MPEP 601.01(d)
Application Filed Without All Pages of Specification

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

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601.01(d)    Application Filed Without All Pages of Specification [R-07.2015]

The Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP) reviews application papers to determine whether all of the pages of specification are present in the application. For an application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b) or (c) prior to December 18, 2013 or a design application, if the application is filed without all of the page(s) of the specification, but containing something that can be construed as a written description, at least one drawing figure, if necessary under 35 U.S.C. 113 (first sentence), and, in a nonprovisional application, at least one claim, an OPAP notice (e.g., a "Notice of Omitted Items") will be sent indicating that the application papers so deposited have been accorded a filing date, but are lacking some page(s) of the specification. For an application other than a design application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b) or (c) on or after December 18, 2013, if the application is filed without all of the page(s) of the specification, but contains something that can be construed as a specification, with or without claims, an OPAP notice (e.g., a "Notice of Omitted Items") will be sent indicating that the application papers so deposited have been accorded a filing date, but are lacking some page(s) of the specification.

If the application does not contain anything that can be construed as a written description, OPAP will mail a Notice of Incomplete Application indicating that the application lacks the specification required by 35 U.S.C. 112 and no filing date is granted.

I.    APPLICATION ENTITLED TO FILING DATE

The procedure for handling nonprovisional application papers having omitted items was revised in 2007. See "Change in Procedure for Handling Nonprovisional Applications Having Omitted Items," 1315 OG 103 (February 20, 2007). Under the revised procedure, the mailing of an OPAP notice regarding a missing page(s) of specification in a nonprovisional application will permit the applicant to:

  • (A) promptly establish prior receipt in the USPTO of the page(s) at issue. An applicant asserting that the page(s) was in fact received by the USPTO with the application papers must, within two months from the date of the OPAP notice, file a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f), along with evidence of such deposit. The petition fee will be refunded if it is determined that the page(s) was in fact received by the USPTO with the application papers deposited on filing. The two-month period is extendable under 37 CFR 1.136;
  • (B) promptly submit the omitted page(s) in a nonprovisional application and accept the date of such submission as the application filing date. An applicant desiring to submit the omitted page(s) in a nonprovisional application and accept the date of such submission as the application filing date must, within two months from the date of the OPAP notice, file any omitted page(s) and a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f), requesting the later filing date. The two-month period is extendable under 37 CFR 1.136. For applications filed before September 16, 2012, an oath or declaration in compliance with pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.63 and pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.64 must be filed with the omitted page(s) and refer to such page(s); or
  • (C) accept the application as deposited in the USPTO by filing an appropriate amendment. Applicant may accept the application as deposited in the USPTO by either:
    • (1) filing a substitute specification (including claims) that amends the specification to renumber the pages consecutively and cancels any incomplete sentences, in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(b)(3) and 1.125, without adding the subject matter that was in the omitted page(s) and without adding any new matter (see 35 U.S.C. 132(a) ). For a missing page of the claim listing only, applicant is required to submit a replacement claim listing with the claims renumbered consecutively, or, if amendment to the claims is also necessary, then a complete claim listing in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(c). The application will maintain the filing date as of the date of deposit of the application papers in the USPTO, and the original application papers (i.e., the original disclosure of the invention) will include only those application papers present in the USPTO on the date of deposit, or
    • (2) filing a substitute specification (excluding claims), in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(b)(3) and 1.125, to add the subject matter in the omitted page(s) by relying on an incorporation by reference under 37 CFR 1.57(b) or other portions of the original disclosure, without any adding new matter (see 35 U.S.C. 132(a) ). For a missing page of the claim listing, applicant is required to submit a complete claim listing in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(c). If an application was filed on or after September 21, 2004, and contains a claim under 37 CFR 1.55 for priority of a prior-filed foreign application, or a claim under 37 CFR 1.78 for the benefit of a prior-filed provisional, nonprovisional, or international application that was present on the filing date of the application, and the omitted portion of the specification was inadvertently omitted from the application and is completely contained in the prior-filed application, applicant may submit an amendment to include the inadvertently omitted portion of the specification pursuant to 37 CFR 1.57(b). The amendment should be identified as an amendment pursuant to 37 CFR 1.57(b) and must comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.57(b) and 37 CFR 1.121. See MPEP § 217. The application will maintain the filing date as of the date of deposit of the original application papers in the USPTO. The original application papers (i.e., the original disclosure of the invention) will include only those application papers present in the USPTO on the original date of deposit. The two-month period is extendable under 37 CFR 1.136.

The submission of omitted page(s) in a nonprovisional application and acceptance of the date of such submission as the application filing date is tantamount to simply filing a new application. Thus, applicants should consider filing a new application as an alternative to submitting a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 (with the petition fee under 37 CFR 1.17(f) ) with any omitted page(s), which is a cost effective alternative in instances in which a nonprovisional application is deposited without filing fees. Likewise, in view of the relatively low filing fee for provisional applications, and the USPTO’s desire to minimize the processing of provisional applications, the USPTO will not grant petitions under 37 CFR 1.182 to accept omitted page(s) and accord an application filing date as of the date of such submission in provisional applications. The applicant should simply file a new completed provisional application. The mailing of an OPAP notice regarding omitted page(s) in a provisional application will permit the applicant to either: (1) promptly establish prior receipt of the page(s) at issue by filing of a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f), along with evidence of such deposit; or (2) accept the application as deposited by failing to file a petition within a two-month non-extendable time period. Applications in which an OPAP notice regarding omitted items has been mailed will be retained in OPAP to await a reply to the notice. Failure to timely reply to the OPAP notice in a nonprovisional application will result in abandonment of the application. Nonprovisional applications that are timely completed will then be forwarded to the appropriate Technology Center for examination of the application. For provisional applications in which applicant accepts the application as deposited by failing to timely file a petition in response to an OPAP notice regarding omitted items, if the provisional application is complete under 37 CFR 1.51(c), it will be held in Office’s Image File Wrapper (IFW) system and automatically abandoned at the end of its pendency period. See MPEP § 601.01(a) for treatment of nonprovisional applications that are not complete under 37 CFR 1.51(b) and MPEP § 601.01(b) for treatment of provisional applications that are not complete under 37 CFR 1.51(c) ).

