Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP)
Chapter 700: Examination of Applications

Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 07.2015, Last Revised in November 2015

Chapter 700: Examination of Applications

701: Statutory Authority for Examination

702: Requisites of the Application

702.01: Obviously Informal Cases

703: [Reserved]

704: Search and Requirements for Information

704.01: Search

704.02-704.09: [Reserved]

704.10: Requirements for Information

704.11: What Information May Be Required

704.11(a): Examples of Information Reasonably Required

704.11(b): When May a Requirement for Information Be Made

704.12: Replies to a Requirement for Information

704.12(a): Relationship of Requirement for Information to Duty of Disclosure

704.12(b): What Constitutes a Complete Reply

704.12(c): Treatment of an Incomplete Reply

704.13: Time Periods for Reply

704.14: Making a Requirement for Information

704.14(a): Format of the Requirement

704.14(b): Examiner’s Obligation Following Applicant’s Reply

704.14(c): Petitions to Requirements Under 37 CFR 1.105

704.14(d): Relationship to Information Disclosure Statements

705: Patentability Reports

705.01: Instructions re Patentability Reports

705.01(a): Nature of P.R., Its Use and Disposal

705.01(b): Sequence of Examination

705.01(c): Counting and Recording P.R.s

705.01(d): [Reserved]

705.01(e): Limitation as to Use

705.01(f): Interviews With Applicants

706: Rejection of Claims

706.01: Contrasted With Objections

706.02: Rejection on Prior Art

706.02(a): Rejections Under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) and (a)(2) and Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a), (b), or (e); Printed Publication or Patent

706.02(a)(1): Determining Whether To Apply 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) or 102(a)(2)

706.02(a)(2): Determining Whether To Apply Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a), (b), or (e)

706.02(b): Overcoming a 35 U.S.C. 102 Rejection Based on a Printed Publication or Patent

706.02(b)(1): Overcoming a 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) or 102(a)(2) Rejection Based on a Printed Publication or Patent

706.02(b)(2): Overcoming a Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a), (b), or (e) Rejection Based on a Printed Publication or Patent

706.02(c): Rejections Under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) or Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) or (b); Knowledge by Others or Public Use or Sale

706.02(c)(1) -Rejections under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1); Public Use or Public Sale
706.02(c)(2): Rejections under Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) and (b); Public Use or On Sale

706.02(d): Rejections Under Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(c)

706.02(e): Rejections Under Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(d)

706.02(f): Rejection Under Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e)

706.02(f)(1): Examination Guidelines for Applying References Under Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e)

706.02(f)(2): Provisional Rejections Under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) or Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e); Reference Is a Copending U.S. Patent Application

706.02(g): Rejections Under Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(f)

706.02(h): Rejections Under Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(g)

706.02(i): Form Paragraphs for Use in Rejections Under 35 U.S.C. 102

706.02(j): Contents of a 35 U.S.C. 103 Rejection

706.02(k): Provisional Rejection (Obviousness) Under 35 U.S.C. 103 Using Provisional Prior Art Under Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e)

706.02(l): Rejections Under Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(a) Using Prior Art Under Only Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 (e), (f), or (g)

706.02(l)(1): Rejections Under Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(a) Using Prior Art Under Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e), (f), or (g); Prior Art Disqualification Under Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(c)

706.02(l)(2): Establishing Common Ownership or Joint Research Agreement Under Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(c)

706.02(l)(3): Examination Procedure With Respect to Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(c)

706.02(m): Form Paragraphs for Use in Rejections Under 35 U.S.C. 103

706.02(n): Biotechnology Process Applications; Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(b)

706.03: Rejections Not Based on Prior Art

706.03(a): Rejections Under 35 U.S.C. 101

706.03(b): Barred by Atomic Energy Act

706.03(c): Rejections Under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, First Paragraph

706.03(d): Rejections Under 35 U.S.C. 112(b) or Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, Second Paragraph

706.03(e): Form Paragraphs for Use Relating to 35 U.S.C. 112(f) or Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, Sixth Paragraph

706.03(f) - 706.03(j): [Reserved]

706.03(k): Duplicate Claims

706.03(l): [Reserved]

