MPEP Section 1207, < Examiner's Answer
This document contains one section of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (the "M.P.E.P."), Eighth Edition, Fifth Revision (August 2006). This page was last updated in July 2007. You may return to the section index to find a particular section. Alternatively, you may search the MPEP use the search box that appears on the bottom of every page of BitLaw--be sure to restrict your search to the MPEP in the pop-up list.
1207 < Examiner's Answer [R-3]**>
37 CFR 41.39 Examiner's answer.
(1) The primary examiner may, within such time as may be directed by the Director, furnish a written answer to the appeal brief including such explanation of the invention claimed and of the references relied upon and grounds of rejection as may be necessary, supplying a copy to appellant. If the primary examiner determines that the appeal does not comply with the provisions of §§ 41.31 and 41.37 or does not relate to an appealable action, the primary examiner shall make such determination of record.
(2) An examiner's answer may include a new ground of rejection.
(b) If an examiner's answer contains a rejection designated as a new ground of rejection, appellant must within two months from the date of the examiner's answer exercise one of the following two options to avoid sua sponte dismissal of the appeal as to the claims subject to the new ground of rejection:
(1) Reopen prosecution. Request that prosecution be reopened before the primary examiner by filing a reply under § 1.111 of this title with or without amendment or submission of affidavits (§§ 1.130, 1.131 or 1.132 of this title) or other evidence. Any amendment or submission of affidavits or other evidence must be relevant to the new ground of rejection. A request that complies with this paragraph will be entered and the application or the patent under ex parte reexamination will be reconsidered by the examiner under the provisions of § 1.112 of this title. Any request that prosecution be reopened under this paragraph will be treated as a request to withdraw the appeal.
(2) Maintain appeal. Request that the appeal be maintained by filing a reply brief as set forth in § 41.41. Such a reply brief must address each new ground of rejection as set forth in § 41.37(c)(1)(vii) and should follow the other requirements of a brief as set forth in § 41.37(c). A reply brief may not be accompanied by any amendment, affidavit (§§ 1.130, 1.131 or 1.132 of this title) or other evidence. If a reply brief filed pursuant to this section is accompanied by any amendment, affidavit or other evidence, it shall be treated as a request that prosecution be reopened before the primary examiner under paragraph (b)(1) of this section.
(c) Extensions of time under § 1.136 (a) of this title for patent applications are not applicable to the time period set forth in this section. See § 1.136 (b) of this title for extensions of time to reply for patent applications and § 1.550 (c) of this title for extensions of time to reply for ex parte reexamination proceedings.<
>After an appeal brief under 37 CFR 41.37 has been filed and the examiner has considered the issues on appeal, the examiner may:
(A) reopen prosecution to enter a new ground of rejection with approval from the supervisory patent examiner (see MPEP § 1207.04);
(B) withdraw the final rejection and allow the application if the examiner determines that the rejections have been overcome and no new ground of rejection is appropriate; or
(C) maintain the appeal by conducting an appeal conference (MPEP § 1207.01) and draft an examiner's answer (MPEP § 1207.02). Any examiner's answer mailed on or after September 13, 2004 may include a new ground of rejection (MPEP § 1207.03).<