MPEP 1504.05
Restriction

This is the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 08.2017, Last Revised in Januay 2018

Previous: §1504.04 | Next: §1504.06

1504.05    Restriction [R-08.2017]

General principles of utility restriction are set forth in Chapter 800 of the MPEP. These principles are also applicable to design restriction practice with the exception of those differences set forth in this section.

Unlike a utility patent application, which can contain plural claims directed to plural inventions, a design patent application may only have a single claim. See 37 CFR 1.153(a). More than one embodiment of a design may be protected by a single claim. However, such embodiments may be presented only if they involve a single inventive concept according to the nonstatutory double patenting practice for designs. See In re Rubinfield, 270 F.2d 391, 123 USPQ 210 (CCPA 1959). Therefore, the examiner will require restriction in each design application which contains more than one patentably distinct design.

Restriction will be required under 35 U.S.C. 121 if a design patent application claims multiple designs that are patentably distinct from each other. The issue of whether a search and examination of an entire application can be made without serious burden to an examiner (as noted in MPEP § 803) is not applicable to design applications when determining whether a restriction requirement should be made. Clear admission on the record by the applicant that the embodiments are not patentably distinct will not overcome a requirement for restriction if the embodiments do not meet the following two requirements: (A) the embodiments have overall appearances with basically the same design characteristics; and (B) the differences between the embodiments are insufficient to patentably distinguish one design from the other. Regarding the second requirement, without evidence, such an admission is merely a conclusory statement. If multiple designs are held to be patentably indistinct and can be covered by a single claim, any rejection of one over prior art will apply equally to all. See Ex parte Appeal No. 315-40, 152 USPQ 71 (Bd. App. 1965).

I.    INDEPENDENT INVENTIONS

Design inventions are independent if there is no apparent relationship between two or more disparate articles disclosed in the drawings; for example, a pair of eyeglasses and a door handle; a bicycle and a camera; an automobile and a bathtub. Also note examples in MPEP § 806.06. Restriction in such cases is clearly proper. This situation may be rarely presented since design patent applications are seldom filed containing disclosures of independent articles.

II.    DISTINCT INVENTIONS

In determining patentable distinctness, the examiner must compare the overall appearances of the multiple designs. Each design must be considered as a whole, i.e., the elements of the design are not considered individually as they may be when establishing a prima facie case of obviousness under 35 U.S.C. 103. Designs are not distinct inventions if: (A) the multiple designs have overall appearances with basically the same design characteristics; and (B) the differences between the multiple designs are insufficient to patentably distinguish one design from the other. Differences may be considered insufficient to patentably distinguish when they are de minimis or obvious to a designer of ordinary skill in the art. Therefore, in determining the question of patentable distinctness under 35 U.S.C. 121 in a design application, a search of the prior art may be necessary. Both of the above considerations are important. Differences between the designs may prove to be obvious in view of the prior art, but if the overall appearances are not basically the same, the designs remain patentably distinct. Embodiments claiming different scopes of the same design can be patentably distinct using the two-step analysis above. When an application illustrates a component, which is a subcombination of another embodiment, the subcombination often has a distinct overall appearance and a restriction should be required. When an application illustrates only a portion of the design, which is the subject of another embodiment, that portion often has a distinct overall appearance and a restriction should be required.

A.    Multiple Embodiments - Difference in Appearance

It is permissible to illustrate more than one embodiment of a design invention in a single application. However, such embodiments may be presented only if they involve a single inventive concept. Two designs involve a single inventive concept when the two designs are patentably indistinct according to the standard of nonstatutory double patenting. See In re Rubinfield, 270 F.2d 391, 123 USPQ 210 (CCPA 1959). Embodiments that are patentably distinct over one another do not constitute a single inventive concept and thus may not be included in the same design application. See In re Platner, 155 USPQ 222 (Comm’r Pat. 1967). The disclosure of plural embodiments does not require or justify more than a single claim, which claim must be in the formal terms stated in MPEP § 1503.01, subsection III. The specification should make clear that multiple embodiments are disclosed and should particularize the differences between the embodiments. If the disclosure of any embodiment relies on the disclosure of another embodiment for completeness to satisfy the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112(a) (or for applications filed prior to September 16, 2012, 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph), the differences between the embodiments must be identified either in the figure descriptions or by way of a descriptive statement in the specification of the application as filed. For example, the second embodiment of a cabinet discloses a single view showing only the difference in the front door of the cabinet of the first embodiment; the figure description should state that this view "is a second embodiment of Figure 1, the only difference being the configuration of the door, it being understood that all other surfaces are the same as those of the first embodiment." This type of statement in the description is understood to incorporate the disclosure of the first embodiment to complete the disclosure of the second embodiment. However, in the absence of such a statement in the specification of an application as filed, the disclosure of one embodiment will normally not be permitted to provide antecedent basis for any written or visual amendment to the disclosure of other embodiments.

