MPEP 2809
Items of Information

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

Previous: §2808 | Next: §2809.01

2809    Items of Information [R-11.2013]

37 C.F.R. 1.605  Items of information.

  • (a) Each request for supplemental examination may include no more than twelve items of information believed to be relevant to the patent. More than one request for supplemental examination of the same patent may be filed at any time during the period of enforceability of the patent.
  • (b) An item of information includes a document submitted as part of the request that contains information, believed to be relevant to the patent, that the patent owner requests the Office to consider, reconsider, or correct. If the information to be considered, reconsidered, or corrected is not, at least in part, contained within or based on any document submitted as part of the request, the discussion within the body of the request relative to the information will be considered as an item of information.
  • (c) An item of information must be in writing in accordance with § 1.2. To be considered, any audio or video recording must be submitted in the form of a written transcript.
  • (d) If one item of information is combined in the request with one or more additional items of information, each item of information of the combination may be separately counted. Exceptions include the combination of a non-English language document and its translation, and the combination of a document that is over 50 pages in length and its summary pursuant to § 1.610(b)(8).

An "item of information" includes a document submitted as part of a supplemental examination request that contains information believed to be relevant to the patent, that the patent owner is requesting the Office to consider, reconsider, or correct. See 37 CFR 1.605(b). Patent owners are encouraged to draft the supplemental examination request to clearly and consistently set forth the items of information the patent owner wishes the Office to consider, reconsider, or correct.

I.    LIMIT ON THE NUMBER OF ITEMS OF INFORMATION SUBMITTED AS PART OF A SINGLE REQUEST

Each request for supplemental examination may include no more than twelve items of information believed to be relevant to the patent. See 37 CFR 1.605(a). 37 CFR 1.605(a) also permits the filing of more than one request for supplemental examination of the same patent at any time during the period of enforceability of the patent. Therefore, patent owner is not precluded from obtaining review of any item of information despite the twelve-item limit, because the patent owner may file one or more additional requests for supplemental examination of the same patent sequentially or at the same time, each of which may include up to twelve additional items of information.

II.    REQUIREMENTS FOR AN ITEM OF INFORMATION

An item of information must be in writing. In most cases, an "item of information" is a separate document submitted as part of the request. Under certain conditions, however, an "item of information" may be contained within the body of the request.

A.    An Item of Information Must Be in Writing

37 CFR 1.605(c) requires that an item of information must be in writing in accordance with 37 CFR 1.2. The Office does not currently have the capability of retaining records in unwritten form. For this reason, any audio or video recording must be submitted in the form of a written transcript in order to be considered. A transcript of a video may be submitted together with copies of selected images of the video, and a discussion of the correlation between the transcript and the copies of the video images. See also MPEP § 2807 regarding the format requirements for papers submitted in a supplemental examination proceeding.

B.    An Item of Information Must Be Submitted as a Separate Document, Where Applicable

In most cases, an item of information is a separate document submitted with the request which contains information relevant to the patent that the patent owner wants the Office to consider, reconsider, or correct. Examples of an item of information that must be submitted as a separate document include a journal article, a patent, an affidavit or declaration, a sales receipt, a foreign search report, a copy of a page of a dictionary containing a definition, a court document, and a transcript of an audio or video recording. However, if the item of information is a U.S. patent or a U.S. patent application publication, a copy is not required, but may be submitted. See 37 CFR 1.610(b)(7).

C.    When an Item of Information May be Contained within the Body of the Request

If the information to be considered, reconsidered, or corrected is not, at least in part, contained within or based on a supporting document submitted as part of the request, the discussion within the body of the request relative to that information will be considered as the item of information. For example, if the patent owner requests the Office to consider claim 1 of the patent on the basis of 35 U.S.C. 101, and the discussion of any potential application of 35 U.S.C. 101 to claim 1 is wholly contained within the body of the request and is not based, at least in part, on any supporting document, the discussion in the request will be considered as the item of information. Another example of an item of information that may be contained within the request is an admission by patent owner that certain facts or claim limitations were known at the time of the invention.

The patent owner may not avoid counting an item of information by inserting the content of the supporting document within the body of the request. For example, if the patent owner presents an image of a supporting document, such as an image of an electronic mail message or other document, within the body of the request, then a separate copy of the supporting document must be provided. The separate copy of the item will be considered as the item of information.

III.    HOW ITEMS OF INFORMATION ARE COUNTED

When counting the number of items of information submitted with a request for supplemental examination, the Office will tally the number of items of information, such as documents, presented.

The Office will not count the number of issues raised by, or the number of grounds which the patent owner requests the Office to consider, when determining the number of items of information. A single reference that raises multiple issues under multiple grounds, for example, under 35 U.S.C. 102, 35 U.S.C. 103, and 35 U.S.C. 112, will be counted as a single item of information. However, if the patent owner cites a combination of multiple references under 35 U.S.C. 103, then each reference of the combination will be separately counted as an item of information.

