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2152 Detailed Discussion of AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) and (b) [R-11.2013]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2131-MPEP § 2138 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) defines the prior art that will preclude the grant of a patent on a claimed invention unless an exception in AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b) is applicable. Specifically, AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) provides that:

[a] person shall be entitled to a patent unless—

  • (1) the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention; or
  • (2) the claimed invention was described in a patent issued under section 151, or in an application for patent published or deemed published under section 122(b), in which the patent or application, as the case may be, names another inventor and was effectively filed before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.

As an initial matter, Office personnel should note that the introductory phrase "[a] person shall be entitled to a patent unless" remains unchanged from the pre-AIA version of 35 U.S.C. 102. Thus, 35 U.S.C. 102 continues to provide that the Office bears the initial burden of explaining why the applicable statutory or regulatory requirements have not been met if a claim in an application is to be rejected. The AIA also does not change the requirement that whenever a claim for a patent is rejected or an objection or requirement is made, the Office shall notify the applicant thereof and state the reasons for such rejection, objection, or requirement, and provide such information and references as may be useful to the applicant in judging of the propriety of continuing the prosecution of the application. See 35 U.S.C. 132, 37 CFR 1.104(c) and MPEP § 706.

The categories of prior art documents and activities are set forth in AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) and the categories of prior art patent documents are set forth in AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2). These documents and activities are used to determine whether a claimed invention is novel or nonobvious. The documents upon which a prior art rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) may be based are an issued patent, a published application, and a non-patent printed publication. The documents upon which a prior art rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) may be based are U.S. patent documents only (see discussion of U.S. patent documents in MPEP § 2151). Evidence that the claimed invention was in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public may also be used as the basis for a prior art rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1). Note that a printed publication that does not have a sufficiently early publication date to itself qualify as prior art under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) may be competent evidence of a previous public use, sale activity, or other availability of a claimed invention to the public where the public use, sale activity, or other public availability does have a sufficiently early date to qualify as prior art under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1). See In re Epstein, 32 F.3d 1559, 31 USPQ2d 1817 (Fed. Cir. 1994) and MPEP § 2133.03(b), subsection III.C.

AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b) sets out exceptions to AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a), in that prior art that otherwise would be included in AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) shall not be prior art if it falls within an exception under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b).

Exceptions to the categories of prior art defined in AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) are provided in AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1). Specifically, AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1) states that "[a] disclosure made 1 year or less before the effective filing date of a claimed invention shall not be prior art to the claimed invention under subsection (a)(1) if—

  • (A) the disclosure was made by the inventor or a joint inventor or by another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor; or
  • (B) the subject matter disclosed had, before such disclosure, been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor or another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor."

Exceptions to the categories of prior art defined in AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) are provided in AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2). Specifically, AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2) states that "[a] disclosure shall not be prior art to a claimed invention under subsection (a)(2) if—

  • (A) the subject matter disclosed was obtained directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor;
  • (B) the subject matter disclosed had, before such subject matter was effectively filed under subsection (a)(2), been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor or another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor; or
  • (C) the subject matter disclosed and the claimed invention, not later than the effective filing date of the claimed invention, were owned by the same person or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same person."

Although some of the provisions of AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) and (b) are similar to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a), (b), and (e), the AIA has introduced a number of important changes with respect to prior art documents and activities (collectively, "disclosures"). First, the availability of a U.S. patent document as prior art to a claimed invention is measured from the effective filing date of the claimed invention as defined in 35 U.S.C. 100(i), which takes into account both foreign priority and domestic benefit dates. Note that this differs from practice under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 wherein the availability of a patent document as prior art is measured from either "the date of the application for patent in the United States" (pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)) or "the invention thereof by the applicant for patent" (pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) and (e)). Second, the AIA adopts a global view of prior art disclosures and thus does not require that a public use or sale activity be "in this country" to be a prior art activity. Finally, a catch-all "otherwise available to the public" category of prior art is added.

2152.01 Effective Filing Date of the Claimed Invention [R-10.2019]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2131-MPEP § 2138 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) and (e) reference patent-defeating activities occurring before the applicant invented the claimed invention. AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) and (a)(2) make no mention of the date of the invention, but instead concern documents that existed or activities that occurred "before the effective filing date of the claimed invention." As a result, it is no longer possible to antedate or "swear behind" certain prior art disclosures by making a showing under 37 CFR 1.131 that the applicant invented the claimed subject matter prior to the effective date of the prior art disclosure.

The AIA defines the term "effective filing date" for a claimed invention in a patent or application for patent (other than a reissue application or reissued patent) as the earliest of: (1) the actual filing date of the patent or the application for the patent containing the claimed invention; or (2) the filing date of the earliest application for which the patent or application is entitled, as to such invention, to a right of priority or the benefit of an earlier filing date under 35 U.S.C. 119, 120, 121, 365, or 386. See 35 U.S.C. 100(i)(1).

In examining applications subject to AIA 35 U.S.C. 102, the effective filing date is the actual filing date of the U.S. application, unless situation (A), (B), (C), or (D) as set forth below applies. Note that the actual filing date of an application that entered the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371 is the international filing date (see 35 U.S.C. 363 and MPEP § 1893.03(b)); the actual the filing date of an international design application in the United States is the date of international registration determined by the International Bureau under the Hague Agreement (in the absence of a petition for review)(see 37 CFR 1.1023 and MPEP § 2908).

  • (A) If the application is a continuation or divisional of one or more earlier U.S. applications or international applications and if the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 120, 365(c), or 386(c) have been satisfied, the effective filing date is the same as the earliest filing date in the line of continuation or divisional applications.
  • (B) If the application is a continuation-in-part of an earlier U.S. application or international application, any claims in the new application not supported by the specification and claims of the parent application have an effective filing date equal to the actual filing date of the new application. Any claims which are fully supported under 35 U.S.C. 112 by the earlier parent application have the effective filing date of that earlier parent application.
  • (C) If the application properly claims benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) to a provisional application, the effective filing date is the filing date of the provisional application for any claims which are fully supported under 35 U.S.C. 112 by the provisional application.
  • (D) If the application claims foreign priority under 35 U.S.C. 119(a)-(d), 365(a) or (b), or 386(a) or (b), the effective filing date is the filing date of the foreign priority document if the claim is adequately supported in the foreign priority document.