II.    APPLICATION NOT ENTITLED TO FILING DATE

If the application does not contain anything that can be construed as a written description, OPAP will mail a Notice of Incomplete Application indicating that the application lacks the specification required by 35 U.S.C. 112. Applicant may:

  • (A) file a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f), asserting that (1) the missing specification was submitted, or (2) the application papers as deposited contain an adequate written description under 35 U.S.C. 112. The petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) must be accompanied by sufficient evidence (37 CFR 1.181(b) ) to establish applicant’s entitlement to the requested filing date (e.g., a date-stamped postcard receipt (MPEP § 503) to establish prior receipt in the USPTO of the missing specification);
  • (B) submit the omitted specification, including at least one claim if the application is a nonprovisional application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) prior to December 18, 2013 or a design application, and accept the date of such submission as the application filing date. For applications filed before September 16, 2012, the omitted specification should be accompanied by an oath or declaration in compliance with pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.63 and pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.64 referring to the specification being submitted; or
  • (C) submit an amendment under 37 CFR 1.57(b) in a nonprovisional application. If a nonprovisional application was filed on or after September 21, 2004, and contains a claim under 37 CFR 1.55 for priority of a prior-filed foreign application, or a claim under 37 CFR 1.78 for the benefit of a prior-filed provisional, nonprovisional, or international application that was present on the filing date of the application, and the specification was inadvertently omitted from the application and is completely contained in the prior-filed application, applicant may submit an amendment to include the inadvertently omitted specification pursuant to 37 CFR 1.57(b). The amendment must be accompanied by a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) along with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f). See MPEP § 217. The amendment should be identified as an amendment pursuant to 37 CFR 1.57(b) and must comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.57(b) and 37 CFR 1.121. The two-month period is extendable under 37 CFR 1.136.

Applications in which a "Notice of Incomplete Application" has been mailed will be retained in OPAP to await action by the applicant since further action by the applicant is necessary for the application to be accorded a filing date. Unless applicant completes the application or files a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f), within the period set in the "Notice of Incomplete Application," the application will be processed as an incomplete application under 37 CFR 1.53(e).

III.    APPLICATION FORWARDED FOR EXAMINATION

If it is discovered that an application that was forwarded to a Technology Center (TC) for examination was filed without all of the page(s) of the specification, and a Notice of Omitted Items has not been mailed by OPAP, the examiner should review the application to determine whether the application is entitled to a filing date. An application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) prior to December 18, 2013 or a design application is entitled to a filing date if the application contains something that can be construed as a written description, at least one drawing figure (if necessary under 35 U.S.C. 113, first sentence), and at least one claim. If the application is not a design application and was filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) on or after December 18, 2013, the application is entitled to a filing date if it is filed with a specification, with or without claims. However, claims must be filed before the application is sent to the TC.

A.    Application Entitled to a Filing Date

If an application filed without all of the pages of the specification is entitled to a filing date, the examiner should notify applicant of the omission in the next Office action and require applicant to do one of the following:

  • (A) accept the application, as filed, without all of the page(s) of the specification;
  • (B) file any omitted page(s) and a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f), requesting the date of submission of the omitted page(s) as the application filing date. For applications filed before September 16, 2012, the omitted pages must be accompanied by an oath or declaration in compliance with pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.63 and pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.64 referring to the omitted page(s); or
  • (C) file a petition under 37 CFR 1.53(e) with the petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f) alleging that the page(s) indicated as omitted was in fact deposited with the USPTO with the application papers, including any and all evidence supporting the allegation. See MPEP § 503. The petition fee will be refunded if it is determined that the page(s) was in fact received by the USPTO with the application papers deposited on filing.

If applicant is willing to accept the application, as filed, without all of the page(s) of the application (item A above), an amendment of the specification is required to renumber the pages of the application consecutively and to cancel any incomplete sentences caused by the absence of the omitted page(s). The amendment should be submitted in response to the Office action.

If an application was filed on or after September 21, 2004, and contains a claim under 37 CFR 1.55 for priority of a prior-filed foreign application, or a claim under 37 CFR 1.78 for the benefit of a prior-filed provisional, nonprovisional, international, or international design application that was present on the filing date of the application, and the omitted portion of the specification was inadvertently omitted from the application and is completely contained in the prior-filed application, applicant may submit an amendment to include the inadvertently omitted portion of the specification pursuant to 37 CFR 1.57(b). The amendment should be submitted in response to the Office action and must comply with 37 CFR 1.57(b) and 37 CFR 1.121. See MPEP § 217.

Any petition filed in accordance with item B or C above will be forwarded to the Office of Petitions.

B.    Application NOT Entitled to a Filing Date

If upon review of the application, the examiner determines that the application is NOT entitled to a filing date, the examiner should forward the application to OPAP for mailing of a "Notice of Incomplete Application."