MPEP 2163.07(a)
Inherent Function, Theory, or Advantage

Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 07.2022, Last Revised in February 2023

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2163.07(a)    Inherent Function, Theory, or Advantage [R-07.2022]

By disclosing in a patent application a device that inherently performs a function or has a property, operates according to a theory or has an advantage, a patent application necessarily discloses that function, theory or advantage, even though it says nothing explicit concerning it. The application may later be amended to recite the function, theory or advantage without introducing prohibited new matter. In re Reynolds, 443 F.2d 384, 170 USPQ 94 (CCPA 1971); In re Smythe, 480 F. 2d 1376, 178 USPQ 279 (CCPA 1973); Yeda Research and Dev. Co. v. Abbott GMBH & Co., 837 F.3d 1341, 120 USPQ2d 1299 (Fed. Cir. 2016) ("Under the doctrine of inherent disclosure, when a specification describes an invention that has certain undisclosed yet inherent properties, that specification serves as adequate written description to support a subsequent patent application that explicitly recites the invention’s inherent properties." (citing Kennecott Corp. v. Kyocera Int’l, Inc., 835 F.2d 1419, 1423, 5 USPQ2d 1194, 1198 (Fed. Cir. 1987))). "To establish inherency, the extrinsic evidence ‘must make clear that the missing descriptive matter is necessarily present in the thing described in the reference, and that it would be so recognized by persons of ordinary skill. Inherency, however, may not be established by probabilities or possibilities. The mere fact that a certain thing may result from a given set of circumstances is not sufficient.’" In re Robertson, 169 F.3d 743, 745, 49 USPQ2d 1949, 1950-51 (Fed. Cir. 1999) (citations omitted).