See MPEP § 1893.03(c) for a discussion of claims for priority to, or the benefit of, the filing date of a prior-filed foreign or domestic application in an application that entered the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371. See MPEP §§ 211.01(c) and 1895 for additional information on determining the effective filing date of a continuation, divisional, or continuation-in-part of a PCT application designating the U.S. See also MPEP §§ 1895.01 and 1896 which discuss differences between applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) and international applications that enter national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371.

See MPEP §§ 2920.05(d) and 2920.05(e) for a discussion of claims for priority to, or the benefit of, the filing date of a prior-filed foreign or domestic application in international design applications.

The one-year grace period (as defined in MPEP § 2151) in AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1) is measured from the filing date of any U.S. or foreign patent application to which the patent or application is entitled to benefit or priority as to such invention, whereas the one-year grace period in pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b) is measured from only the filing date of the earliest application filed in the United States (directly or through the PCT).

As under pre-AIA law, the effective filing date of a claimed invention is determined on a claim-by-claim basis and not an application-by-application basis. That is, the principle that different claims in the same application may be entitled to different effective filing dates vis-à-vis the prior art remains unchanged by the AIA. See MPEP § 2133.01 for a discussion of relevant pre-AIA case law in the context of continuation-in-part applications. However, it is important to note that although prior art is applied on a claim-by-claim basis, the determination of whether pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 35 U.S.C. 103 or AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 apply is made on an application-by-application basis. MPEP § 2151 and MPEP § 2159 discuss the applicability date provisions of section 3 of the AIA.

Finally, the AIA provides that the "effective filing date" for a claimed invention in a reissued patent or application for a reissue patent shall be determined by deeming the claim to the claimed invention to have been contained in the patent for which reissue was sought. See 35 U.S.C. 100(i)(2).

2152.02 Prior Art Under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) (Patented, Described in a Printed Publication, or in Public Use, on Sale, or Otherwise Available to the Public) [R-08.2017]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2131-MPEP § 2138 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

Prior art documents and activities which may preclude patentability are set forth in AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1). Such documents and activities include prior patenting of the claimed invention, descriptions of the claimed invention in a printed publication, public use of the claimed invention, placing the claimed invention on sale, and otherwise making the claimed invention available to the public. MPEP §§ 2152.02(a)2152.02(f) discuss each prior art document and activity that might preclude patentability under AIA in turn.35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1)

2152.02(a) Patented [R-11.2013]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2131-MPEP § 2138 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) indicates that a prior patent of a claimed invention will preclude the grant of a subsequent patent on the claimed invention. This means that if a claimed invention was patented in this or a foreign country before the effective filing date of the claimed invention, AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) precludes the grant of a patent on the claimed invention. The effective date of the patent for purposes of determining whether the patent qualifies as prior art under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) is the grant date of the patent. There is an exception to this rule if the patent is secret as of the date the rights are awarded. See In re Ekenstam, 256 F.2d 321, 323, 118 USPQ 349, 353 (CCPA 1958); see also MPEP § 2126.01. In such situations, the patent is available as prior art as of the date the patent was made available to the public by being laid open for public inspection or disseminated in printed form. See In re Carlson, 983 F.2d 1032, 1037, 25 USPQ2d 1207 (Fed. Cir. 1992); see also MPEP § 2126. The phrase "patented" in AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) has the same meaning as "patented" in pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) and (b). For a discussion of "patented" as used in pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) and (b), see generally MPEP § 2126.

Although an invention may be described in a patent and not claimed therein, the grant date would also be the applicable prior art date for purposes of relying on the subject matter disclosed therein as "described in a printed publication," provided that the patent was made available to the public on its grant date. Note that a U.S. patent that issues after the effective filing date of a claimed invention and is not available as prior art against that invention under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) could be available as prior art under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2).

2152.02(b) Described in a Printed Publication [R-11.2013]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2131-MPEP § 2138 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

If a claimed invention is described in a patent, published patent application, or printed publication, such a document may be available as prior art under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1). Both pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) and (b) and AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) use the term "described" with respect to an invention in a prior art printed publication. Likewise, AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) uses that term with respect to U.S. patents, U.S. patent application publications, and WIPO published applications. Thus, the Office does not view the AIA as changing the extent to which a claimed invention must be described for a prior art document to anticipate the claimed invention under 35 U.S.C. 102.

While the conditions for patentability of AIA 35 U.S.C. 112(a) require a written description of the claimed invention that would have enabled a person skilled in the art to make as well as use the invention, the prior art provisions of AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) and (a)(2) require only that the claimed invention is "described" in a prior art document (patent, published patent application, or printed publication). The two basic requirements that must be met by a prior art document in order to describe a claimed invention such that it is anticipated under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 are the same as those under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102. First, "each and every element of the claimed invention" must be disclosed either explicitly or inherently, and the elements must be "arranged or combined in the same way as in the claim." See In re Gleave, 560 F.3d 1331, 1334, 90 USPQ2d 1235, 1237-38 (Fed. Cir. 2009), citing Eli Lilly & Co. v. Zenith Goldline Pharms., Inc., 471 F.3d 1369, 1375, 81 USPQ2d 1324,1328 (Fed. Cir. 2006); Net MoneyIN, Inc. v. VeriSign, Inc., 545 F.3d 1359, 1370, 88 USPQ2d 1751, 1759 (Fed. Cir. 2008); In re Bond, 910 F.2d 831, 832-33, 15 USPQ2d 1566, 1567 (Fed. Cir. 1990). Second, a person of ordinary skill in the art must have been enabled to make the invention without undue experimentation. See Gleave, 560 F.3d at 1334, 90 USPQ2d at 1238 (citing Impax Labs., Inc. v. Aventis Pharms. Inc., 545 F.3d 1312, 1314, 88 USPQ2d 1381, 1383 (Fed. Cir. 2008), and In re LeGrice, 301 F.2d 929, 940-44, 133 USPQ 365, 372 (CCPA 1962)). Thus, in order for a prior art document to describe a claimed invention such that it is anticipated under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) or (a)(2), it must disclose all elements of the claimed invention arranged as they are in the claim, and also provide sufficient guidance to enable a person skilled in the art to make the claimed invention. There is, however, no requirement that a prior art document meet the "how to use" requirement of 35 U.S.C. 112(a) in order to qualify as prior art. See Gleave, 560 F.3d at 1334, 90 USPQ2d at 1237-38; see also In re Schoenwald, 964 F.2d 1122, 1124, 22 USPQ2d 1671, 1673 (Fed. Cir. 1992) (holding that a claimed compound was anticipated even though the prior art reference did not disclose a use for the compound); Schering Corp. v. Geneva Pharms., Inc., 339 F.3d 1373, 1380-81, 67 USPQ2d 1664, 1670 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (pointing out that actually reducing the invention to practice is not necessary in order for a prior art reference to anticipate); Impax Labs, 468 F.3d at 1382 (stating that "proof of efficacy is not required for a prior art reference to be enabling for purposes of anticipation"). Furthermore, compliance with the "how to make" requirement is judged from the viewpoint of a person of ordinary skill in the art, and thus does not require that the prior art document explicitly disclose information within the knowledge of such a person. See In re Donohue, 766 F.2d 531, 533, 226 USPQ 619, 621 (Fed. Cir. 1985).

