MPEP 608.03(a)
Handling of Models, Exhibits, and Specimens

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

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608.03(a)    Handling of Models, Exhibits, and Specimens [R-07.2015]

All models and exhibits received in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office should be taken to the Technology Center (TC) assigned the related application for examination. The receipt of all models and exhibits which are to be entered into the application file record must be properly recorded on an artifact sheet.

A label indicating the application number, filing date, and attorney’s name and address should be attached to the model or exhibit so that it is clearly identified and easily returned. The Office may return the model, exhibit, or specimen, at any time once it is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office and return of the model or exhibit is appropriate. See 37 CFR 1.94.

If the model or exhibit cannot be conveniently stored in an artifact folder, it should not be accepted.

Models and exhibits may be presented for demonstration purposes during an interview. The models and exhibits should be taken away by applicant or his/her attorney or agent at the conclusion of the interview since models or exhibits are generally not permitted to be admitted as part of the application or patent unless the requirements of 37 CFR 1.91 are satisfied. See MPEP § 713.08. A full description of what was demonstrated or exhibited during the interview must be made of record. See 37 CFR 1.133. Any model or exhibit that is left with the examiner at the conclusion of the interview, which is not made part of the application or patent, may be disposed of at the discretion of the Office.

37 C.F.R. 1.94 Return of models, exhibits or specimens.

  • (a) Models, exhibits, or specimens may be returned to the applicant if no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office. When applicant is notified that a model, exhibit, or specimen is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office and will be returned, applicant must arrange for the return of the model, exhibit, or specimen at the applicant’s expense. The Office will dispose of perishables without notice to applicant unless applicant notifies the Office upon submission of the model, exhibit or specimen that a return is desired and makes arrangements for its return promptly upon notification by the Office that the model, exhibit or specimen is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office.
  • (b) Applicant is responsible for retaining the actual model, exhibit, or specimen for the enforceable life of any patent resulting from the application. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply to a model or exhibit that substantially conforms to the requirements of § 1.52 or § 1.84, where the model or exhibit has been described by photographs that substantially conform to § 1.84, or where the model, exhibit or specimen is perishable.
  • (c) Where applicant is notified, pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, of the need to arrange for return of a model, exhibit or specimen, applicant must arrange for the return within the period set in such notice, to avoid disposal of the model, exhibit or specimen by the Office. Extensions of time are available under § 1.136, except in the case of perishables. Failure to establish that the return of the item has been arranged for within the period set or failure to have the item removed from Office storage within a reasonable amount of time notwithstanding any arrangement for return, will permit the Office to dispose of the model, exhibit or specimen.

When applicant is notified that a model, exhibit, or specimen is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office and will be returned, applicant must make arrangements for the return of the model, exhibit, or specimen at applicant’s expense. The Office may return the model, exhibit, or specimen at any time once it is no longer necessary for the conduct of business and need not wait until the close of prosecution or later. Where the model, exhibit, or specimen is a perishable, the Office will be presumed to have permission to dispose of the item without notice to applicant, unless applicant notifies the Office upon submission of the item that a return is desired and arrangements are promptly made for the item’s return upon notification by the Office.

For models, exhibits, or specimens that are returned, applicant is responsible for retaining the actual model, exhibit, or specimen for the enforceable life of any patent resulting from the application except where: (A) the model or exhibit substantially conforms to the requirements of 37 CFR 1.52 or 1.84; (B) the model or exhibit has been described by photographs that substantially conform to 37 CFR 1.84; or (C) the model, exhibit, or specimen is perishable. Applicant may be called upon to resubmit such returned model, exhibit, or specimen under appropriate circumstances, such as where a continuing application is filed.

The notification to applicant that a model, exhibit, or specimen is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office will set a time period within which applicant must make arrangements for a return of a model, exhibit, or specimen. The time period is normally two months from the mailing date of the notification, unless the item is perishable, in which case the time period will be shorter. Extensions of time are available under 37 CFR 1.136, except in the case of perishables. Failure by applicant to establish that arrangements for the return of a model, exhibit, or specimen have been made within the time period set in the notice will result in the disposal of the model, exhibit, or specimen by the Office.

Form paragraph 6.48 may be used to notify applicant that the model, exhibit, or specimen is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office and that applicant must make arrangement for the return of the model, exhibit, or specimen.

¶ 6.48    Model, Exhibit, or Specimen - Applicant Must Make Arrangements for Return

The [1] is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office. Applicant must arrange for the return of the model, exhibit or specimen at the applicant’s expense in accordance with 37 CFR 1.94(a).

Applicant is given TWO MONTHS from the mailing date of this letter to make arrangements for return of the above-identified model, exhibit, or specimen to avoid its disposal in accordance with 37 CFR 1.94(c). Extensions of time are available under 37 CFR 1.136, except in the case of perishables.

Applicant is responsible for retaining the actual model, exhibit, or specimen for the enforceable life of any patent resulting from the application unless one of the exceptions set forth in 37 CFR 1.94(b) applies.

Examiner Note:

1. In bracket 1, identify the model, exhibit, or specimen that is no longer needed by the Office.

2. The Office will dispose of perishables without notice to Applicant unless applicant notifies the Office upon submission of the model, exhibit or specimen that a return is desired and makes arrangements for its return promptly upon notification by the Office that the model, exhibit or specimen is no longer necessary for the conduct of business before the Office.

For plant specimens, see MPEP § 1607 and 37 CFR 1.166.

37 C.F.R. 1.95 Copies of exhibits.

Copies of models or other physical exhibits will not ordinarily be furnished by the Office, and any model or exhibit in an application or patent shall not be taken from the Office except in the custody of an employee of the Office specially authorized by the Director.