MPEP 608.05(a)
Deposit of Computer Program Listings

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

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608.05(a)    Deposit of Computer Program Listings [R-07.2015]

37 C.F.R. 1.96 Submission of computer program listings.

  • (a) General. Descriptions of the operation and general content of computer program listings should appear in the description portion of the specification. A computer program listing for the purpose of this section is defined as a printout that lists in appropriate sequence the instructions, routines, and other contents of a program for a computer. The program listing may be either in machine or machine-independent (object or source) language which will cause a computer to perform a desired procedure or task such as solve a problem, regulate the flow of work in a computer, or control or monitor events. Computer program listings may be submitted in patent applications as set forth in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.
  • (b) Material which will be printed in the patent: If the computer program listing is contained in 300 lines or fewer, with each line of 72 characters or fewer, it may be submitted either as drawings or as part of the specification.
    • (1) Drawings. If the listing is submitted as drawings, it must be submitted in the manner and complying with the requirements for drawings as provided in § 1.84. At least one figure numeral is required on each sheet of drawing.
    • (2) Specification.
      • (i) If the listing is submitted as part of the specification, it must be submitted in accordance with the provisions of § 1.52.
      • (ii) Any listing having more than 60 lines of code that is submitted as part of the specification must be positioned at the end of the description but before the claims. Any amendment must be made by way of submission of a substitute sheet.
  • (c) As an appendix which will not be printed: Any computer program listing may, and any computer program listing having over 300 lines (up to 72 characters per line) must, be submitted on a compact disc in compliance with § 1.52(e). A compact disc containing such a computer program listing is to be referred to as a "computer program listing appendix." The "computer program listing appendix" will not be part of the printed patent. The specification must include a reference to the "computer program listing appendix" at the location indicated in § 1.77(b)(5).
    • (1) Multiple computer program listings for a single application may be placed on a single compact disc. Multiple compact discs may be submitted for a single application if necessary. A separate compact disc is required for each application containing a computer program listing that must be submitted on a "computer program listing appendix."
    • (2) The "computer program listing appendix" must be submitted on a compact disc that complies with § 1.52(e) and the following specifications (no other format shall be allowed):
      • (i) Computer Compatibility: IBM PC/XT/AT, or compatibles, or Apple Macintosh;
      • (ii) Operating System Compatibility: MS-DOS, MS-Windows, Unix, or Macintosh;
      • (iii) Line Terminator: ASCII Carriage Return plus ASCII Line Feed;
      • (iv) Control Codes: the data must not be dependent on control characters or codes which are not defined in the ASCII character set; and
      • (v) Compression: uncompressed data.

Special procedures for presentation of computer program listings in the form of ASCII text files in U.S. national patent applications are set forth in 37 CFR 1.96. Submission via EFS-Web or the use of compact disc files is desirable in view of the number of computer program listings being submitted as part of the disclosure in patent applications. Such listings are often several hundred pages in length. By filing and publishing such computer program listings electronically or on compact discs rather than on paper, substantial cost savings can result to the applicants, the public, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

See MPEP § 608.05, subsection I., for details pertaining to submission of text files via EFS-Web, and subsection II. for details pertaining to submissions on compact disc.

I.    BACKGROUND

A computer program listing, as used in these rules, means the printout that lists, in proper sequence, the instructions, routines, and other contents of a program for a computer. The listing may be either in machine or machine-independent (object or source) programming language which will cause a computer to perform a desired task, such as solving a problem, regulating the flow of work in computer, or controlling or monitoring events. The general description of the computer program listing will appear in the specification while the computer program listing may appear either directly or as a computer program listing appendix to the specification, submitted in an ASCII text file via EFS-Web or on compact disc, and incorporated into the specification by reference.

Copies of publicly available computer program listings are available via Public PAIR. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office also provides publicly available computer program listings on paper and on compact disc at the cost set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(a).

II.    DISCUSSION OF THE BACKGROUND AND MAJOR ISSUES INVOLVED

The provisions of 37 CFR 1.52 and 37 CFR 1.84 for submitting specifications and drawings on paper have been found suitable for most patent applications, although submission via EFS-Web is preferred. When lengthy computer program listings must be disclosed in a patent application in order to provide a complete disclosure, use of paper copies can become burdensome. The cost of printing long computer programs in patent documents is also very expensive to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Under 37 CFR 1.96, several different methods for submitting computer program listings, including the use of compact discs, are set forth. A computer program listing contained on three hundred printout lines or less may be submitted either as drawings (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.84 ), as part of the written specification (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52 ), on compact disc (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.52(e) ), or as an ASCII text file via EFS-Web (in compliance with the EFS-Web Legal Framework (see MPEP § 502.05)). A computer program listing contained on three hundred and one (301) printout lines or more must be submitted as ASCII files on compact discs (in compliance with 37 CFR 1.96(c) ) or submitted via EFS-Web.