There is an additional important distinction between the written description that is necessary to support a claim under 35 U.S.C. 112(a) and the description sufficient to anticipate the subject matter of the claim under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) or (a)(2). See Rasmussen v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., 413 F.3d 1318, 75 USPQ2d 1297 (Fed. Cir. 2005). To provide support for a claim under 35 U.S.C. 112(a), it is necessary that the specification describe and enable the entire scope of the claimed invention. However, in order for a prior art document to describe a claimed invention under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) or (a)(2), the prior art document need only describe and enable one skilled in the art to make a single species or embodiment of the claimed invention. See Vas-Cath Inc. v. Mahurkar, 935 F.2d 1555, 1562, 19 USPQ2d 1111, 1115 (Fed. Cir. 1991) ("As the court pointed out, ‘the description of a single embodiment of broadly claimed subject matter constitutes a description of the invention for anticipation purposes..., whereas the same information in a specification might not alone be enough to provide a description of that invention for purposes of adequate disclosure.’") (quoting In re Lukach, 442 F.2d 967, 970, 169 USPQ 795, 797 (CCPA 1971)); see also In re Van Langenhoven, 458 F.2d 132, 173 USPQ 426 (CCPA 1972), and In re Ruscetta, 255 F.2d 687, 118 USPQ 101 (CCPA 1958).

An anticipatory description it is not required in order for a disclosure to qualify as prior art, unless the disclosure is being used as the basis for an anticipation rejection. In accordance with pre-AIA case law concerning obviousness, a disclosure may be cited for all that it would reasonably have made known to a person of ordinary skill in the art. Thus, the description requirement of AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) and (a)(2) does not preclude an examiner from applying a disclosure in an obviousness rejection under AIA 35 U.S.C. 103 simply because the disclosure is not adequate to anticipate the claimed invention.

2152.02(c) In Public Use [R-10.2019]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2131-MPEP § 2138 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

Public use rejections under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) may be based on uses that are public anywhere in the world. While there is no requirement that the use or sale activity be by another, it should be noted that certain uses or sales are subject to the exceptions in 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1), e.g., uses or sales by the inventor or a joint inventor (or have originated with the inventor) that precede the effective filing date by less than one year. See MPEP § 2154.02.

Under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b), an invention that was "in public use" precluded the grant of a patent only if such public use occurred "in this country." See MPEP § 2133.03(d).

Under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1), there is no geographic limitation on where prior public use or public availability occurs. Furthermore, a public use would need to occur before the effective filing date of the claimed invention to constitute prior art under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1).

The pre-AIA case law also indicates that a public use will bar patentability if the public use occurs before the critical date and the invention is ready for patenting. Under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b), the critical date is the date that is one year prior to the date of application for patent in the United States. See Invitrogen Corp. v. Biocrest Manufacturing. L.P., 424 F.3d 1374, 1379-80, 76 USPQ2d 1741, 1744 (Fed. Cir. 2005) and MPEP § 2133. Under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b), the uses of an invention before the patent's critical date that constitute a "public use" fall into two categories: the use either "(1) was accessible to the public; or (2) was commercially exploited." See American Seating Co. v. USSC Group, Inc., 514 F.3d 1262, 1267, 85 USPQ2d 1683, 1685 (Fed. Cir. 2008) and MPEP § 2133.03(a). Whether a use is a pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b) public use also depends on who is making the use of the invention. "[W]hen an asserted prior use is not that of the applicant, [pre-AIA 35 U.S.C.] 102(b) is not a bar when that prior use or knowledge is not available to the public." See Woodland Trust v. Flowertree Nursery, Inc., 148 F.3d 1368, 1371, 47 USPQ2d 1363, 1366 (Fed. Cir. 1998). In other words, a use by a third party who did not obtain the invention from the inventor named in the application or patent is an invalidating use under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b) only if it falls into the first category: That the use was accessible to the public. See MPEP § 2133.03(a), subsection II.C. On the other hand, "an inventor's own prior commercial use, albeit kept secret, may constitute a public use or sale under [pre-AIA 35 U.S.C.] 102(b), barring him from obtaining a patent." See Woodland Trust, 148 F.3d at 1370, 47 USPQ2d at 1366 and MPEP § 2133.03(a), subsection II.A. Also, an inventor creates a public use bar under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b) when the inventor shows the invention to, or allows it to be used by, another person who is "under no limitation, restriction, or obligation of confidentiality" to the inventor. See American Seating, 514 F.3d at 1267 and MPEP § 2133.03(a), subsection II.B.