The obviousness standard under 35 U.S.C. 103 must be applied in determining whether multiple embodiments may be retained in a single application. See MPEP § 1504.03. That is, it must first be determined whether the embodiments have overall appearances that are basically the same as each other. If the appearances of the embodiments are considered to be basically the same, then it must be determined whether the differences are either minor between the embodiments and not a patentable distinction, or obvious to a designer of ordinary skill in view of the analogous prior art. If embodiments meet both of the above criteria they may be retained in a single application. If embodiments do not meet either one of the above criteria, restriction is required. It should be noted, that if the embodiments do not have overall appearances that are basically the same, restriction must be required since their appearances are patentably distinct. In such case it does not matter for restriction purposes, if the differences between the appearances of the embodiments are shown to be obvious in view of analogous prior art.

Form paragraph 15.27.02 or 15.27.03, if appropriate, may be used to notify applicant that restriction is not required because the embodiments are not patentably distinct.

¶ 15.27.02    Restriction Not Required - Change In Appearance (First Action - Non Issue)

This application discloses the following embodiments:

Embodiment 1 - Figs. [1]

Embodiment 2 - Figs. [2]

[3]

Multiple embodiments of a single inventive concept may be included in the same design application only if they are patentably indistinct. See In re Rubinfield, 270 F.2d 391, 123 USPQ 210 (CCPA 1959). Embodiments that are patentably distinct from one another do not constitute a single inventive concept and thus may not be included in the same design application. See In re Platner, 155 USPQ 222 (Comm’r Pat. 1967).

The above identified embodiments are considered by the examiner to present overall appearances that are basically the same. Furthermore, the differences between the appearances of the embodiments are considered minor and patentably indistinct, or are shown to be obvious in view of analogous prior art cited. Accordingly, they are deemed to be obvious variations and are being retained and examined in the same application. Any rejection of one embodiment over prior art will apply equally to all other embodiments. See Ex parte Appeal No. 315-40, 152 USPQ 71 (Bd. App. 1965). No argument asserting patentability based on the differences between the embodiments will be considered once the embodiments have been determined to comprise a single inventive concept. Failure of applicant to traverse this determination in reply to this action will be considered an admission of lack of patentable distinction between the above identified embodiments.

Examiner Note:

In bracket 3, add embodiments as necessary.

¶ 15.27.03    Restriction Not Required - Change In Appearance (First Action Issue)

This application discloses the following embodiments:

Embodiment 1 - Figs. [1]

Embodiment 2 - Figs. [2]

[3]

Multiple embodiments of a single inventive concept may be included in the same design application only if they are patentably indistinct. See In re Rubinfield, 270 F.2d 391, 123 USPQ 210 (CCPA 1959). Embodiments that are patentably distinct from one another do not constitute a single inventive concept and thus may not be included in the same design application. See In re Platner, 155 USPQ 222 (Comm’r Pat. 1967).

The above identified embodiments are considered by the examiner to present overall appearances that are basically the same. Furthermore, the differences between the appearances of the embodiments are considered minor and patentably indistinct, or are shown to be obvious in view of analogous prior art cited. Accordingly, they are deemed to be obvious variations and are being retained and examined in the same application.

Examiner Note:

In bracket 3, add embodiments as necessary.

The following form paragraphs may be used in a restriction requirement. Examiners must include a brief explanation of the differences between the appearances of the embodiments that render them patentably distinct.

¶ 15.27    Restriction Under 35 U.S.C. 121

This application discloses the following embodiments:

Embodiment 1 - Figs. [1]

Embodiment 2 - Figs. [2]

[3]

Multiple embodiments of a single inventive concept may be included in the same design application only if they are patentably indistinct. See In re Rubinfield, 270 F.2d 391, 123 USPQ 210 (CCPA 1959). Embodiments that are patentably distinct from one another do not constitute a single inventive concept and thus may not be included in the same design application. See In re Platner, 155 USPQ 222 (Comm’r Pat. 1967). The [4] create(s) patentably distinct designs.

Because of the differences identified, the embodiments are considered to either have overall appearances that are not basically the same, or if they are basically the same, the differences are not minor and patentably indistinct or are not shown to be obvious in view of analogous prior art.

The above embodiments divide into the following patentably distinct groups of designs:

Group I: Embodiment [5]

Group II: Embodiment [6]

[7]

Restriction is required under 35 U.S.C. 121 to one of the above identified patentably distinct groups of designs.

A reply to this requirement must include an election of a single group for prosecution on the merits, even if this requirement is traversed, 37 CFR 1.143. Any reply that does not include election of a single group will be held nonresponsive. Applicant is also requested to direct cancellation of all drawing figures and the corresponding descriptions which are directed to the nonelected groups.

