Requirements of a petition

Each petition has the following five (5) general requirements:

  • MUST be in writing, 37 CFR 1.2:

All business with the USPTO is transacted in writing. The petition should be directed to the USPTO official delegated the authority to decide that petition. See MPEP Chapter 1000. Since different matters may be considered by different branches or sections of the USPTO, each distinct subject, inquiry or request should be contained in a separate paper to avoid confusion and delay in answering papers dealing with different subjects. 37 CFR 1.4(c).

  • MUST contain a statement of facts involved, the point(s) to be reviewed and the action requested, 37 CFR 1.181(b):

The care and completeness with which petitions are drafted can clearly influence the decision rendered. 37 CFR 1.181(b) sets forth the general requirements for the content of a petition. The petition must contain a statement of the facts involved, the point(s) to be reviewed and the action or relief requested. The petition submitted should be as complete as possible and any evidence necessary should be submitted. Any error(s) in a requirement or action on the part of the USPTO should be clearly set forth with the reasons why such requirement or action is considered improper.

  • MUST be accompanied by a fee, if required, in order to avoid the petition being summarily dismissed, 37 CFR 1.181(d):

To avoid a petition being summarily dismissed for lack or insufficient fee, petitioner should make certain that the correct petition fee is submitted along with the petition. See the current fee information for guidance.

  • MUST be timely filed, as required in 37 CFR 1.181(f), or as required in a specific statute or regulation:

Generally a petition not filed within two (2) months from the action complained of may be dismissed as untimely. Further, the mere filing of a petition will not stay the period for replying to an examiner's action that may be running against an application or act as a stay of other proceedings. 37 CFR 1.181(f).

  • MUST comply with any specific requirements as provided by statute, regulation, or USPTO policy:

Care should be taken to review the applicable statute, regulation or USPTO policy to determine if there are other requirements that need to be met in submitting the petition.

For the relevant patent laws and rules applicable to Requirements of a Petition, please see:

  • 37 CFR 1.2, Business to be transacted in writing;
  • 37 CFR 1.4, Nature of correspondence and signature requirements;
  • 37 CFR 1.181, Petition to the Director;
  • MPEP § 1000, Matters decided by various U. S. Patent and Trademark Office officials; and
  • MPEP § 1002.02(b), Petitions and requests decided by the Deputy Commissioner Who Oversees the Office of Petitions or Assigned Staff in the Office of Petitions, the Office of Patent Legal Administration and the MPEP Staff Office.

For further assistance, please contact the Petitions Help Desk between 8:30 AM - 5 PM (EDT).


The Federal Register is the authoritative source and should be consulted if a need arises to verify the authenticity of the language for any CFR citation.  Because fee schedule changes may not be reflected in the most recent version of the MPEP, please consult the USPTO Fee Schedule to determine current fee amounts.