Form paragraph 6.64.01 or 6.64.02 may be used to notify the applicant of this requirement.

¶ 6.64.01    Computer Program Listing Appendix of More Than 300 Lines in Specification

The specification of this application contains a computer program listing consisting of more than three hundred (300) lines. In accordance with 37 CFR 1.96(c), a computer program listing of more than three hundred lines must be submitted as an appendix in text format. The computer program listing appendix may be submitted as a text file via EFS-Web or on compact disc conforming to the standards set forth in 37 CFR 1.96(c)(2). The computer program listing must be appropriately referenced in the specification (see 37 CFR 1.77(b)(5) ). Accordingly, applicant is required to cancel the current computer program listing, file a computer program listing appendix as a text file via EFS-Web or on compact disc in compliance with 37 CFR 1.96(c), and insert an appropriate reference to the newly added computer program listing appendix at the beginning of the specification.

Examiner Note:

1. This form paragraph must be used whenever a computer program listing consisting of more than three hundred lines is included as part of the descriptive portion of the specification if the computer program listing was filed on or after September 8, 2000. See MPEP § 608.05(a).

2. In bracket 1, insert the range of page numbers of the specification which include the computer program listing.

¶ 6.64.02    Computer Program Listing as Printout Within the Specification (More Than 60 Lines And Not More Than Three Hundred Lines)

This application contains a computer program listing of over sixty (60) lines and less than three hundred and one (301) lines within the written specification. In accordance with 37 CFR 1.96(b), a computer program listing contained on over sixty (60) lines and less than three hundred-one (301) lines must, if submitted as part of the specification, be positioned at the end of the specification and before the claims. Accordingly, applicant is required to cancel the computer program listing and either incorporate such listing in a text file submitted via EFS-Web or on compact disc in compliance with 37 CFR 1.96, or insert the computer program listing after the detailed description of the invention but before the claims.

Examiner Note:

This form paragraph must be used whenever a computer program listing consisting of a paper printout of more than 60 lines and no more than three hundred lines is included as part of the descriptive portion of the specification and the computer program listing was filed on or after September 8, 2000. See MPEP § 608.05(a).

A computer program listing of more than three hundred lines will not be printed in any patent application publication or patent. See 37 CFR 1.96(c).

III.    OTHER INFORMATION

A Computer Program Listing Appendix submitted electronically via EFS-Web in ASCII text or on compact disc will be identified as such in the patent but will not be part of the printed patent. A statement must be included in the specification to the effect that a computer program listing appendix on compact disc is included in the application. The specification entry should appear at the beginning of the specification following any cross-reference to related applications. 37 CFR 1.77(b)(5). When an application containing compact discs is received in the Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP), an artifact folder will be created. The application file will then proceed on its normal course.

The Office provided for the continuation of prior microfiche appendix practice for computer listings until March 1, 2001. All computer listings as part of the application disclosure filed prior to March 2, 2001 that are in conformance with the microfiche appendix rules as in force on September 7, 2000 may rely on the microfiche and need not submit a computer program listing appendix on compact disc; all computer listings as part of the application disclosure not in conformance with such microfiche appendix rules must conform to the requirements of 37 CFR 1.52 and 37 CFR 1.96 as set forth above.

IV.    TEMPORARY CONTINUATION OF MICROFICHE PRACTICE UNTIL MARCH 1, 2001

Form paragraph 6.64.04 may be used to notify applicant of an unacceptable microfiche appendix.

¶ 6.64.04    "Microfiche Appendix" Unacceptable

The computer program listing filed on [1] as a "microfiche appendix" is unacceptable. A computer program listing conforming to the requirements of 37 CFR 1.96 is required.

Examiner Note:

1. This form paragraph should be used if a "microfiche appendix" was filed after March 1, 2001 or if a "microfiche appendix" filed on or before March 1, 2001 was not in compliance with former rule 37 CFR 1.96(c). See MPEP § 608.05(a).

2. In bracket 1, insert the date the "microfiche appendix" was filed.