Friday, September 28, 2007

USPTO Releases Draft Form for "Related Applications"

The USPTO has released a draft form (SB 206) for identifying "related applications" under the continuation rule changes. 37 CFR 1.78(f) will become effective on November 1, 2007, and the deadline for complying with the new provisions regarding related applications is February 1, 2008.

To download a copy of the form, click here (link).

Instructions:

Notes

Under 37 CFR 1.78(f)(1), applicant in a nonprovisional application that has not been allowed (37 CFR 1.311) must identify by application number (i.e., series code and serial number) and patent number (if applicable) each other pending or patented nonprovisional application, in a separate paper, for which the following conditions are met:

(A) The nonprovisional application has a filing date that is the same as or within two months of the filing date of the other pending or patented nonprovisional application, taking into account any filing date for which a benefit is sought under title 35, United States Code;

(B) The nonprovisional application names at least one inventor in common with the other pending or patented nonprovisional application; and

(C) The nonprovisional application is owned by the same person, or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same person, as the other pending or patented nonprovisional application.

Under 37 CFR 1.78(f)(2)(i), a rebuttable presumption shall exist that a nonprovisional application contains at least one claim that is not patentably distinct from at least one of the claims in another pending or patented nonprovisional application if the following conditions are met:

(A) The nonprovisional application has a filing date that is the same as the filing date of the other pending or patented nonprovisional application, taking into account any filing date for which a benefit is sought under title 35, United States Code;

(B) The nonprovisional application names at least one inventor in common with the other pending or patented nonprovisional application;

(C) The nonprovisional application is owned by the same person, or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same person, as the other pending or patented nonprovisional application; and

(D) The nonprovisional application and the other pending or patented nonprovisional application contain substantial overlapping disclosure. Substantial overlapping disclosure exists if the other pending or patented nonprovisional application has written description support under the first paragraph of 35 U.S.C. 112 for at least one claim in the nonprovisional application.

Instructions:

(1) In the column on the right, list the numbers of the applications and patents that meet the conditions set forth in 37 CFR 1.78(f)(1)(i). For supplemental lists, please do not list previously submitted applications and patents.

(2) In the first column on the left, place a check mark in the box if the cited application or patent also meets the conditions set forth in CFR 1.78(f)(2)(i) and applicant attached an explanation of how the application contains only claims that are patentably distinct from the claims in the cited application or patent.

(3) Place a check mark in the box in the second column on the left, if the cited application or patent also meets the conditions set forth in CFR 1.78(f)(2)(i) and applicant attached a terminal disclaimer in accordance with 37 CFR 1.321(c).

(4) Place a check mark in the box in the third column on the left, if applicant also attached an explanation why there are two or more pending nonprovisional applications containing patentably indistinct claims. See 37 CFR 1.78(f)(2)(ii)(B).

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