Should applicant traverse this requirement on the grounds that the groups are not patentably distinct, applicant should present evidence or identify such evidence now of record showing the groups to be obvious variations of one another. If the groups are determined not to be patentably distinct and they remain in this application, any rejection of one group over prior art will apply equally to all other embodiments. See Ex parte Appeal No. 315-40, 152 USPQ 71 (Bd. App. 1965). No argument asserting patentability based on the differences between the groups will be considered once the groups have been determined to comprise a single inventive concept.

In view of the above requirement, action on the merits is deferred pending compliance with the requirement in accordance with Ex parte Heckman, 135 USPQ 229 (P.O. Super. Exam. 1960).

Examiner Note:

1. In bracket 3, add embodiments as necessary.

2. In bracket 4, insert an explanation of the difference(s) between the embodiments.

3. In bracket 7, add groups as necessary.

¶ 15.27.01    Restriction Under 35 U.S.C. 121 (Obvious Variations Within Group)

This application discloses the following embodiments:

Embodiment 1 - Figs. [1]

Embodiment 2 - Figs. [2]

[3]

Multiple embodiments of a single inventive concept may be included in the same design application only if they are patentably indistinct. See In re Rubinfield, 270 F.2d 391, 123 USPQ 210 (CCPA 1959). Embodiments that are patentably distinct from one another do not constitute a single inventive concept and thus may not be included in the same design application. See In re Platner, 155 USPQ 222 (Comm’r Pat. 1967).

The above embodiments divide into the following patentably distinct groups of designs:

Group I: Embodiment [4]

Group II: Embodiment [5]

[6]

The embodiments disclosed within each group have overall appearances that are basically the same. Furthermore, the differences between them are considered minor and patentably indistinct, or are shown to be obvious in view analogous prior art cited. Therefore, they are considered by the examiner to be obvious variations of one another within the group. These embodiments thus comprise a single inventive concept and are grouped together. However, the [7] patentably distinguishes each group from the other(s).

Because of the differences identified, the embodiments of each Group are considered to either have overall appearances that are not basically the same, or if they are basically the same, the differences are not minor and patentably indistinct or are not shown to be obvious in view of analogous prior art.

Restriction is required under 35 U.S.C. 121 to one of the patentably distinct groups of the designs.

A reply to this requirement must include an election of a single group for prosecution on the merits, even if this requirement is traversed, 37 CFR 1.143. Any reply that does not include election of a single group will be held nonresponsive. Applicant is also requested to direct cancellation of all drawing figures and the corresponding descriptions which are directed to the nonelected groups.

Should applicant traverse this requirement on the grounds that the groups are not patentably distinct, applicant should present evidence or identify such evidence now of record showing the groups to be obvious variations of one another. If the groups are determined not to be patentably distinct and they remain in this application, any rejection of one group over prior art will apply equally to all other groups. See Ex parte Appeal No. 315-40, 152 USPQ 71 (Bd. App. 1965). No argument asserting patentability based on the differences between the groups will be considered once the groups have been determined to comprise a single inventive concept.

In view of the above requirement, action on the merits is deferred pending compliance with the requirement in accordance with Ex parte Heckman, 135 USPQ 229 (P.O. Super. Exam. 1960).

Examiner Note:

1. In bracket 3, add embodiments as necessary.

2. In bracket 6, add groups as necessary.

3. In bracket 7, insert an explanation of the difference(s) between the groups.

¶ 15.28    Telephone Restriction Under 35 U.S.C. 121

This application discloses the following embodiments:

Embodiment 1 - Figs. [1]

Embodiment 2 - Figs. [2]

[3]

Multiple embodiments of a single inventive concept may be included in the same design application only if they are patentably indistinct. See In re Rubinfield, 123 USPQ 210 (CCPA 1959). Embodiments that are patentably distinct from one another do not constitute a single inventive concept and thus may not be included in the same design application. See In re Platner, 155 USPQ 222 (Comm’r Pat. 1967). The [4] create(s) patentably distinct designs. See In re Platner, 155 USPQ 222 (Comm’r Pat. 1967).

Because of the differences identified, the embodiments of each Group are considered to either have overall appearances that are not basically the same, or, if they are basically the same, the differences are not minor and patentably indistinct or are not shown to be obvious in view of analogous prior art.

The above disclosed embodiments divide into the following patentably distinct groups of designs:

Group I: Embodiment [5]

Group II: Embodiment [6]

[7]

Restriction is required under 35 U.S.C. 121 to one of the patentably distinct groups of designs.

During a telephone discussion with [8] on [9], a provisional election was made [10] traverse to prosecute the design(s) of group [11]. Affirmation of this election should be made by applicant in replying to this Office action.

Group [12] is withdrawn from further consideration by the examiner, 37 CFR 1.142(b), as being for a nonelected design(s).

