted on compact disc via Express Mail from the USPS in accordance with 37 CFR 1.10 on the date of the corresponding EFS-Web filing in accordance with 37 CFR 1.52(e) if the user wishes the electronic copy to be considered to be part of the application as filed.

See the EFS-Web Legal Framework (http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/file/efs/guidance /New_legal_framework.jsp) for addition information pertaining to limits on the number and size of files submitted via EFS-Web. See also MPEP § 502.05.

II.   Submissions On Compact Disc

A compact disc submitted under 37 CFR 1.52(e) must either be a CD-ROM or a CD-R. A CD-ROM is made by a process of pressing the disc from a master template; the data cannot be erased or rewritten. A CD-R is a compact disc that has a recording medium only capable of writing once. CD-RW type media which are erasable and rewriteable are not acceptable. Limiting the media types to CD-ROM and CD-R media will ensure the longevity and integrity of the data submitted. CD-R discs must be finalized so that they are closed to further writing to the CD-R. The files stored on the compact disc must contain only ASCII characters. No non-ASCII characters or proprietary file formats are permitted. A text viewer is recommended for viewing ASCII files. While virtually any word processor may be used to view an ASCII file, care must be taken since a word processor will often not distinguish ASCII and non-ASCII files when displayed. For example, a word processor normally does not display hidden proprietary non-ASCII characters used for formatting when viewing a non-ASCII word processor file.

Compact disc(s) filed on the date that the application was accorded a filing date are to be treated as part of the originally filed disclosure even if the requisite “incorporation by reference” statement (see 37 CFR 1.77(b)(5)) is omitted. Similarly, if a preliminary amendment accompanies the application when it is filed in the Office and the preliminary amendment includes compact disc(s), the compact disc(s) will be treated as part of the original disclosure. The compact disc(s) is considered part of the original disclosure by virtue of its inclusion with the application on the date the application is accorded a filing date. The incorporation by reference statement of the material on the compact disc is required to be part of the specification to allow the Office the option of separately printing the material on compact disc. The examiner should require applicant(s) to insert this statement if it is omitted or the examiner may insert the statement by examiner’s amendment at the time of allowance.

37 CFR 1.52(e)(3)(ii) requires that each compact disc must be enclosed in a hard compact disc case within an unsealed padded and protective mailing envelope and accompanied by a transmittal letter on paper in accordance with 37 CFR 1.52(a). The transmittal letter must list for each compact disc the machine format (e.g., IBM-PC, Macintosh), the operating system compatibility (e.g., MS-DOS, MS-Windows, Macintosh, Unix), a list of files contained on the compact disc including their names, sizes in bytes, and dates of creation, plus any other special information that is necessary to identify, maintain, and interpret the information on the compact disc. Compact discs submitted to the Office will not be returned to the applicant.

All compact discs submitted under 37 CFR 1.52(e) must be submitted in duplicate labeled as “copy 1” and “copy 2” respectively. If more than one compact disc is required to hold all of the information, each compact disc must be submitted in duplicate to form two sets of discs: one set labeled “copy 1” and a second set labeled “copy 2.” Both disc copies should initially be routed to the Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP). The compact discs will be checked by OPAP for viruses, readability, the presence of non-ASCII files, and compliance with the file and disc labeling requirements. OPAP will retain one copy of the discs and place the other copy in an artifact folder associated with the Image File Wrapper. In the event that there is not a complete set of files on both copies of the originally filed discs, OPAP will retain the originally filed discs and send a notice to the applicant to submit an additional complete copy. For provisional applications, OPAP will provide applicant notification and, where appropriate, require correction for virus infected compact discs, unreadable compact discs (or unreadable files thereon), and missing duplicate discs. An amendment to the material on a compact disc must be done by submitting a replacement compact disc with the amended file(s). The amendment should include a corresponding amendment to the description of the compact disc and the files contained on the compact disc in the incorporation by reference portion of the specification. A replacement compact disc containing the amended files must contain all of the files of the original compact disc that were not amended. This will insure that the Office, printer, and public can quickly access all of the current files in an application or patent by referencing only the latest electronic version of the ASCII file.