706.03(m): Nonelected Inventions

706.03(n): [Reserved]

706.03(o): New Matter

706.03(p) - 706.03(r): [Reserved]

706.03(s): Foreign Filing Without License

706.03(t): [Reserved]

706.03(u): Disclaimer

706.03(v): After Interference or Former Public Use Proceeding

706.03(w): Res Judicata

706.03(x): Reissue

706.04: Rejection of Previously Allowed Claims

706.05: Rejection After Allowance of Application

706.06: Rejection of Claims Copied From Patent

706.07: Final Rejection

706.07(a): Final Rejection, When Proper on Second Action

706.07(b): Final Rejection, When Proper on First Action

706.07(c): Final Rejection, Premature

706.07(d): Final Rejection, Withdrawal of, Premature

706.07(e): Withdrawal of Final Rejection, General

706.07(f): Time for Reply to Final Rejection

706.07(g): Transitional After-Final Practice

706.07(h): Request for Continued Examination (RCE) Practice

707: Examiner’s Letter or Action

707.01: Primary Examiner Indicates Action for New Assistant

707.02: Applications Up for Third Action and 5-Year Applications

707.03‑707.04: [Reserved]

707.05: Citation of References

707.05(a): Copies of Cited References

707.05(b): Citation of Related Art and Information by Applicants

707.05(c): Order of Listing

707.05(d): Reference Cited in Subsequent Actions

707.05(e): Data Used in Citing References

707.05(f): [Reserved]

707.05(g): Incorrect Citation of References

707.06: Citation of Decisions, Orders Memorandums, and Notices

707.07: Completeness and Clarity of Examiner’s Action

707.07(a): Complete Action on Formal Matters

707.07(b) - 707.07(c): [Reserved]

707.07(d): Language To Be Used in Rejecting Claims

707.07(e): Note All Outstanding Requirements

707.07(f): Answer All Material Traversed

707.07(g): Piecemeal Examination

707.07(h): Notify of Inaccuracies in Amendment

707.07(i): Each Claim To Be Mentioned in Each Office Action

707.07(j): State When Claims Are Allowable

707.07(k): Numbering Paragraphs

707.07(l): Comment on Examples

707.08: Reviewing and Initialing by Assistant Examiner

707.09: Signing by Primary or Other Authorized Examiner

707.10: Entry

707.11: Date

707.12: Mailing

707.13: Returned Office Action

708: Order of Examination

708.01: List of Special Cases

708.02: Petition To Make Special

708.02(a): Accelerated Examination

708.02(b): Prioritized Examination

708.02(c): Patent Prosecution Highway Program

708.03: Examiner Tenders Resignation

709: Suspension of Action

709.01: Overlapping Applications by Same Applicant or Owned by Same Assignee

710: Period for Reply

710.01: Statutory Period

710.01(a): Statutory Period, How Computed

710.02: Shortened Statutory Period and Time Limit Actions Computed

710.02(a): [Reserved]

710.02(b): Shortened Statutory Period: Situations in Which Used

710.02(c): Specified Time Limits: Situations in Which Used

710.02(d): Difference Between Shortened Statutory Periods for Reply and Specified Time Limits

710.02(e): Extension of Time

710.03: [Reserved]

710.04: Two Periods Running

710.04(a): Copying Patent Claims

710.05: Period Ending on Saturday, Sunday, or a Federal Holiday

710.06: Situations When Reply Period Is Reset or Restarted

711: Abandonment of Patent Application

711.01: Express or Formal Abandonment

711.02: Failure To Take Required Action During Statutory Period

711.02(a): Insufficiency of Reply

711.02(b): Special Situations Involving Abandonment

711.02(c): Termination of Proceedings

711.03: Reconsideration of Holding of Abandonment; Revival

711.03(a): Holding Based on Insufficiency of Reply

711.03(b): Holding Based on Failure To Reply Within Period

711.03(c): Petitions Relating to Abandonment

711.03(d): Examiner’s Statement on Petition To Set Aside Examiner’s Holding

711.04: Public Access to Abandoned Applications

711.04(a): Date of Abandonment

711.04(b): Ordering of Patented and Abandoned Files

711.04(c): Notifying Applicants of Abandonment

711.05: Letter of Abandonment Received After Application Is Allowed

711.06: Abstracts, Abbreviatures, and Defensive Publications

711.06(a): Citation and Use of Abstracts, Abbreviatures, and Defensive Publications as References

