MPEP 2152.02(b)
Described in a Printed Publication

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

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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.