Examiner Note:

1. In bracket 3, add embodiments as necessary.

2. In bracket 4, insert an explanation of the difference(s) between the embodiments.

3. In bracket 7, add groups as necessary.

4. In bracket 10, insert --with-- or --without--.

¶ 15.28.01    Telephone Restriction Under 35 U.S.C.121 (Obvious Variations Within Group)

This application discloses the following embodiments:

Embodiment 1 – Figs. [1]

Embodiment 2 – Figs. [2]

[3]

Multiple embodiments of a single inventive concept may be included in the same design application only if they are patentably indistinct. See In re Rubinfield, 270 F.2d 391, 123 USPQ 210 (CCPA 1959). Embodiments that are patentably distinct from one another do not constitute a single inventive concept and thus may not be included in the same design application. See In re Platner, 155 USPQ 222 (Comm’r Pat. 1967).

The above embodiments divide into the following patentably distinct groups of designs:

Group I: Embodiment [4]

Group II: Embodiment [5]

[6]

The embodiments disclosed within each group have overall appearances that are basically the same. Furthermore, the differences between them are considered minor and patentably indistinct, or are shown to be obvious in view of analogous prior art cited. Therefore, they are considered by the examiner to be obvious variations of one another within the group. These embodiments thus comprise a single inventive concept and are grouped together. However, the [7] patentably distinguishes each group from the other(s).

Because of the differences identified, the embodiments of each Group are considered to either have overall appearances that are not basically the same, or if they are basically the same, the differences are not minor and patentably indistinct or are not shown to be obvious in view of analogous prior art.

Restriction is required under 35 U.S.C. 121 to one of the patentably distinct groups of designs.

During a telephone discussion with [8] on [9], a provisional election was made [10] traverse to prosecute the design(s) of group [11]. Affirmation of this election should be made by applicant in replying to this Office action.

Group [12] is withdrawn from further consideration by the examiner, 37 CFR 1.142(b), as being for a nonelected design(s).

Examiner Note:

1. In bracket 3, add embodiments as necessary.

2. In bracket 6, add groups as necessary.

3. In bracket 7, insert an explanation of the differences between the groups.

4. In bracket 10, insert --with--or --without--.

¶ 15.31    Provisional Election Required (37 CFR 1.143 )

Applicant is advised that the reply to be complete must include a provisional election of one of the enumerated designs, even though the requirement may be traversed (37 CFR 1.143 ).

B.    Combination/Subcombination - Difference in Scope

A design claim covers the entire design as a whole. Furthermore, claim protection to the whole design does not extend to any individual part or portion thereof. See KeyStone Retaining Wall Systems Inc. v. Westrock Inc., 997 F.2d 1444, 27 USPQ2d 1297 (Fed. Cir. 1993). Embodiments directed to a design as a whole (combination) as well as individual parts or portions (subcombination) thereof may not be included in a single application if the appearances are patentably distinct. In such instance restriction would be required since patentably distinct combination/subcombination subject matter must be supported by separate claims. However, a design claim may cover embodiments of different scope directed to the same inventive concept within a single application if the designs are not patentably distinct. See In re Rubinfield, 270 F.2d 391, 123 USPQ 210 (CCPA 1959). The court held that the inventive concept of a design is not limited to its embodiment in a single specific article, and as long as the various embodiments are not patentably distinct, they may be protected by a single claim. See Blumcraft of Pittsburgh v. Ladd, 144 USPQ 562 (D.D.C. 1965). The determination that the design of the subcombination/element is patentably indistinct from the combination means that the designs are not patentable over each other (novel and unobvious) and may remain in the same application. In contrast, if the embodiments are patentably distinct, the designs are considered to be separate inventions which require separate claims, and restriction to one or the other is necessary. See In re Kelly, 200 USPQ 560 (Comm’r Pat. 1978); Ex parte Sanford, 1914 C.D. 69, 204 O.G. 1346 (Comm’r Pat. 1914); Ex parte Heckman, 135 USPQ 229 (P.O. Super. Exam. 1960). In determining whether embodiments of different scope can be retained in a single application they must have overall appearances that are basically the same, and the difference in scope must be minor and not a patentable distinction. That is, they must, by themselves, be considered obvious over each other under 35 U.S.C. 103 without the aid of analogous prior art. The reason for this, as stated above, is because claim protection to the whole design does not extend to any individual part or portion thereof. Therefore, if the difference in scope between embodiments has an impact on the overall appearance that distinguishes one over the other, they must be restricted since the difference in scope creates patentably distinct designs that must be supported by separate claims. Form paragraph 15.27.04 or 15.27.05, if appropriate, may be used to notify applicant that restriction is not required because the embodiments required are not patentably distinct.

¶ 15.27.04    Restriction Not Required – Change In Scope (First Action – Non Issue)

This application discloses the following embodiments:

Embodiment 1 – Figs. [1]

Embodiment 2 – Figs. [2]

[3]

Designs which involve a change in scope may be included in the same design application only if they are patentably indistinct. However, design patent protection does not extend to patentably distinct segregable parts of a design. Ex parte Sanford, 1914 C.D. 69, 204 OG 1346 (Comm’r Pat. 1914); Blumcraft of Pittsburgh v. Ladd, 238 F. Supp. 648, 144 USPQ 562 (D.D.C. 1965).