The following form paragraphs may be used to notify applicant of corrections needed with respect to compact disc submissions.

¶ 6.60.01    CD-ROM/CD-R Requirements (No Statement that CDs are Identical)

This application is objected to under 37 CFR 1.52(e)(4) because it does not contain a statement in the transmittal letter that the two compact discs are identical. Correction is required.

¶ 6.60.02    CD-ROM/CD-R Requirements (No Listing in Transmittal Letter)

This application is objected to because it contains a data file on CD-ROM/CD-R, however, the transmittal letter does not list for each compact disc, the machine format, the operating system compatibility, a list of files contained on the compact disc including their names, sizes in bytes, and dates of creation, plus any other special information that is necessary to identify, maintain, and interpret the information on the compact disc as required by 37 CFR 1.52(e)(3). A statement listing the required information is required.

¶ 6.61.01    Specification Lacking List of Compact Disc(s) and /or Associated Files

Portions of this application are contained on compact disc(s). When portions of an application are contained on a compact disc, the paper portion of the specification must identify the compact disc(s) and list the files including name, file size, and creation date on each of the compact discs. See 37 CFR 1.52(e). Compact disc labeled[1] is not identified in the paper portion of the specification with a listing of all of the files contained on the disc. Applicant is required to amend the specification to identify each disc and the files contained on each disc including the file name, file size, and file creation date.

Examiner Note:

In bracket 1, insert the name on the label of the compact disc.

¶ 6.61.02    Specification Lacking An Incorporation By Reference Statement for Compact Disc or Text File Submitted Via EFS-Web

This application contains compact disc(s) or text file(s) submitted via EFS-Web as part of the originally filed subject matter, but does not contain an incorporation by reference statement for the compact discs or text files. See 37 CFR 1.77(b)(4) and MPEP § 502.05. Applicant(s) are required to insert in the specification an appropriate incorporation-by-reference statement.

¶ 6.62    Data File on CD-ROM/CD-R Not in ASCII File Format

This application contains a data file on CD-ROM/CD-R that is not in an ASCII file format. See 37 CFR 1.52(e). File [1] is not in an ASCII format. Applicant is required to resubmit file(s) in ASCII format. No new matter may be introduced in presenting the file(s) in ASCII format.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph must be used to indicate whenever a data file (table, computer program listing or Sequence Listing) is submitted in a non-ASCII file format. The file may be in a file format that is proprietary, e.g., a Microsoft Word, Excel or Word Perfect file format; and/or the file may contain non-ASCII characters.
  • 2. In bracket 1, insert the name of the file and whether the file is a non-text proprietary file format and/or contains non-ASCII characters.

The following form paragraphs should be used to respond to amendments which include amended or substituted compact discs.

¶ 6.70.01    CD-ROM/CD-R Requirements (Amendment Does Not Include Statement that CDs are Identical)

The amendment filed [1] is objected to under 37 CFR 1.52(e)(4) because it does not contain a statement in the transmittal letter that the two compact discs are identical. Correction is required.

¶ 6.70.02    CD-ROM/CD-R Requirements (No Listing in Transmittal Letter Submitted With Amendment)

The amendment filed [1] contains data on compact disc(s). Compact disc labeled [2] is not identified in the transmittal letter and/or the transmittal letter does not list for each compact disc, the machine format, the operating system compatibility, a list of files contained on the compact disc including their names, sizes in bytes, and dates of creation, plus any other special information that is necessary to identify, maintain, and interpret the information on the compact disc as required by 37 CFR 1.52(e)(3). A statement listing the required information is required.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. Use this form paragraph when the transmittal letter does not include a listing of the files and required information.
  • 2. In bracket 1, insert the date of the amendment.
  • 3. In bracket 2, insert the name on the label of the compact disc.