Further, under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a), "in order to invalidate a patent based on prior knowledge or use" by another in this country prior to the patent's priority date, "that knowledge or use must have been available to the public." See Woodland Trust, 148 F.3d at 1370, 47 USPQ2d at 1366 and MPEP § 2132, subsection I. Patent-defeating "use," under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) includes only that "use which is accessible to the public." See id. (quoting Carella v. Starlight Archery, 804 F.2d 135, 139, 231 USPQ 644, 646 (Fed. Cir. 1986)).

As discussed previously, public use under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) is limited to those uses that are available to the public. The public use provision of AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) thus has the same substantive scope, with respect to uses by either the inventor or a third party, as public uses under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b) by unrelated third parties or others under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a).

As also discussed previously, once an examiner becomes aware that a claimed invention has been the subject of a potentially public use, the examiner should require the applicant to provide information showing that the use did not make the claimed process accessible to the public.

2152.02(d) On Sale [R-10.2019]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2133.03 et seq. for information about on sale in regard to applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

On sale rejections under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) may be based on sales or offers for sale without regard to where the sale activity took place. While there is no requirement that the sale activity be by another, it should be noted that certain uses or sales are subject to the exceptions in 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1), e.g., uses or sales by the inventor or a joint inventor (or have originated with the inventor) that precede the effective filing date by less than one year. See MPEP § 2154.02.

The pre-AIA case law indicates that on sale activity will bar patentability if the claimed invention was: (1) the subject of a commercial sale or offer for sale, not primarily for experimental purposes; and (2) ready for patenting. See Pfaff v. Wells Elecs., Inc., 525 U.S. 55, 67, 48 USPQ2d 1641, 1646-47 (1998). Contract law and commercial law principles apply in order to determine whether a commercial sale or offer for sale occurred. Medicines Co. v. Hospira, Inc., 827 F.3d 1363, 1373, 119 USPQ2d 1329, 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (en banc). In addition, the enablement inquiry is not applicable to the question of whether a claimed invention is "on sale" under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b). See In re Epstein, 32 F.3d 1559, 1568, 31 USPQ2d 1817, 1824 (Fed. Cir. 1994). The phrase "on sale" in AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) is treated as having the same meaning as "on sale" in pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b). For a discussion of "on sale" as used in pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b), see generally MPEP § 2133.03(b)et seq.

Under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b), if an invention was "on sale," patentability was precluded only if the invention was on sale "in this country." See MPEP § 2133.03(d). Under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1), there is no geographic limitation on where the sale or offer for sale may occur. When formulating a rejection, Office personnel should consider evidence of sales activity, regardless of where the sale activity took place.

The pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b) "on sale" provision has been interpreted as including commercial activity even if the activity is secret. See MPEP § 2133.03(b), subsection III.A. AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) uses the same "on sale" term as pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b) and is treated as having the same meaning. In Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., 139 S.Ct. 628 (2019), the Supreme Court "determine[d] that Congress did not alter the meaning of ‘on sale’ when it enacted the AIA, [and held] that an inventor’s sale of an invention to a third party who is obligated to keep the invention confidential can qualify as prior art under [AIA 35 U.S.C.] § 102(a)." Id. at 634. Thus, a sale or offer for sale that does not disclose the subject matter of an invention or make the invention available to the general public may nevertheless qualify as prior art in an anticipation or obviousness rejection, regardless of whether the application or patent under consideration is subject to the FITF provisions of the AIA or the first to invent provisions of pre-AIA law.

2152.02(e) Otherwise Available to the Public [R-10.2019]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2131-MPEP § 2138 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) provides a "catch-all" provision, which defines a new additional category of potential prior art not provided for in pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102. Specifically, a claimed invention is not entitled to a patent if it was "otherwise available to the public" before its effective filing date. This "catch-all" provision permits decision makers to focus on whether the disclosure was "available to the public," rather than on the means by which the claimed invention became available to the public or whether a disclosure constitutes a "printed publication" or falls within another category of prior art as defined in AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1). The availability of the subject matter to the public may arise in situations such as a student thesis in a university library (see, e.g., In re Cronyn, 890 F.2d 1158, 13 USPQ2d 1070 (Fed. Cir. 1989); In re Hall, 781 F.2d 897, 228 USPQ 453 (Fed. Cir. 1986); In re Bayer, 568 F.2d 1357, 196 USPQ 670 (CCPA 1978) and MPEP § 2128.01, subsection I.); a poster display or other information disseminated at a scientific meeting (see, e.g., In re Klopfenstein, 380 F.3d 1345, 72 USPQ2d 1117 (Fed. Cir. 2004), Massachusetts Institute of Technology v. AB Fortia, 774 F.2d 1104, 227 USPQ 428 (Fed. Cir. 1985), Jazz Pharm., Inc. v. Amneal Pharm., LLC, 895 F.3d 1347,127 USPQ2d 1485 (Fed. Cir. 2018), and MPEP § 2128.01, subsection IV.); subject matter in a laid-open patent application or patent (see, e.g., In re Wyer, 655 F.2d 221, 210 USPQ 790 (CCPA 1981); see also Bruckelmyer v. Ground Heaters, Inc., 445 F.3d 1374, 78 USPQ2d 1684 (Fed. Cir. 2006)); a document electronically posted on the Internet (see, e.g., Voter Verified, Inc. v. Premier Election Solutions, Inc., 698 F.3d 1374, 104 USPQ2d 1553 (Fed. Cir. 2012), In re Lister, 583 F.3d 1307, 92 USPQ2d 1225 (Fed. Cir. 2009), SRI Int'l, Inc. v. Internet Sec. Sys., Inc., 511 F.3d 1186, 85 USPQ2d 1489 (Fed. Cir. 2008), and MPEP § 2128); or a commercial transaction that does not constitute a sale under the Uniform Commercial Code (see, e.g., Group One, Ltd. v. Hallmark Cards, Inc., 254 F.3d 1041, 59 USPQ2d 1121 (Fed. Cir. 2001) and MPEP § 2133.03(e)(1)). Even if a document or other disclosure is not a printed publication, or a transaction is not a sale, either may be prior art under the "otherwise available to the public" provision of AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1), provided that the claimed invention is made sufficiently available to the public.