The above identified embodiments are considered by the examiner to present overall appearances that are basically the same. Furthermore, the difference in scope between embodiments is considered minor and patentably indistinct. Accordingly, they are deemed to be obvious variations and are being retained and examined in the same application. Any rejection of one embodiment over prior art will apply equally to all other embodiments. Ex parte Appeal No. 315-40, 152 USPQ 71 (Bd. App. 1965). No argument asserting patentability based on the differences between the embodiments will be considered once the embodiments have been determined to comprise a single inventive concept. Failure of applicant to traverse this determination in reply to this Office action will be considered an admission of lack of patentable distinction between the embodiments.

Examiner Note:

In bracket 3, add embodiments as necessary.

¶ 15.27.05    Restriction Not Required – Change In Scope (First Action Issue)

This application discloses the following embodiments:

Embodiment 1 – Figs. [1]

Embodiment 2 – Figs. [2]

[3]

Designs which involve a change in scope may be included in the same design application only if they are patentably indistinct. However, design patent protection does not extend to patentably distinct segregable parts of a design. Ex parte Sanford, 1914 C.D. 69, 204 OG 1346 (Comm’r Pat. 1914); Blumcraft of Pittsburgh v. Ladd, 238 F. Supp. 648, 144 USPQ 562 (D.D.C. 1965).

The above identified embodiments are considered by the examiner to present overall appearances that are basically the same. Furthermore, the difference in scope between embodiments is considered minor and patentably indistinct. Accordingly, they are deemed to be obvious variations and are being retained and examined in the same application.

Examiner Note:

In bracket 3, add embodiments as necessary.

Form paragraph 15.29 or 15.30, if appropriate, may be used to make a restriction requirement.

¶ 15.29    Restriction Under 35 U.S.C. 121 (Segregable Parts or Combination/Subcombination)

This application discloses the following embodiments:

Embodiment 1 – Figs. [1] drawn to a [2].

Embodiment 2 – Figs. [3] drawn to a [4].

[5]

Restriction to one of the following inventions is required under 35 U.S.C. 121:

Group I – Embodiment [6]

Group II – Embodiment [7]

[8]

The designs as grouped are distinct from each other since under the law a design patent covers only the invention disclosed as an entirety, and does not extend to patentably distinct segregable parts; the only way to protect such segregable parts is to apply for separate patents. See Ex parte Sanford, 1914 CD 69, 204 OG 1346 (Comm’r Pat. 1914); and Blumcraft of Pittsburgh v. Ladd, 238 F. Supp. 648, 144 USPQ 562 (D.D.C. 1965). It is further noted that patentably distinct combination/subcombination subject matter must be supported by separate claims, whereas only a single claim is permissible in a design patent application. See In re Rubinfield, 270 F.2d 391, 123 USPQ 210 (CCPA 1959).

[9]

Because the designs are distinct for the reason(s) given above, and have acquired separate status in the art, restriction for examination purposes as indicated is proper (35 U.S.C. 121 ).

A reply to this requirement must include an election of a single group for prosecution on the merits, even if this requirement is traversed. 37 CFR 1.143. Any reply that does not include an election of a single group will be held nonresponsive. Applicant is also requested to direct cancellation of all drawing figures and the corresponding descriptions which are directed to the nonelected groups.

Should applicant traverse this requirement on the grounds that the groups are not patentably distinct, applicant should present evidence or identify such evidence now of record showing the groups to be obvious variations of one another. If the groups are determined not to be patentably distinct and they remain in this application, any rejection of one group over the prior art will apply equally to all other groups. See Ex parte Appeal No. 315-40, 152 USPQ 71 (Bd. App. 1965). No argument asserting patentability based on the differences between the groups will be considered once the groups have been determined to comprise a single inventive concept.

In view of the above requirement, action on the merits is deferred pending compliance with the requirement in accordance with Ex parte Heckman, 135 USPQ 229 (P.O. Super. Exam. 1960).

Examiner Note:

1. In bracket 5, add embodiments as necessary.

2. In bracket 8, add groups as necessary.

3. In bracket 9, add comments, if necessary.

¶ 15.30    Telephone Restriction Under 35 U.S.C. 121 (Segregable Parts or Combination/Subcombination)

This application discloses the following embodiments:

Embodiment 1 – Figs. [1] drawn to a [2].

Embodiment 2 – Figs. [3] drawn to a [4].