712: [Reserved]

713: Interviews

713.01: General Policy, How Conducted

713.02: Interviews Prior to First Official Action

713.03: Interview for “Sounding Out” Examiner Not Permitted

713.04: Substance of Interview Must Be Made of Record

713.05: Interviews Prohibited or Granted, Special Situations

713.06: No Inter Partes Questions Discussed Ex Parte

713.07: Exposure of Other Cases

713.08: Demonstration, Exhibits, Models

713.09: Finally Rejected Application

713.10: Interview Preceding Filing Amendment Under 37 CFR 1.312

714: Amendments, Applicant’s Action

714.01: Signatures to Amendments

714.01(a): Unsigned or Improperly Signed Amendment

714.01(b): [Reserved]

714.01(c): Signed by Attorney or Agent Not of Record

714.01(d): Amendment Signed by Applicant but Not by Attorney or Agent of Record

714.01(e): Amendments Before First Office Action

714.02: Must Be Fully Responsive

714.03: Amendments Not Fully Responsive, Action To Be Taken

714.03(a): Supplemental Amendment

714.04: Claims Presented in Amendment With No Attempt To Point Out Patentable Novelty

714.05: Examiner Should Immediately Review

714.06: [Reserved]

714.07: Amendments Not in Permanent Ink

714.08-714.09: [Reserved]

714.10: Claims Added in Excess of Claims Previously Paid For

714.11: Amendment Filed During Interference Proceedings

714.12: Amendments and Other Replies After Final Rejection or Action

714.13: Amendments and Other Replies After Final  Rejection or Action, Procedure Followed

714.14: Amendments After Allowance of All Claims

714.15: Amendment Received in Technology Center After Mailing of Notice of Allowance

714.16: Amendment After Notice of Allowance, 37 CFR 1.312

714.16(a): Amendments Under 37 CFR 1.312, Copied Patent Claims

714.16(b): Amendments Under 37 CFR 1.312 Filed With a Motion Under 37 CFR 41.208

714.16(c): Amendments Under 37 CFR 1.312, Additional Claims

714.16(d): Amendments Under 37 CFR 1.312, Handling

714.16(e): Amendments Under 37 CFR 1.312, Entry in Part

714.17: Amendment Filed After the Period for Reply Has Expired

714.18: Entry of Amendments

714.19: List of Amendments, Entry Denied

714.20: List of Amendments Entered in Part

714.21: Amendments Inadvertently Entered, No Legal Effect

714.22-714.24: [Reserved]

714.25: Discourtesy of Applicant or Attorney

715: Swearing Behind a Reference — Affidavit or Declaration Under 37 CFR 1.131(a)

715.01-37 CFR 1.131(a) Affidavits Versus 37 CFR 1.132 Affidavits
715.01(a): Reference Is a Joint Patent or Published Application to Applicant and Another

715.01(b): Reference and Application Have Common Assignee

715.01(c): Reference Is Publication of Applicant’s Own Invention

715.01(d): Activities Applied Against the Claims

715.02: How Much of the Claimed Invention Must Be Shown, Including the General Rule as to Generic Claims

715.03: Genus-Species, Practice Relative to Cases Where Predictability Is in Question

715.04: Who May Make Affidavit or Declaration Under 37 CFR 1.131(a); Formal Requirements of Affidavits and Declarations

715.05: U.S. Patent or Application Publication Claiming Same Invention

715.06: [Reserved]

715.07: Facts and Documentary Evidence

715.07(a): Diligence

715.07(b): Interference Testimony Sometimes Used

715.07(c): Acts Relied Upon Must Have Been Carried Out in This Country or a NAFTA or WTO Member Country

