2163.07 Amendments to Application Which Are Supported in the Original Description [R-08.2017]
Amendments to an application which are supported in the original description are NOT new matter.
Mere rephrasing of a passage does not constitute new matter. Accordingly, a rewording of a passage where the same meaning remains intact is permissible. In re Anderson, 471 F.2d 1237, 176 USPQ 331 (CCPA 1973). The mere inclusion of dictionary or art recognized definitions known at the time of filing an application may not be considered new matter. If there are multiple definitions for a term and a definition is added to the application, it must be clear from the application as filed that applicant intended a particular definition, in order to avoid an issue of new matter and/or lack of written description. See, e.g., Schering Corp. v. Amgen, Inc., 222 F.3d 1347, 1352-53, 55 USPQ2d 1650, 1654 (Fed. Cir. 2000). In Schering, the original disclosure was drawn to recombinant DNA molecules and used the term "leukocyte interferon." Shortly after the filing date, a scientific committee abolished the term in favor of "IFN-(a)," since the latter term more specifically identified a particular polypeptide and since the committee found that leukocytes also produced other types of interferon. The court held that the subsequent amendment to the specification and claims substituting the term "IFN-(a)" for "leukocyte interferon" merely renamed the invention and did not constitute new matter. The claims were limited to cover only the interferon subtype coded for by the inventor’s original deposits.
II. OBVIOUS ERRORS
An amendment to correct an obvious error does not constitute new matter where one skilled in the art would not only recognize the existence of error in the specification, but also the appropriate correction. In re Oda, 443 F.2d 1200, 170 USPQ 268 (CCPA 1971).
Where a foreign priority document under 35 U.S.C. 119 is of record in the U.S. application file, applicant may not rely on the disclosure of that document to support correction of an error in the pending U.S. application. Ex parte Bondiou, 132 USPQ 356 (Bd. Pat. App. & Int. 1961). This prohibition applies regardless of the language of the foreign priority documents because a claim for priority is simply a claim for the benefit of an earlier filing date for subject matter that is common to two or more applications, and does not serve to incorporate the content of the priority document in the application in which the claim for priority is made. This prohibition does not apply where the U.S. application explicitly incorporates the foreign priority document by reference. For applications filed on or after September 21, 2004, where all or a portion of the specification or drawing(s) is inadvertently omitted from the U.S. application, a claim under 37 CFR 1.55 for priority of a prior-filed foreign application that is present on the filing date of the application is considered an incorporation by reference of the prior-filed foreign application as to the inadvertently omitted portion of the specification or drawing(s), subject to the conditions and requirements of 37 CFR 1.57(a). See 37 CFR 1.57(a) and MPEP § 217.
Where a U.S. application as originally filed was in a non-English language and an English translation thereof was subsequently submitted pursuant to 37 CFR 1.52(d), if there is an error in the English translation, applicant may rely on the disclosure of the originally filed non-English language U.S. application to support correction of an error in the English translation document.