[5]

Restriction to one of the following inventions is required under 35 U.S.C. 121:

Group I – Embodiment [6]

Group II – Embodiment [7]

[8]

The designs as grouped are distinct from each other since under the law a design patent covers only the invention disclosed as an entirety, and does not extend to patentably distinct segregable parts; the only way to protect such segregable parts is to apply for separate patents. See Ex parte Sanford, 1914 CD 69, 204 OG 1346 (Comm’r Pat. 1914); and Blumcraft of Pittsburgh v. Ladd, 238 F. Supp. 648, 144 USPQ 562 (D.D.C. 1965). It is further noted that patentably distinct combination/subcombination subject matter must be supported by separate claims, whereas only a single claim is permissible in a design patent application. See In re Rubinfield, 270 F.2d 391, 123 USPQ 210 (CCPA 1959).

[9]

During a telephone discussion with [10] on [11], a provisional election was made [12] traverse to prosecute the invention of Group [13]. Affirmation of this election should be made by applicant in replying to this Office action.

Group [14] withdrawn from further consideration by the examiner, 37 CFR 1.142(b) as being for a nonelected invention.

Examiner Note:

1. In bracket 5, add embodiments as necessary.

2. In bracket 8, add groups as necessary.

3. In bracket 9, insert additional comments, if necessary.

Form paragraph 15.27.06 or 15.27.07, if appropriate, may be used to notify applicant that restriction is not required because the designs are not patentably distinct.

¶ 15.27.06    Restriction Not Required (Change in Appearance and Scope – First Action Non Issue)

This application discloses the following embodiments:

Embodiment 1 - Figs. [1] drawn to a [2].

Embodiment 2 - Figs. [3] drawn to a [4].

[5]

Embodiments [6] involve a difference in appearance. Multiple embodiments of a single inventive concept may be included in the same design application only if they are patentably indistinct. In re Rubinfield, 270 F.2d 391, 123 USPQ 210 (CCPA 1959). Embodiments that are patentably distinct from one another do not constitute a single inventive concept and thus may not be included in the same design application. In re Platner, 155 USPQ 222 (Comm’r Pat. 1967).

Embodiment(s) [7] directed to the combination(s) in relation to Embodiment(s) [8] directed to the subcombination(s)/element(s). Designs which involve a change in scope may be included in the same design application only if they are patentably indistinct. However, design protection does not extend to patentably distinct segregable parts of a design. Ex parte Sanford, 1914 C.D. 69, 204 OG 1346 (Comm’r Pat. 1914); Blumcraft of Pittsburgh v. Ladd, 238 F. Supp. 648, 144 USPQ 562 (D.D.C.1965).

The above identified embodiments are considered by the examiner to present overall appearances that are basically the same. Furthermore, the differences between embodiments are considered minor and patentably indistinct, or are shown to be obvious in view of analogous prior art cited. Accordingly, they are deemed to be obvious variations and are being retained and examined in the same application. Any rejection of one embodiment over prior art will apply equally to all other embodiments. Ex parte Appeal No. 315-40, 152 USPQ 71 (Bd. App. 1965). No argument asserting patentability based on the differences between the embodiments will be considered once the embodiments have been determined to comprise a single inventive concept. Failure of applicant to traverse this determination in reply to this action will be considered an admission of lack of patentable distinction between the embodiments.

Examiner Note:

1. In bracket 5, add embodiments as necessary.

2. Insert an explanation of the differences between the designs in the explanations of the embodiments; for example, Figs. 1 – 5 directed to a cup and saucer; Figs. 6 – 9 directed to a saucer.

3. It is possible and proper that embodiments may be listed in both explanatory paragraphs.

¶ 15.27.07    Restriction Not Required (Change in Appearance and Scope – First Action Issue)

This application discloses the following embodiments:

Embodiment 1 – Figs. [1] drawn to a [2].

Embodiment 2 – Figs. [3] drawn to a [4].

[5]

Embodiment(s) [6] involve a difference in appearance. Multiple embodiments of a single inventive concept may be included in the same design application only if they are patentably indistinct. In re Rubinfield, 270 F.2d 391, 123 USPQ 210 (CCPA 1959). Embodiments that are patentably distinct from one another do not constitute a single inventive concept and thus may not be included in the same design application. In re Platner, 155 USPQ 222 (Comm’r Pat. 1967).

Embodiment(s) [7] directed to the combination(s) in relation to Embodiment(s) [8] directed to the subcombination(s)/element(s). Designs which involve a change in scope may be included in the same design application only if they are patentably indistinct. However, design protection does not extend to patentably distinct segregable parts of a design. Ex parte Sanford, 1914 C.D. 69, 204 OG 1346 (Comm’r Pat. 1914); Blumcraft of Pittsburgh v. Ladd, 238 F. Supp. 648, 144 USPQ 562 (D.D.C.1965).

The above identified embodiments are considered by the examiner to present overall appearances that are basically the same. Furthermore, the differences between embodiments are considered minor and patentably indistinct, or are shown to be obvious in view of analogous prior art cited. Accordingly, they were deemed to be obvious variations and are being retained and examined in the same application. Accordingly, they were deemed to comprise a single inventive concept and have been examined together.