¶ 6.71.01    Specification Lacking List of Compact Disc(s) and/or Associated Files (Amendment Filed With Compact Disc(s))

The amendment filed [1] contains data on compact disc(s). Compact disc labeled [2] is not identified in the paper portion of the specification with a listing of all of the files contained on the disc. Applicant is required to amend the specification to identify each disc and the files contained on each disc including the file name, file size, and file creation date. See 37 CFR 1.52(e).

Examiner Note:

  • 1. In bracket 1, insert the date of the amendment.
  • 2. In bracket 2, insert the name on the label of the compact disc.

¶ 6.71.02    Specification Lacking An Incorporation By Reference Statement for the Compact Disc (Amendment Filed With Compact Disc)

The amendment filed [1] amends or adds a compact disc(s). See 37 CFR 1.77(b)(4) and 1.52(e)(5). Applicant is required to update or insert an incorporation-by-reference of the material on the compact disc(s) in the specification.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. Use this form paragraph when the CD-ROM/CD-R is filed with an amendment, but the required incorporation-by-reference statement is neither amended nor added to the specification.
  • 2. In bracket 1, insert the date of the amendment.

¶ 6.72.01    CD-ROM/CD-R Requirements (CDs Not Identical)

The amendment filed [1] is objected to under 37 CFR 1.52(e)(4) because the two compact discs are not identical. Correction is required.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. Use this form paragraph when the two compact discs are not identical.
  • 2. See also form paragraph 6.70.01 where the transmittal letter does not include a statement that the two compact discs are identical.

¶ 6.72.02    Data File, Submitted With Amendment, on CD-ROM/CD-R Not in ASCII File Format

The amendment filed [1] contains a data file on CD-ROM/CD-R that is not in an ASCII file format. File [2] is not in an ASCII format. Applicant is required to resubmit file(s) in ASCII format as required by 37 CFR 1.52(e)(3). No new matter may be introduced in presenting the file(s) in ASCII format.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph must be used whenever a data file (table, computer program listing or Sequence Listing) is submitted in a non-ASCII file format. The file may be in a file format that is proprietary, e.g., a Microsoft Word, Excel or Word Perfect file format; and/or the file contains non-ASCII characters.
  • 2. In bracket 1, insert the date of the amendment.
  • 3. In bracket 2, insert the name of the file and whether the file is a non-text proprietary file format and/or contains non-ASCII characters.

¶ 6.72.03    CD-ROM/CD-R Are Not Readable

The amendment filed [1] contains a data file on CD-ROM/CD-R that is unreadable. Applicant is required to resubmit the file(s) in International Standards Organization (ISO) 9660 standard and American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) format as required by 37 CFR 1.52(e)(3). No new matter may be introduced in presenting the file in ISO 9660 and ASCII format.

¶ 6.72.04    CD-ROM/CD-R Contains Viruses

The amendment filed [1] is objected to because the compact disc contains at least one virus. Correction is required.

¶ 6.72.05    CD-ROM/CD-R Requirements (Missing Files On Amended Compact Disc)

The amendment to the application filed [1] is objected to because the newly submitted compact disc(s) do not contain all of the unamended data file(s) together with the amended data file(s) that were on the CD-ROM/CD-R. Since amendments to a compact disc can only be made by providing a replacement compact disc, the replacement disc must include all of the files, both amended and unamended, to be a complete replacement.

Examiner Note:

Use this form paragraph when a replacement compact disc is submitted that fails to include all of the files on the original compact disc(s) that have not been cancelled by amendment.