2152.02(f) No Requirement of "By Others" [R-11.2013]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2131-MPEP § 2138 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

A key difference between pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) and AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) is the requirement in pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) that the prior art relied on was "by others." Under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1), there is no requirement that the prior art relied upon be by others. Thus, any prior art which falls under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) need not be by another to constitute potentially available prior art. However, disclosures of the subject matter made one year or less before the effective filing date of the claimed invention by the inventor or a joint inventor or another who obtained the subject matter directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor may fall within an exception under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1) to AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1).

2152.03 Admissions [R-11.2013]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2131-MPEP § 2138 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

The Office will continue to treat admissions by the applicant as prior art under the AIA. A statement by an applicant in the specification or made during prosecution identifying the work of another as "prior art" is an admission which can be relied upon for both anticipation and obviousness determinations, regardless of whether the admitted prior art would otherwise qualify as prior art under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102. See Riverwood Int'l Corp. v. R.A. Jones & Co., 324 F.3d 1346, 1354, 66 USPQ2d 1331, 1337 (Fed. Cir. 2003); Constant v. Advanced Micro-Devices Inc., 848 F.2d 1560, 1570, 7 USPQ2d 1057, 1063 (Fed. Cir.1988). For a discussion of admissions as prior art, see generally MPEP § 2129.

2152.04 The Meaning of "Disclosure" [R-11.2013]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file (FITF) provisions of the AIA as set forth in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note). See MPEP § 2159 et seq. to determine whether an application is subject to examination under the FITF provisions, and MPEP § 2131-MPEP § 2138 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

The AIA does not define the term "disclosure," and AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) does not use the term "disclosure." AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1) and (b)(2), however, each state conditions under which a "disclosure" that otherwise falls within AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) or 102(a)(2) is not prior art under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) or 102(a)(2). Thus, the Office is treating the term "disclosure" as a generic expression intended to encompass the documents and activities enumerated in AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(a) (i.e., being patented, described in a printed publication, in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public, or being described in a U.S. patent, U.S. patent application publication, or WIPO published application).

2152.05 Determining Whether To Apply 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) or 102(a)(2) [R-10.2019]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file provisions of the AIA as explained in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note) and MPEP § 2159. See MPEP § 2139.02 for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

I. 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1)

First, the examiner should consider whether the reference qualifies as prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1). Next the examiner must determine if any exceptions in 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1) apply.

Patents claiming or describing the claimed inventions, descriptions of the claimed invention in a printed publication, public use of the claimed invention, placing the claimed invention on sale, and otherwise making the claimed invention available to the public qualify as prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) if the reference predates the effective filing date of the claim. The sale or use of the invention need not occur in the United States to qualify. See MPEP § 2152.

Potential references may be excepted as prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(A) when the inventor’s own work has been publicly disclosed by the inventor, a joint inventor, or another who obtained the subject matter directly or indirectly from the inventor or joint inventor. 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(A) provides that a disclosure which would otherwise qualify as prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) is not prior art if the disclosure was made: (1) One year or less before the effective filing date of the claimed invention; and (2) by the inventor or a joint inventor, or by another who obtained the subject matter directly or indirectly from the inventor or joint inventor. See MPEP §§ 2153.01(a) and 2153.01(b).

Potential references may also be excepted as prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(B) if the reference discloses subject matter that was publicly disclosed by the inventor, a joint inventor, or another who obtained the subject matter directly or indirectly from the inventor or joint inventor. Specifically, 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(B) provides that a disclosure which would otherwise qualify as prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) (patent, printed publication, public use, sale, or other means of public availability) may be excepted as prior art if: (1) The disclosure was made one year or less before the effective filing date of the claimed invention; and (2) the subject matter disclosed had been previously publicly disclosed by the inventor, a joint inventor, or another who obtained the subject matter directly or indirectly from the inventor or joint inventor. See MPEP §§ 2153.02 and 717.01(b)(2).

II. 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2)

First, the examiner should consider whether the reference qualifies as prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2). Next the examiner must determine if any exceptions in 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2) apply.

U.S. patents, U.S. patent applications published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b), and international patent applications published under the Patent Cooperation Treaty to another are prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) if the filing or effective filing date of the disclosure of the reference is before the effective filing date of the claimed invention. Even if the issue or publication date of the reference is not before the effective filing date of the claimed invention, the reference may still be applicable as prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) if it was "effectively filed" before the effective filing date of the claimed invention with respect to the subject matter relied upon to reject the claim. MPEP § 2152.01 discusses the "effective filing date" of a claimed invention. 35 U.S.C. 102(d) sets forth the criteria to determine when subject matter described in a U.S. patent, U.S. patent application publication, or WIPO published application was "effectively filed" for purposes of 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2). See MPEP § 2154.

Potential references may be excepted as prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) by the three exception provisions of 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2). 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(A) limits the use of an inventor’s own work as prior art, when the inventor’s own work is disclosed in a U.S. patent, U.S. patent application publication, or WIPO published application by another who obtained the subject matter directly or indirectly from the inventor or joint inventor. 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(B) excepts as prior art subject matter that was effectively filed by another after the subject matter had been publicly disclosed by the inventor, a joint inventor, or another who obtained the subject matter directly or indirectly from the inventor or joint inventor. 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) excepts subject matter disclosed in a U.S. patent, U.S. patent application publication, or WIPO published application from constituting prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) if the subject matter disclosed and the claimed invention, not later than the effective filing date of the claimed invention, "were owned by the same person or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same person." 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) resembles pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(c) in that both concern common ownership, and both offer an avenue by which an applicant may avoid certain prior art. However, there are significant differences between 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) and pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(c). See MPEP § 2154.02(b).

2152.06 Overcoming a 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) or 102(a)(2) Rejection Based on a Printed Publication or Patent [R-10.2019]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to examination under the first inventor to file provisions of the AIA as explained in 35 U.S.C. 100 (note) and MPEP § 2159. See MPEP § 2139 et seq. for examination of applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102.]