For example, if the patent owner states that the claims are patentable under 35 U.S.C. 103 over the combination of reference A in view of reference B, then references A and B must be separately listed as items of information, and will be counted as two items. If, however, a single item of information, such as a reference patent, raises a potential issue under 35 U.S.C. 102 as to claim 1 and another potential issue under 35 U.S.C. 103 as to claim 2, the reference patent will nevertheless be counted as a single item of information. The Office will count the number of items of information, but will not count the number of issues potentially raised by each item.

As another example, if the patent owner relies upon different abstracts bound together in a book of meeting abstracts, it is likely that the Office will treat each abstract as a separate item of information. In this example, the Office suggests that the patent owner cite and rely upon only the particular abstracts that are relevant to the patent and not cite an entire book of meeting abstracts.

Cumulative items of information will each be separately counted. For example, if the patent owner indicates that reference A is cumulative to reference B, references A and B will be counted as two items of information. If the patent owner believes that multiple items of information are cumulative to each other, the patent owner is encouraged to select one or two documents as the items of information that will be submitted with the request.

If a discussion within the body of the request is based, at least in part, on a supporting document, then the supporting document, and not the discussion within the request, will be counted as the item of information. For example, if the patent owner discusses a potential public use or sale of the claimed invention, and also submits a supporting document, such as a sales invoice, with the request as possible evidence of a public use or sale, or the lack thereof, then the supporting document (e.g., the sales invoice), and not the discussion within the body of the request, will be considered as an item of information.

A declaration or affidavit submitted as part of a request would be considered an item of information. However, if the declaration presents two distinct items of information, such as information relating to a potential ground under 35 U.S.C. 101 as to patent claim 1 that was not considered during the prior examination of the patent, and information relating to erroneous facts or data presented during the prior examination of the patent with respect to an issue under 35 U.S.C. 103 as to patent claim 10, then each item of information contained within the declaration will be counted separately, resulting in two items of information.

The patent owner may not avoid the counting of multiple items of information by inserting the multiple items within the body of a declaration or by presenting them as exhibits accompanying the declaration. If the declaration presents one item of information, such as information regarding erroneous data presented during the prior examination of the patent with respect to an issue under 35 U.S.C. 103 as to a particular patent claim (such as, e.g., claim 10), and relies upon a single exhibit, such as a new table of data, to support facts presented in the declaration, the Office is likely to count the declaration, including the supporting exhibit, as a single item of information. If, however, the declaration relies upon two separate and distinct exhibits, then each exhibit may be counted separately. For example, if the declaration relies upon two separate and distinct sales receipts as evidence of a potential sale of the invention (e.g., a sales receipt dated March 2011, and a second, separate sales receipt dated October 2011, which provides evidence of a second, separate sale of the invention), then each additional sales receipt will be counted separately, resulting in two items of information (one item consisting of the declaration and one sales receipt, and the second item consisting of the second sales receipt). As another example, if the declaration relies not only upon a sales receipt (e.g., exhibit 1) as evidence of a sale of the invention under 35 U.S.C. 102, but also upon a reference patent (e.g., exhibit 2) as evidence of a potential ground under 35 U.S.C. 103, then each additional exhibit will be counted separately. In this example, the declaration and the sales receipt will be counted as a first item of information and the reference patent will be counted as a second item of information.

37 CFR 1.605(d) provides that if an item of information is combined in the request with one or more additional items of information, each item of information of the combination may be separately counted. If it is necessary to combine items of information in order to raise an issue, or to explain the relevance of the items of information to be considered, reconsidered, or corrected with respect to the identified claims, each item of information may be separately counted. For example, if the patent owner requests consideration of claim 1 of a patent in light of references A and B, and explains that it is the combination of references A and B that is relevant to claim 1, reference A and reference B must be separately listed as items of information, and will be counted as two items of information.

Exceptions to this provision include the combination of a non-English language document and its translation, and the combination of a document that is over 50 pages in length and its summary pursuant to 37 CFR 1.610(b)(8).

IV.    INFORMATION THAT SHOULD NOT BE SUBMITTED WITH THE REQUEST

Petitions should not be submitted with the request. Petitions including, for example, petitions for unintentionally delayed foreign priority or domestic benefit claims (see MPEP § 2809.01), should only be filed after reexamination is ordered. If a petition is filed in a supplemental examination proceeding, it will generally be held in abeyance until after the issuance of the supplemental examination certificate. See 37 CFR 1.620(b) and MPEP § 2813. If the Office determines that a substantial new question of patentability is raised by the request, any petition held in abeyance will be addressed in due course after reexamination is ordered. If, however, the Office determines that no substantial new question of patentability is raised by the request, any petition held in abeyance will be dismissed as moot.

In addition, amendments to the patent may not be submitted with the request. No amendment may be filed in a supplemental examination proceeding. 37 CFR 1.620(f). Any paper containing an amendment that is filed in a supplemental examination proceeding is an unauthorized paper, and will be expunged from the file if inadvertently entered. If reexamination is ordered, amendments may be filed after an initial Office action on the merits in the resulting reexamination proceeding. See MPEP § 2813.01.