608.05(a)   Deposit of Computer Program Listings

37 C.F.R. 1.96   Submission of computer program listings.

  • (a) General. Descriptions of the operation and general content of computer program listings should appear in the description portion of the specification. A computer program listing for the purpose of this section is defined as a printout that lists in appropriate sequence the instructions, routines, and other contents of a program for a computer. The program listing may be either in machine or machine-independent (object or source) language which will cause a computer to perform a desired procedure or task such as solve a problem, regulate the flow of work in a computer, or control or monitor events. Computer program listings may be submitted in patent applications as set forth in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.
  • (b) Material which will be printed in the patent: If the computer program listing is contained in 300 lines or fewer, with each line of 72 characters or fewer, it may be submitted either as drawings or as part of the specification.
    • (1) Drawings. If the listing is submitted as drawings, it must be submitted in the manner and complying with the requirements for drawings as provided in § 1.84. At least one figure numeral is required on each sheet of drawing.
    • (2) Specification.
      • (i) If the listing is submitted as part of the specification, it must be submitted in accordance with the provisions of § 1.52.
      • (ii) Any listing having more than 60 lines of code that is submitted as part of the specification must be positioned at the end of the description but before the claims. Any amendment must be made by way of submission of a substitute sheet.
  • (c) As an appendix which will not be printed: Any computer program listing may, and any computer program listing having over 300 lines (up to 72 characters per line) must, be submitted on a compact disc in compliance with § 1.52(e). A compact disc containing such a computer program listing is to be referred to as a “computer program listing appendix.” The “computer program listing appendix” will not be part of the printed patent. The specification must include a reference to the “computer program listing appendix” at the location indicated in § 1.77(b)(5).
    • (1) Multiple computer program listings for a single application may be placed on a single compact disc. Multiple compact discs may be submitted for a single application if necessary. A separate compact disc is required for each application containing a computer program listing that must be submitted on a “computer program listing appendix.”
    • (2) The “computer program listing appendix” must be submitted on a compact disc that complies with § 1.52(e) and the following specifications (no other format shall be allowed):
      • (i) Computer Compatibility: IBM PC/XT/AT, or compatibles, or Apple Macintosh;
      • (ii) Operating System Compatibility: MS-DOS, MS-Windows, Unix, or Macintosh;
      • (iii) Line Terminator: ASCII Carriage Return plus ASCII Line Feed;
      • (iv) Control Codes: the data must not be dependent on control characters or codes which are not defined in the ASCII character set; and
      • (v) Compression: uncompressed data.

Special procedures for presentation of computer program listings in the form of compact disc files in U.S. national patent applications are set forth in 37 CFR 1.96. Use of compact disc files is desirable in view of the number of computer program listings being submitted as part of the disclosure in patent applications. Such listings are often several hundred pages in length. By filing and publishing such computer program listings on compact discs rather than on paper, substantial cost savings can result to the applicants, the public, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

I.   BACKGROUND

A computer program listing, as used in these rules, means the printout that lists, in proper sequence, the instructions, routines, and other contents of a program for a computer. The listing may be either in machine or machine-independent (object or source) programming language which will cause a computer to perform a desired task, such as solving a problem, regulating the flow of work in computer, or controlling or monitoring events. The general description of the computer program listing will appear in the specification while the computer program listing may appear either directly or as a computer program listing on compact disc appendix to the specification and be incorporated into the specification by reference.

Copies of publicly available computer program listings are available from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on paper and on compact disc at the cost set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(a).

II.   DISCUSSION OF THE BACKGROUND AND MAJOR ISSUES INVOLVED

The provisions of 37 CFR 1.52 and 37 CFR 1.84 for submitting specifications and drawings on paper have been found suitable for most patent applications. However, when lengthy computer program listings must be disclosed in a patent application in order to provide a complete disclosure, use of paper copies can become burdensome. The cost of printing long computer programs in patent documents is also very expensive to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Under 37 CFR 1.96, several different methods for submitting computer program listings, including the use of compact discs, are set forth. A computer program listing contained on three hundred printout lines or less may be submitted either as drawings (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.84), as part of the written specification (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52), or on compact disc (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52(e)). A computer program listing contained on three hundred and one (301) printout lines or more must be submitted as ASCII files on compact discs (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.96(c)).

Form paragraphs 6.64.01 through 6.64.03 may be used to notify the applicant of this requirement.