In addition to persuasively arguing that the claims are patentably distinguishable over the prior art or amending the claims to overcome the prior art rejection, a rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) or 102(a)(2) can be overcome by:

  • (A) Submitting a benefit claim under 35 U.S.C. 120 within the time period set in 37 CFR 1.78 by providing the required reference to a prior application in a corrected application data sheet under 37 CFR 1.76 and by establishing that the prior application satisfies the enablement and written description requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112(a), or filing a grantable petition to accept an unintentionally delayed benefit claim under 37 CFR 1.78. See MPEP § 211et seq.; or
  • (B) Submitting a benefit claim under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) within the time period set in 37 CFR 1.78 by providing the required reference to a prior provisional application in a corrected application data sheet under 37 CFR 1.76 and by establishing that the prior application satisfies the enablement and written description requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or filing a grantable petition to accept an unintentionally delayed benefit claim under 37 CFR 1.78. See MPEP § 211et seq.; or
  • (C) Submitting a claim to priority under 35 U.S.C. 119(a) - (d) within the time period set in 37 CFR 1.55 by identifying a prior foreign application in a corrected application data sheet under 37 CFR 1.76 and by establishing that the prior foreign application satisfies the enablement and written description requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112(a) or filing a grantable petition to accept a delayed priority claim under 37 CFR 1.55. See MPEP §§ 213 - 216. The foreign priority filing date must antedate the reference and be perfected. The filing date of the priority document is not perfected unless applicant has filed a certified priority document in the application (and an English language translation, if the document is not in English) (see 37 CFR 1.55(g)); or
  • (D) Filing an affidavit or declaration under 37 CFR 1.130 to establish that an applied reference or disclosure that was not made more than one year before the effective filing date of the claimed invention is not prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a) due to an exception listed in 35 U.S.C. 102(b). Under 37 CFR 1.130(a), an affidavit or declaration of attribution may be submitted to disqualify a disclosure as prior art because it was made by the inventor or a joint inventor, or the subject matter disclosed was obtained directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor. Under 37 CFR 1.130(b), an affidavit or declaration of prior public disclosure may be submitted to disqualify an intervening disclosure as prior art if the subject matter disclosed had been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor or another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or joint inventor (1) before the date the intervening disclosure was made on which the rejection is based, or (2) before the date the subject matter in the U.S. patent, U.S. patent application publication, or WIPO published application on which the rejection is based was effectively filed. See MPEP §§ 717 and 2155; or
  • (E) Establishing common ownership or establishing evidence of a Joint Research Agreement to overcome a 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) rejection or a 35 U.S.C. 103 rejection based on prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) by establishing entitlement to the 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) exception. See MPEP §§ 717.02 and 2154.02(c).

2152.07 Form Paragraphs for Use in Rejections Under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 [R-10.2019]

The following form paragraphs should be used in making the appropriate rejections. Note that the particular part of the reference relied upon to support the rejection should be identified.

¶ 7.06 Notice re prior art available under both pre-AIA and AIA

In the event the determination of the status of the application as subject to AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 (or as subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103) is incorrect, any correction of the statutory basis for the rejection will not be considered a new ground of rejection if the prior art relied upon, and the rationale supporting the rejection, would be the same under either status.

Examiner Note:

  • 1.  This form paragraph must be used in all Office Actions when a prior art rejection is made in an application with an actual filing date on or after March 16, 2013, that claims priority to, or the benefit of, an application filed before March 16, 2013.
  • 2.  This form paragraph should only be used ONCE in an Office action.  

¶ 7.07.aia Statement of Statutory Basis, 35 U.S.C. 102

The following is a quotation of the appropriate paragraphs of 35 U.S.C. 102 that form the basis for the rejections under this section made in this Office action:

A person shall be entitled to a patent unless—

Examiner Note:

  • 1. The statute is no longer being re-cited in all Office actions. It is only required in first actions on the merits and final rejections. Where the statute is not being cited in an action on the merits, use form paragraph 7.103.
  • 2. Form paragraphs 7.07.aia, 7.08.aia, 7.12.aia and 7.14.aia are to be used ONLY ONCE in a given Office action.
  • 3. For applications claiming priority to, or the benefit of, an application filed before March 16, 2013, this form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraph 7.06.

¶ 7.08.aia 102(a)(1), Activity Before the Effective Filing Date of Claimed Invention

(a)(1) the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph should only be used in an application filed on or after March 16, 2013, where the claims are being examined under 35 U.S.C. 102/103 as amended by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.
  • 2. This form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraphs 7.03.aia and 7.07.aia.

¶ 7.12.aia 102(a)(2), U.S. Patent, U.S. Patent Application Publication or WIPO Published Application That Names Another Inventor and Has an Earlier Effectively Filed Date

(a)(2) the claimed invention was described in a patent issued under section 151, or in an application for patent published or deemed published under section 122(b), in which the patent or application, as the case may be, names another inventor and was effectively filed before the effective filing date of the claimed invention.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph should only be used in an application filed on or after March 16, 2013, where the claims are being examined under 35 U.S.C. 102/103 as amended by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.
  • 2. This form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraphs 7.03.aia and 7.07.aia and may be preceded by 7.08.aia.
  • 3. This form paragraph should only be used if the reference is one of the following:
    • a U.S. patent granted under 35 U.S.C. 151 having an effectively filed date earlier than the application;
    • a U.S. Patent Application Publication published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b) having an effectively filed date earlier than the application; or
    • a WIPO publication of an international application (PCT) or international design application that designates the United States where the WIPO publication has an effectively filed date earlier than the application.

If any of these three types of prior art documents under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) was published before the effective filing date of the claims under examination, then the prior art document is also applicable under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1).

¶ 7.14.aia Pre-AIA 102(g), Priority of Invention

(g)(1) during the course of an interference conducted under section 135 or section 291, another inventor involved therein establishes, to the extent permitted in section 104, that before such person’s invention thereof the invention was made by such other inventor and not abandoned, suppressed, or concealed, or (2) before such person’s invention thereof, the invention was made in this country by another inventor who had not abandoned, suppressed, or concealed it. In determining priority of invention under this subsection, there shall be considered not only the respective dates of conception and reduction to practice of the invention, but also the reasonable diligence of one who was first to conceive and last to reduce to practice, from a time prior to conception by the other.

