2304.01(b) Obtaining Control Over Involved Files [R-08.2017]
Ordinarily applications that are believed to interfere should be assigned to the same examiner.
I. IN DIFFERENT TECHNOLOGY CENTERS
If the interference would be between two applications, and the applications are assigned to different Technology Centers (TCs), then one application must be reassigned. Ordinarily the applications should both be assigned to the TC where the commonly claimed invention would be classified. After termination of the interference, further transfer may be appropriate depending on the outcome of the interference.
II. PAPERS NOT CONVERTED TO IMAGE FILE WRAPPER FILES
Although the official records for most applications have been converted into Image File Wrapper (IFW) files, some records exist only in paper form, particularly older benefit application files. Even IFW files may have artifact records that have not been converted. Complete patent and benefit files are necessary for determining whether benefit should be accorded for purposes of pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(g)(1). A suggested interference must not be referred to the Board if all files, including benefit files, are not available to the examiner in either IFW format or paper.
If a paper file wrapper has been lost, it must be reconstructed before the interference is referred to the Board.
III. PATENT COOPERATION TREATY APPLICATION FILES
Generally, a separate application file for a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application is not required for according benefit because the PCT application is included in a national stage application file that is itself either the application involved in the interference or a benefit file. Occasionally, however, the PCT application file itself is required for benefit. For instance, if benefit is claimed to the PCT application, but not to a national stage application in which it is included, then the PCT application file must be obtained.