Examiner Note:

1. In bracket 5, add embodiments as necessary.

2. Insert an explanation of the differences between the designs in the explanations of the embodiments; for example, Figs. 1 – 5 directed to a cup and saucer; Figs. 6 – 9 directed to a saucer.

3. It is possible and proper that embodiments may be listed in both explanatory paragraphs.

The following form paragraphs may be used in a restriction requirement.

Examiners must include a brief explanation of the differences between embodiments that render them patentably distinct.

¶ 15.27.08    Restriction with Differences in Appearance and Scope

This application discloses the following embodiments:

Embodiment 1: Figs. [1] drawn to a [2].

Embodiment 2: Figs. [3] drawn to a [4].

[5]

The above embodiments divide into the following patentably distinct groups of designs:

Group I: Embodiment [6]

Group II: Embodiment [7]

[8]

Group(s) [9] involve a difference in appearance. Multiple embodiments of a single inventive concept may be included in the same design application only if they are patentably indistinct. In re Rubinfield, 270 F.2d 391, 123 USPQ 210 (CCPA 1959). Embodiments that are patentably distinct from one another do not constitute a single inventive concept and thus may not be included in the same design application. In re Platner, 155 USPQ 222 (Comm’r Pat. 1967). The [10] creates patentably distinct designs.

Because of the differences identified, the embodiments are considered to either have overall appearances that are not basically the same, or if they are basically the same, the differences are not minor and patentably indistinct or are not shown to be obvious in view of analogous prior art.

Group(s) [11] directed to the combination(s) in relation to Group(s) [12] directed to the subcombination(s)/element(s). The designs as grouped are distinct from each other since under the law a design patent covers only the design disclosed as an entirety, and does not extend to patentably distinct segregable parts; the only way to protect such segregable parts is to apply for separate patents. Ex parte Sanford, 1914 C.D. 69, 204 OG 1346 (Comm’r Pat. 1914); Blumcraft of Pittsburgh v. Ladd, 238 F. Supp. 648, 144 USPQ 562 (D.D.C.1965). It is further noted that combination/subcombination subject matter, if patentably distinct, must be supported by separate claims, whereas only a single claim is permissible in a design patent application. In re Rubinfield, 270 F.2d 391, 123 USPQ 210 (CCPA 1959).

In any groups that include multiple embodiments, the embodiments are considered by the examiner to be obvious variations of one another within the group and, therefore, patentably indistinct. These embodiments thus comprise a single inventive concept and are grouped together.

Restriction is required under 35 U.S.C. 121 to one of the patentably distinct groups of designs.

A reply to this requirement must include an election of a single group for prosecution on the merits even if this requirement is traversed. 37 CFR 1.143. Any reply that does not include an election of a single group will be held nonresponsive. Applicant is also requested to direct cancellation of all drawing figures and the corresponding descriptions which are directed to the nonelected groups.

Should applicant traverse this requirement on the grounds that the groups are not patentably distinct, applicant should present evidence or identify such evidence now of record showing the groups to be obvious variations of one another. If the groups are determined not to be patentably distinct and they remain in this application, any rejection of one group over prior art will apply equally to all other groups. Ex parte Appeal No. 315-40, 152 USPQ 71 (Bd. App. 1965). No argument asserting patentability based on the differences between the groups will be considered once the groups have been determined to comprise a single inventive concept.

In view of the above requirement, action on the merits is deferred pending compliance with the requirement in accordance with Ex parte Heckman, 135 USPQ 229 (P.O. Super. Exam. 1960).

Examiner Note:

1. In bracket 5, add embodiments as necessary.

2. In bracket 8, add embodiments as necessary.

3. Insert an explanation of the differences between the designs in the explanations of the embodiments; for example, Figs. 1 – 5 directed to a cup and saucer; Figs. 6 – 9 directed to a saucer.

4. It is possible and proper that embodiments may be listed in both explanatory paragraphs.

5. In bracket 10, insert an explanation of the differences between the designs.

¶ 15.28.02    Telephone Restriction with Differences in Appearance and Scope

This application discloses the following embodiments:

Embodiment 1: Figs. [1] drawn to a [2].

Embodiment 2: Figs. [3] drawn to a [4].

[5]

The above embodiments divide into the following patentably distinct groups of designs:

Group I: Embodiment [6]

Group II: Embodiment [7]

[8]

Group(s) [9] involve a difference in appearance. Multiple embodiments of a single inventive concept may be included in the same design application only if they are patentably indistinct. In re Rubinfield, 270 F.2d 391, 123 USPQ 210 (CCPA 1959). Embodiments that are patentably distinct from one another do not constitute a single inventive concept and thus may not be included in the same design application. In re Platner, 155 USPQ 222 (Comm’r Pat. 1967). The [10] creates patentably distinct designs.

Because of the differences identified, the embodiments are considered to either have overall appearances that are not basically the same, or if they are basically the same, the differences are not minor and patentably indistinct or are not shown to be obvious in view of analogous prior art.