A rejection on this statutory basis (35 U.S.C. 102(g) as in force on March 15, 2013) is appropriate in an application or patent that is examined under the first to file provisions of the AIA if it also contains or contained at any time (1) a claim to an invention having an effective filing date as defined in 35 U.S.C. 100(i) that is before March 16, 2013 or (2) a specific reference under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c) to any patent or application that contains or contained at any time such a claim.

Examiner Note:

This form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraph 7.07.aia.

¶ 7.15.aia Rejection, 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1)/102(a)(2)

Claim(s) [1] is/are rejected under 35 U.S.C. 102[2] as being [3] by [4].

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph should only be used in an application filed on or after March 16, 2013, where the claims are being examined under 35 U.S.C. 102/103 as amended by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. This form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraph 7.03.aia.
  • 2. In bracket 1, insert the claim numbers which are under rejection.
  • 3. In bracket 2, insert either "(a)(1)" or "(a)(2)" or both. If paragraph (a)(2) of 35 U.S.C. 102 is applicable, use form paragraph 7.15.01.aia, 7.15.02.aia or 7.15.03.aia where applicable.
  • 4. In bracket 3, insert either --clearly anticipated-- or --anticipated-- with an explanation at the end of the paragraph.
  • 5. In bracket 4, insert the prior art relied upon.
  • 6. This rejection must be preceded either by form paragraph 7.07.aia and form paragraphs 7.08.aia, and 7.12.aia as appropriate, or by form paragraph 7.103.
  • 7. For applications claiming priority to, or the benefit of, an application filed before March 16, 2013, this form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraph 7.06.

¶ 7.15.01.aia Provisional Rejection, 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) - Common Assignee, Common Applicant, or At Least One Common Joint Inventor

Claim(s) [1] is/are provisionally rejected under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) as being anticipated by copending Application No. [2] which has a common [3] with the instant application.

Based upon the earlier effective filing date of the copending application, it would constitute prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2), if published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b) or patented under 35 U.S.C. 151. This provisional rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) is based upon a presumption of future publication or patenting of the copending application. [4].

This provisional rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) might be overcome by: (1) a showing under 37 CFR 1.130(a) that the subject matter disclosed in the copending application was obtained directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor of this application and is thus not prior art in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(A); (2) a showing under 37 CFR 1.130(b) of a prior public disclosure under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(B); or (3) a statement pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) establishing that, not later than the effective filing date of the claimed invention, the subject matter disclosed in the copending application and the claimed invention were either owned by the same person or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same person or subject to a joint research agreement.

This rejection may not be overcome by the filing of a terminal disclaimer. See In re Bartfeld, 925 F.2d 1450, 17 USPQ2d 1885 (Fed. Cir. 1991).

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph should only be used in an application filed on or after March 16, 2013, where the claims are being examined under 35 U.S.C. 102/103 as amended by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. This form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraph 7.03.aia.
  • 2. This form paragraph is used to provisionally reject over a copending application with an earlier effective filing date that discloses the claimed invention and has not been published under 35 U.S.C. 122. The copending application must have either a common assignee, common applicant (35 U.S.C. 118) or at least one common joint inventor.
  • 3. 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) may be applied if the reference names another inventor (i.e., a different inventive entity) and is one of the following:
    • a U.S. patent granted under 35 U.S.C. 151 that has an effectively filed date earlier than the application;
    • a U.S. Patent Application Publication published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b) that has an effectively filed date earlier than the effective filing date of the application; or
    • a WIPO publication of an international application (PCT) or international design application that designates the United States where the WIPO publication has an effectively filed date earlier than the effective filing date of the application.

      If any of the three types of prior art documents under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) issued or was published before the effective filing date of the application under examination, then the prior art document is also applicable under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1).

  • 4. If the claims would have been obvious over the invention disclosed in the other copending application, use form paragraph 7.21.01.aia.
  • 5. In bracket 1, insert claim number(s) under rejection.
  • 6. In bracket 2, insert the application number.
  • 7. In bracket 3, insert --assignee--, --applicant--, or --joint inventor--.
  • 8. In bracket 4, provide an appropriate explanation of the examiner’s position on anticipation.
  • 9. Under 35 U.S.C. 101, two patents are not permitted to issue on identical subject matter. Any claims in the instant application directed to the same invention claimed in the reference should be provisionally rejected using form paragraphs 8.30 and 8.32. Additionally, the applicant should be required to amend or cancel claims such that the applied reference and the instant application no longer contain claims directed to the same invention using form paragraph 8.27.aia.
  • 10. Any claims in the instant application that are directed to subject matter that is not patentably distinct from an invention claimed in the reference should be rejected (or provisionally rejected if the reference has not yet issued as a patent) on the grounds of nonstatutory double patenting using form paragraph 8.33 and at least one of form paragraphs 8.34 - 8.39.
  • 11. For applications claiming priority to, or the benefit of, an application filed before March 16, 2013, this form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraph 7.06.

¶ 7.15.02.aia Rejection, 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2), Common Assignee, Applicant, or Joint Inventor(s)

Claim(s) [1] is/are rejected under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) as being [2] by [3].

The applied reference has a common [4] with the instant application. Based upon the earlier effectively filed date of the reference, it constitutes prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2). This rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) might be overcome by: (1) a showing under 37 CFR 1.130(a) that the subject matter disclosed in the reference was obtained directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor of this application and is thus not prior art in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(A); (2) a showing under 37 CFR 1.130(b) of a prior public disclosure under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(B) if the same invention is not being claimed; or (3) a statement pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) establishing that, not later than the effective filing date of the claimed invention, the subject matter disclosed in the reference and the claimed invention were either owned by the same person or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same person or subject to a joint research agreement.