¶ 6.64.01    Computer Program Listing Appendix on Compact Disc Requirement

The description portion of this application contains a computer program listing consisting of more than three hundred (300) lines. In accordance with 37 CFR 1.96(c), a computer program listing of more than three hundred lines must be submitted as a computer program listing appendix on compact disc conforming to the standards set forth in 37 CFR 1.96(c)(2) and must be appropriately referenced in the specification (see 37 CFR 1.77(b)(5)). Accordingly, applicant is required to cancel the computer program listing appearing in the specification on pages [1], file a computer program listing appendix on compact disc in compliance with 37 CFR 1.96(c), and insert an appropriate reference to the newly added computer program listing appendix on compact disc at the beginning of the specification.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph must be used whenever a computer program listing consisting of more than three hundred lines is included as part of the descriptive portion of the specification if the computer program listing was filed on or after September 8, 2000. See MPEP § 608.05(a).
  • 2. In bracket 1, insert the range of page numbers of the specification which include the computer program listing.

¶ 6.64.02    Computer Program Listing as Printout Within the Specification (More Than 60 Lines And Not More Than Three Hundred Lines)

This application contains a computer program listing of over sixty (60) lines and less than three hundred and one (301) lines within the written specification. In accordance with 37 CFR 1.96(b), a computer program listing contained on over sixty (60) lines and less than three hundred-one (301) lines must, if submitted as part of the specification, be positioned at the end of the specification and before the claims. Accordingly, applicant is required to cancel the computer program listing and either incorporate such listing in a compact disc in compliance with 37 CFR 1.96, or insert the computer program listing after the detailed description of the invention but before the claims, in the form of direct printouts from a computer’s printer with dark solid black letters not less than 0.21 cm. high, on white, unshaded and unlined paper.

Examiner Note:

This form paragraph must be used whenever a computer program listing consisting of a paper printout of more than 60 lines and no more than three hundred lines is included as part of the descriptive portion of the specification and the computer program listing was filed on or after September 8, 2000. See MPEP § 608.05(a).

¶ 6.64.03    Computer Program Listing of More Than Three Hundred Lines

This application contains a computer program listing of more than three hundred (300) lines. In accordance with 37 CFR 1.96(c), a computer program listing contained on more than three hundred (300) lines must be submitted as a computer program listing appendix on compact disc conforming to the standards set forth in 37 CFR 1.96(c)(2) and must be appropriately referenced in the specification (see 37 CFR 1.77(b)(5)). Accordingly, applicant is required to cancel the current computer program listing, file a computer program listing appendix on compact disc in compliance with 37 CFR 1.96(c), and insert an appropriate reference to the newly added computer program listing appendix on compact disc at the beginning of the specification.

Examiner Note:

This form paragraph must be used whenever a computer program listing consisting of a paper printout of more than three hundred lines is filed on or after September 8, 2000.

A computer program listing of more than three hundred lines will not be printed in any patent application publication or patent. See 37 CFR 1.96(c).

III.   OTHER INFORMATION

A computer program listing on compact disc filed with a patent application will be referred to as a Computer Program Listing Appendix on compact disc and will be identified as such on the front page of the patent but will not be part of the printed patent. “Computer Program Listing Appendix on compact disc” denotes the total computer program listing files contained on all compact discs. The face of the file wrapper will bear a label to denote that an appendix on compact disc is included in the application. A statement must be included in the specification to the effect that a computer program listing appendix on compact disc is included in the application. The specification entry must appear at the beginning of the specification following any cross-reference to related applications. 37 CFR 1.77(b)(5). When an application containing compact discs is received in the Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP), an artifact folder will be created. The application file will then proceed on its normal course.

