Public Comments on Guidelines for Determining Utility of Gene-Related Patents

Press Release

Brigid Quinn

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced that it has released comments from the public in response to the agency's December 21, 1999, publication of its "Revised Interim Utility Examination Guidelines" and "Revised Interim Guidelines for Examination of Patent Applications, Written Description Requirement." The USPTO's patent examiners follow these guidelines when examining patent applications for compliance with the patent statutes.

When the comment period closed on March 22, over 40 comments addressing the Utility Guidelines and over 60 comments addressing the Written Description Guidelines had been received. While the guidelines apply to examination of all utility patents, the majority of the public comments were addressed to the application of the guidelines to gene-related inventions and discoveries. It is expected that final guidelines will be published by fall 2000.

The comments are available for the public to read/download on USPTO's web site, . The direct link to the comments on the Utility Guidelines is The direct link to the comments on the Written Description Guidelines is A paper copy of the comments can be inspected at the Office of the Solicitor, Suite 714, Crystal Park 2, 2121 Crystal Drive, Arlington, Va.