Group(s) [11] directed to the combination(s) in relation to Group(s) [12] directed to the subcombination(s)/element(s). The designs as grouped are distinct from each other since under the law a design patent covers only the design disclosed as an entirety, and does not extend to patentably distinct segregable parts; the only way to protect such segregable parts is to apply for separate patents. Ex parte Sanford, 1914 C.D. 69, 204 OG 1346 (Comm’r Pat. 1914); Blumcraft of Pittsburg v. Ladd, 238 F. Supp. 648, 144 USPQ 562 (D.D.C.1965). It is further noted that combination/subcombination subject matter, if patentably distinct, must be supported by separate claims, whereas only a single claim is permissible in a design patent application. In re Rubinfield, 270 F.2d 391, 123 USPQ 210 (CCPA 1959).

In any groups that include multiple embodiments, the embodiments are considered by the examiner to be obvious variations of one another within the group and, therefore, patentably indistinct. These embodiments thus comprise a single inventive concept and are grouped together.

Restriction is required under 35 U.S.C. 121 to one of the patentably distinct groups of designs.

During a telephone discussion with [13] on [14], a provisional election was made [15] traverse to prosecute the invention of Group [16]. Affirmation of this election should be made by applicant in replying to this Office action.

Group [17] is withdrawn from further consideration by the examiner, 37 CFR 1.142(b), as being for a nonelected invention.

Examiner Note:

1. In bracket 5, add embodiments as necessary.

2. In bracket 8, add groups as necessary.

3. Insert an explanation of the differences between the designs in the explanations of the embodiments; for example, Figs. 1 – 5 directed to a cup and saucer; Figs. 6 – 9 directed to a saucer.

4. It is possible and proper that embodiments may be listed in both explanatory paragraphs.

5. In bracket 10, insert an explanation of the differences between the designs.

6. In bracket 15, insert --with-- or --without--.

¶ 15.33    Qualifying Statement To Be Used In Restriction When A Common Embodiment Is Included In More Than One Group

The common embodiment is included in more than a single group as it is patentably indistinct from the other embodiment(s) in those groups and to give applicant the broadest possible choices in his or her election. If the common embodiment is elected in this application, then applicant is advised that the common embodiment should not be included in any continuing application to avoid a rejection on the ground of double patenting under 35 U.S.C. 171 in the new application.

The following form paragraphs may be used to notify applicant that the nonelected invention(s) are withdrawn from consideration.

¶ 15.34    Groups Withdrawn From Consideration After Traverse

Group [1] withdrawn from further consideration by the examiner, 37 CFR 1.142(b), as being for a nonelected design, the requirement having been traversed in the reply filed on [2].

¶ 15.35    Cancel Nonelected Design (Traverse)

The restriction requirement maintained in this application is or has been made final. Applicant must cancel Group [1] directed to the design(s) nonelected with traverse in the reply filed on [2], or take other timely appropriate action (37 CFR 1.144 ).

¶ 15.36    Groups Withdrawn From Consideration Without Traverse

Group [1] withdrawn from further consideration by the examiner, 37 CFR 1.142(b), as being for the nonelected design. Election was made without traverse in the reply filed on [2].

¶ 15.37    Cancellation of Nonelected Groups, No Traverse

In view of the fact that this application is in condition for allowance except for the presence of Group [1] directed to a design or designs nonelected without traverse in the reply filed on [2], and without the right to petition, such Group(s) have been canceled.

III.    TRAVERSAL OF RESTRICTION REQUIREMENT

If a response to a restriction requirement includes an election with traverse on the grounds that the groups are not patentably distinct, applicant must present evidence or identify such evidence of record showing the groups to be obvious variations of one another. Traversal of a restriction requirement alone without an explanation in support thereof will be treated as an election without traverse. See MPEP § 818.01(c) and form paragraph 8.25.02.

A traversal of a restriction requirement based on there being no serious burden to an examiner to search and examine an entire application (as noted in MPEP § 803) is not applicable to design patent applications. The fact that the embodiments may be searched together cannot preclude a requirement for restriction if their appearances are considered patentably distinct, since patentably distinct embodiments cannot be supported by a single formal design claim. Also, clear admission on the record by the applicant, on its own, that the embodiments are not patentably distinct (as noted in MPEP § 809.02(a)) will not overcome a requirement for restriction if the embodiments do not have overall appearances that are basically the same as each other.

When a traversal specifically points out alleged errors in a restriction, examiners must reevaluate the requirement in view of these remarks. If the restriction requirement is to be maintained, it must be repeated and made final in the next Office action and the arguments answered. If the application is otherwise in condition for allowance, except for the presence of a non-elected invention, the examiner should contact applicant and advise the applicant of the options with regard to any pending claims withdrawn from consideration. Alternatively, applicant may be notified using form paragraph 8.03. See MPEP § 821.01.