The Office provided for the continuation of prior microfiche appendix practice for computer listings until March 1, 2001. All computer listings as part of the application disclosure filed prior to March 2, 2001 that are in conformance with the microfiche appendix rules as in force on September 7, 2000 may rely on the microfiche and need not submit a computer program listing appendix on compact disc; all computer listings as part of the application disclosure not in conformance with such microfiche appendix rules must conform to the requirements of 37 CFR 1.52 and 37 CFR 1.96 as set forth above.

IV.   TEMPORARY CONTINUATION OF MICROFICHE PRACTICE UNTIL MARCH 1, 2001

Form paragraph 6.64.04 may be used to notify applicant of an unacceptable microfiche appendix.

¶ 6.64.04    “Microfiche Appendix” Unacceptable

The computer program listing filed on [1] as a “microfiche appendix” is unacceptable. A computer program listing conforming to the requirements of 37 CFR 1.96 is required.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph should be used if a “microfiche appendix” was filed after March 1, 2001 or if a “microfiche appendix” filed on or before March 1, 2001 was not in compliance with former rule 37 CFR 1.96(c). See MPEP § 608.05(a).
  • 2. In bracket 1, insert the date the “microfiche appendix” was filed.

608.05(b)   Compact Disc Submissions of Large Tables

37 C.F.R. 1.58   Chemical and mathematical formulae and tables.

*****

  • (b) Tables that are submitted in electronic form (§§ 1.96(c) and 1.821(c)) must maintain the spatial relationships (e.g. , alignment of columns and rows) of the table elements when displayed so as to visually preserve the relational information they convey. Chemical and mathematical formulae must be encoded to maintain the proper positioning of their characters when displayed in order to preserve their intended meaning.

*****

The provisions of 37 CFR 1.52 and 37 CFR 1.58 for submitting specifications and tables on paper have been found suitable for most patent applications. However, when lengthy tables must be disclosed in a patent application in order to provide a complete disclosure, use of paper copies can become burdensome. The cost of printing long tables in patent documents is also very expensive to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In the past, all disclosures forming part of a patent application were presented on paper with the exception of microorganisms and computer program listings. Under 37 CFR 1.58, several different methods for submitting large tables, including the use of CD-ROM and CD-R, are set forth. If CD-R discs are used, 37 CFR 1.52(e)(3)(i) requires that the CD-R discs to be finalized so that they are closed to further writing to the CD-R.

The files stored on the compact disc containing the table must contain only ASCII characters. No special formatting characters or proprietary file formats are permitted. Accordingly, great care must be taken so that the spatial arrangement of the data in rows and columns is maintained in the table when the file is opened for viewing at the Office. This will allow the table to viewed with virtually any text viewer. A single table contained on fifty pages or less must be submitted either as drawings (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.84) or as part of the specification in paper (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52).

A single table contained on 51 pages or more, or if there are multiple tables in an application and the total number of pages of the tables exceeds one hundred pages, the tables may be submitted on a CD-ROM or CD-R (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52(e) and 37 CFR 1.58). A table page is defined in 37 CFR 1.52(e)(1)(iii) as a page printed on paper in conformance with 37 CFR 1.52(b) and 1.58(c). The presentation of a subheading to divide a large table into smaller sections of less than 51 pages should not be used to prevent an applicant from submitting the table on a compact disc unless the subdivided tables are presented as numerous files on the compact disc so as to lose their relationship to the overall large table.

Tables in landscape orientation should be identified as landscape orientation in the transmittal letter accompanying the compact disc to allow the Office to properly upload the tables into the Image File Wrapper (IFW) or other automated systems. 37 CFR 1.52(e)(3)(ii). Most tables filed with patent applications are intended to be rendered in portrait mode. Accordingly, filings without an identification of landscape mode will be rendered as portrait mode tables by the Office.

If tables on more than two hundred consecutive pages, or large numbers of tables (lengthy tables) are submitted on a CD as provided in 37 CFR 1.52(e), or in an electronic format in response to a specific request from the Office of Data Management, these lengthy tables will not be published as part of a patent document (e.g., patent, patent application publication or Statutory Invention Registration (SIR)). The lengthy tables will be published separately on the sequence homepage of the USPTO Web site (http://seqdata.uspto.gov) as an XML file. See, for example, patent application publication nos. US 2003/0235811 A1 and US 2003/0237110 A9.

