2001.06(a) Prior Art Cited in Related Foreign Applications [R-08.2012]
Applicants and other individuals, as set forth in 37 CFR 1.56, have a duty to bring to the attention of the Office any material prior art or other information cited or brought to their attention in any related foreign application. The inference that such prior art or other information is material is especially strong where it has been used in rejecting the same or similar claims in the foreign application or where it has been identified in some manner as particularly relevant. See Gemveto Jewelry Co. v. Lambert Bros., Inc., 542 F. Supp. 933, 216 USPQ 976 (S.D. N.Y. 1982) wherein a patent was held invalid or unenforceable because patentee’s foreign counsel did not disclose to patentee’s United States counsel or to the Office prior art cited by the Dutch Patent Office in connection with the patentee’s corresponding Dutch application. The court stated, 542 F. Supp. at 943, 216 USPQ at 985:
Foreign patent attorneys representing applicants for U.S. patents through local correspondent firms surely must be held to the same standards of conduct which apply to their American counterparts; a double standard of accountability would allow foreign attorneys and their clients to escape responsibility for fraud or inequitable conduct merely by withholding from the local correspondent information unfavorable to patentability and claiming ignorance of United States disclosure requirements.