715.07(d): Disposition of Exhibits

715.08: Decided by Primary Examiner

715.09: Timely Presentation

715.10: Review of Affidavit or Declaration for Evidence of Prior Public Use or Sale or Failure to Disclose Best Mode

716: Affidavits or Declarations Traversing Rejections, 37 CFR 1.132

716.01: Generally Applicable Criteria

716.01(a): Objective Evidence of Nonobviousness

716.01(b): Nexus Requirement and Evidence of Nonobviousness

716.01(c): Probative Value of Objective Evidence

716.01(d): Weighing Objective Evidence

716.02: Allegations of Unexpected Results

716.02(a): Evidence Must Show Unexpected Results

716.02(b): Burden on Applicant

716.02(c): Weighing Evidence of Expected and Unexpected Results

716.02(d): Unexpected Results Commensurate in Scope With Claimed Invention

716.02(e): Comparison With Closest Prior Art

716.02(f): Advantages Disclosed or Inherent

716.02(g): Declaration or Affidavit Form

716.03: Commercial Success

716.03(a): Commercial Success Commensurate in Scope With Claimed Invention

716.03(b): Commercial Success Derived From Claimed Invention

716.04: Long-Felt Need and Failure of Others

716.05: Skepticism of Experts

716.06: Copying

716.07: Inoperability of References

716.08: Utility and Operability of Applicant’s Disclosure

716.09: Sufficiency of Disclosure

716.10: Attribution Affidavit or Declaration to Overcome Rejection Under Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 or 103

717: Prior Art Exceptions under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1) and (2)

717.01: Affidavit or Declaration Under 37 CFR 1.130

717.01(a) -Declarations or Affidavits under 37 CFR 1.130(a) – Attribution
717.01(a)(1) -Evaluation of Declarations or Affidavits under 37 CFR 1.130(a)
717.01(b) -Declarations or Affidavits under 37 CFR 1.130(b) – Prior Public Disclosure
717.01(b)(1) -Evaluation of Declarations or Affidavits under 37 CFR 1.130(b)
717.01(b)(2) -Determining if the Subject Matter of the Intervening Disclosure is the Same as the Subject Matter of the Inventor–Originated Prior Public Disclosure
717.01(c) -Who May Make Affidavit or Declaration; Formal Requirements of Affidavits and Declarations
717.01(d): U.S. Patent or Application Publication Claiming Same Invention

717.01(e) -Passed Upon (or Decided by) by Primary Examiner
717.01(f) -Seasonable (or Timely) Presentation
717.02 -Prior Art Exception for Commonly Owned or Joint Research Agreement Subject Matter under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C)
717.02(a) -Invoking the Prior Art Exception under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C)
717.02(b) -Evaluating Whether the Prior Art Exception under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) is Properly Invoked
717.02(c) -Examination Procedure With Respect to the Prior Art Exception under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C)
717.02(d) -Form Paragraphs With Respect to the Prior Art Exception under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C)
718: Affidavit or Declaration to Disqualify Commonly Owned Patent as Prior Art, 37 CFR 1.131(c)

719: File Wrapper

719.01: Papers in Image File Wrapper

719.02: Residence of Inventor Changed

719.03: Classification During Examination

719.04: Index of Claims

719.05: Field of Search

720: Public Use Proceedings

721‑723: [Reserved]

724: Trade Secret, Proprietary, and Protective Order Materials

724.01: Completeness of the Patent File Wrapper

724.02: Method of Submitting Trade Secret, Proprietary, and/or Protective Order Materials

724.03: Types of Trade Secret, Proprietary, and/or Protective Order Materials Submitted Under MPEP § 724.02

724.04: Office Treatment and Handling of Materials Submitted Under MPEP § 724.02

724.04(a): Materials Submitted in an Application Covered by 35 U.S.C. 122

724.04(b): Materials Submitted in Reissue Applications Open to the Public Under 37 CFR 1.11(b)

724.04(c): Materials Submitted in Reexamination File Open to the Public Under 37 CFR 1.11(d)

724.05: Petition To Expunge Information or Copy of Papers in Application File

724.06: Handling of Petitions To Expunge Information or Copy of Papers in Application File