The Office discourages the embedding of a lengthy table in the specification of a patent application. If a lengthy table is embedded in the specification of a patent application, and if the lengthy table is available in an electronic form (either XML or a format convertible to XML), when the patent, patent application publication or SIR is published, the following single-column statement will be inserted in place of each replaced table in the document.

LENGTHY TABLE

Lengthy table referenced here. Please refer to the end of the specification for access instructions.

When the lengthy tables are separately published on the USPTO Web site, there will be a standardized "Lengthy Table" statement, in the patent document following the detailed description (see 37 CFR 1.77(b)(8)).

For a patent application publication, the following page-wide text would appear:

LENGTHY TABLES

The patent application contains a lengthy table section. A copy of the table is available in electronic form from the USPTO Web site (http://seq data.uspto.gov/?pageRequest=docDetail& docID=[publication number]). An electronic copy of the table will also be available from the USPTO upon request and payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b)(3).

For a patent, the following page-wide text would appear:

LENGTHY TABLES

The patent contains a lengthy table section. A copy of the table is available in electronic form from the USPTO Web site (http://seqdata.uspto.gov/?pageRequest=doc Detail&docID=[patent number]). An electronic copy of the table will also be available from the USPTO upon request and payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b)(3).

For a SIR, the following page-wide text would appear:

LENGTHY TABLES

The statutory invention registration contains a lengthy table section. A copy of the table is available in electronic form from the USPTO Web site (http://seqdata.uspto.gov/?page Request=docDetail&docID =[statutory invention registration number]). An electronic copy of the table will also be available from the USPTO upon request and payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b).

Form paragraphs 6.63.01 and 6.63.02 may be used to notify applicant of corrections needed to comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.52(e) and 37 CFR 1.58(b) with respect to tables.

¶ 6.63.01    CD-ROM/CD-R Requirements (Table Listing in Specification)

The description portion of this application contains a table consisting of less than fifty one (51) pages only on a CD-ROM or CD-R. In accordance with 37 CFR 1.52(e), only a table of at least fifty one (51) pages may be submitted on a CD-ROM or CD-R. Accordingly, applicant is required to cancel the references to the CD-ROM/CD-R table appearing in the specification on pages[1], file a paper version of the table in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52 and change all appropriate references to the former CD-ROM/CD-R table to the newly added paper version of the table in the remainder of the specification.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph must be used whenever a table on a CD-ROM or CD-R consisting of less than fifty one (51) pages as part of the descriptive portion of the specification is filed on or after September 8, 2000. See MPEP § 608.05(b).
  • 2. In bracket 1, insert the range of page numbers of the specification which reference the table.

¶ 6.63.02    Table on CD-ROM/CD-R Column/Row Relationship Not Maintained

This application contains a table on CD-ROM/CD-R. Tables presented on CD-ROM/CD-R in compliance with 37 CFR 1.58 must maintain the spatial orientation of the cell entries. The table submitted does not maintain the data within each table cell in its proper row/column alignment. The data is misaligned in the table as follows: [1]. Applicant is required to submit a replacement compact disc with the table data properly aligned.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph must be used whenever the data in a table cannot be accurately read because the data in the table cells do not maintain their row and column alignments.
  • 2. In bracket 1, insert the area of the table that does not maintain the row and column alignments.

608.05(c)   Submissions of Biological Sequence Listings as ASCII Files

Filing of biological sequence information on compact disc or in text format via EFS-Web is now permitted in lieu of filing on paper. See MPEP § 608.05. See also MPEP § 2420 and § 2422.03 for compact disc filings. See the EFS-Web Legal Framework (http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/ file/efs/guidance/New_legal_framework.jsp) for submissions via EFS-Web. See also MPEP § 502.05.

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