MPEP Section 903.08(b), Classification and Assignment to Examiner
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.
903.08(b) Classification and Assignment to Examiner [R-3]
Every nonprovisional application, new or amended, and including the drawings, if any, when first assigned to a Technology Center (TC) must be classified and assigned to an examiner for examination. The supervisory patent examiner normally >classifies the application and< assigns the application**>to an examiner<. Provisional applications are not classified or assigned since they are not examined.
If an examiner other than the supervisory patent examiner is given the responsibility of assigning applications, time so spent may, at the TC Director's discretion, be charged to "Assisting SPE."
CLASSIFICATION AND ASSIGNMENT OF APPLICATIONS FILED UNDER THE PATENT COOPERATION TREATY (PCT)
Applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) are normally classified on the basis of the first claimed invention >(i.e., Claim 1)< in the application. The following special situations, however, apply:
(A) if a U.S. national application has been acted upon by an examiner to whom the national application was assigned on the basis of the controlling (not necessarily the first) claim, a subsequent PCT application claiming priority of the national application will normally be assigned to the same examiner, or to the examiner's art unit in his/her absence;
(B) in all other situations where a U.S. national application and a corresponding PCT application are copending, irrespective of which application was filed first, every effort should be made to ensure that both applications are assigned for search and examination to the examiner to whom the PCT application would normally be assigned on the basis of the first claimed invention, or to the examiner's art unit in his/her absence;
(C) if a PCT application has been the subject of international search and possibly international preliminary examination outside the U.S., a U.S. national phase application or a U.S. national application claiming benefit of the PCT application will be assigned like any other application, i.e., on the basis of the controlling claim.
The object of having the U.S. national and PCT applications assigned to the same examiner is to promote consistent search and examination results.**
See MPEP § 903.08(d) for a discussion of transfer procedures.