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph should only be used in an application filed on or after March 16, 2013, where the claims are being examined under 35 U.S.C. 102/103 as amended by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. This form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraph 7.03.aia.
  • 2. This form paragraph is used to reject claims under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) over a U.S. patent, U.S. patent application publication, or WIPO publication with an earlier effectively filed date. These references must have either a common assignee, a common applicant (35 U.S.C. 118), or at least one common joint inventor.
  • 3. 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) may be applied if the reference names another inventor (i.e., a different inventive entity) and is one of the following:
    • a U.S. patent granted under 35 U.S.C. 151 that has an effectively filed date earlier than the effective filing date of the claimed invention;
    • a U.S. Patent Application Publication published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b) that has an effectively filed date earlier than the effective filing date of the claimed invention; or
    • a WIPO publication of an international application (PCT) or international design application that designates the United States where the WIPO publication has an effectively filed date earlier than the effective filing date of the claimed invention.

    If any of the three types of prior art documents under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) was published before the effective filing date of the claimed invention under examination, then the prior art document is also applicable under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1).

  • 4. In bracket 1, insert the claim numbers which are under rejection.
  • 5. In bracket 2, insert either --clearly anticipated-- or --anticipated-- with an explanation at the end of the paragraph.
  • 6. In bracket 3, insert the prior art relied upon.
  • 7. In bracket 4, insert --assignee--, --applicant--, or --joint inventor--.
  • 8. This form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraph 7.12.aia.
  • 9. Under 35 U.S.C. 101, two patents are not permitted to issue on identical subject matter. Any claims in the instant application directed to the same invention claimed in the reference should be rejected (or provisionally rejected if the reference has not yet issued as a patent) on the grounds of statutory double patenting using form paragraphs 8.30 - 8.32. Additionally, the applicant should be required to amend or cancel claims such that the reference and the instant application no longer contain claims directed to the same invention using form paragraph 8.27.aia.
  • 10. Any claims in the instant application that are directed to subject matter that is not patentably distinct from an invention claimed in the reference should be rejected (or provisionally rejected if the reference has not yet issued as a patent) on the grounds of nonstatutory double patenting using form paragraph 8.33 and at least one of form paragraphs 8.34 - 8.39.
  • 11. For applications claiming priority to, or the benefit of, an application filed before March 16, 2013, this form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraph 7.06.

¶ 7.15.03.aia Rejection, 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2), No Common Assignee or Inventor(s)

Claim(s) [1] is/are rejected under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) as being [2] by [3].

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph should only be used in an application filed on or after March 16, 2013, where the claims are being examined under 35 U.S.C. 102/103 as amended by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. This form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraph 7.03.aia.
  • 2. This form paragraph is used to reject a claim over a U.S. patent, U.S. patent application publication or WIPO patent application publication with an earlier effective filing date. The reference is not required to have a common assignee or inventor.
  • 3. 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) may be applied if the reference is one of the following:
    • a U.S. patent granted under 35 U.S.C. 151 that has an effective filing date earlier than the application;
    • a U.S. Patent Application Publication published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b) that has an effective filing date earlier than the application; or
    • a WIPO publication of an international application where the WIPO publication has an effective filing date earlier than the application.

    If any of the three types of prior art documents under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) was published before the effective filing date of the application under examination, then the prior art document is also applicable under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1).

  • 4. In bracket 1, insert the claim numbers which are under rejection.
  • 5. In bracket 2, insert either --clearly anticipated-- or --anticipated-- with an explanation at the end of the paragraph.
  • 6. In bracket 3, insert the prior art relied upon.
  • 7. This form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraph 7.12.aia.

¶ 7.16.aia Rejection, 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1), Public Use, On Sale, or Otherwise Publicly Available

Claim [1] rejected under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) based upon a public use or sale or other public availability of the invention. [2]

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph should only be used in an application filed on or after March 16, 2013, where the claims are being examined under 35 U.S.C. 102/103 as amended by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. This form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraph 7.03.aia.
  • 2. This form paragraph must be preceded either by form paragraphs 7.07.aia and 7.08.aia or by form paragraph 7.103.
  • 3. In bracket 1, insert the claim numbers which are under rejection.
  • 4. A full explanation of the evidence establishing a public use or sale or other public availability must be provided in bracket 2.

¶ 7.17.aia 102(a)(1) Rejection Using Prior Art Excepted under 102(b)(2)(C)

Applicant has provided evidence in this file showing that the claimed invention and the subject matter disclosed in the prior art reference were owned by, or subject to an obligation of assignment to, the same entity as [1] not later than the effective filing date of the claimed invention, or the subject matter disclosed in the prior art reference was developed and the claimed invention was made by, or on behalf of one or more parties to a joint research agreement in effect not later than the effective filing date of the claimed invention. However, although reference [2] has been excepted as prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2), it is still applicable as prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) that cannot be excepted under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C).

Applicant may rely on the exception under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(A) to overcome this rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) by a showing under 37 CFR 1.130(a) that the subject matter disclosed in the reference was obtained directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor of this application, and is therefore not prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1). Alternatively, applicant may rely on the exception under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1)(B) by providing evidence of a prior public disclosure via an affidavit or declaration under 37 CFR 1.130(b).

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph should only be used in an application filed on or after March 16, 2013, where the claims are being examined under 35 U.S.C. 102/103 as amended by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. This form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraph 7.03.aia.
  • 2. This form paragraph must be included following form paragraph 7.20.aia or 7.15.aia where the anticipation rejection is based on a reference that has been excepted under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) but still qualifies as prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1).
  • 3. In bracket 1, identify the common assignee.
  • 4. In bracket 2, identify the reference which has been excepted.

¶ 7.18.aia Rejection, Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(g)

Claim [1] rejected under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 (g) as being [2] by [3].

Examiner Note:

  • 1. This form paragraph should only be used for an application or a patent that is being examined under 35 U.S.C. 102/103 as amended by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (must be preceded by form paragraph 7.03.aia) and MUST contain or have contained a claim to an invention having an effective filing date as defined in 35 U.S.C. 100(i) that is before March 16, 2013 or a specific reference under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c) to any patent or application that contains or contained such a claim.
  • 2. In bracket 1, insert the claim numbers which are under rejection.
  • 3. In bracket 2, insert either --clearly anticipated-- or --anticipated-- with an explanation at the end of the paragraph.
  • 4. In bracket 3, insert the prior art relied upon.
  • 5. This rejection must be preceded either by form paragraph 7.14.aia, or by form paragraph 7.103.

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