USPTO Publishes Final Guidelines for Determining Utility of Gene-Related Inventions

Press Release

Brigid Quinn

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced that the agency's "Utility Examination Guidelines" have been finalized and will be published in tomorrow's Federal Register. The final guidelines issue after extensive public comment, and differ little from interim guidelines published in December, 1999. The USPTO's patent examiners follow these guidelines when examining patent applications for compliance with the patent statutes.

The utility guidelines are applicable to all areas of technology. However, they are particularly relevant in areas of emerging technologies, such as gene-related technologies, where uses for new materials that have not been fully characterized are not readily apparent.

The guidelines are expected to be available for the public to read/download on the Federal Register website,, on January 5, 2001. The USPTO will post copies of the Guidelines on its website, at as soon as possible after Federal Register publication.

Final guidelines for use by examiners in determining compliance with the written description provisions of patent law will also be published in the Federal Register on January 5, 2001. Guidelines for written description will be posted on the USPTO website after Federal Register publication.