MPEP 704.10
Requirements for Information

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

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704.10    Requirements for Information [R-07.2015]

37 C.F.R. 1.105 Requirements for information.

  • (a)
    • (1) In the course of examining or treating a matter in a pending or abandoned application, in a patent, or in a reexamination proceeding, including a reexamination proceeding ordered as a result of a supplemental examination proceeding, the examiner or other Office employee may require the submission, from individuals identified under § 1.56(c), or any assignee, of such information as may be reasonably necessary to properly examine or treat the matter, for example:
      • (i) Commercial databases: The existence of any particularly relevant commercial database known to any of the inventors that could be searched for a particular aspect of the invention.
      • (ii) Search: Whether a search of the prior art was made, and if so, what was searched.
      • (iii) Related information: A copy of any non-patent literature, published application, or patent (U.S. or foreign), by any of the inventors, that relates to the claimed invention.
      • (iv) Information used to draft application: A copy of any non-patent literature, published application, or patent (U.S. or foreign) that was used to draft the application.
      • (v) Information used in invention process: A copy of any non-patent literature, published application, or patent (U.S. or foreign) that was used in the invention process, such as by designing around or providing a solution to accomplish an invention result.
      • (vi) Improvements: Where the claimed invention is an improvement, identification of what is being improved.
      • (vii) In Use: Identification of any use of the claimed invention known to any of the inventors at the time the application was filed notwithstanding the date of the use.
      • (viii) Technical information known to applicant. Technical information known to applicant concerning the related art, the disclosure, the claimed subject matter, other factual information pertinent to patentability, or concerning the accuracy of the examiner’s stated interpretation of such items.
    • (2) Requirements for factual information known to applicant may be presented in any appropriate manner, for example:
      • (i) A requirement for factual information;
      • (ii) Interrogatories in the form of specific questions seeking applicant’s factual knowledge; or
      • (iii) Stipulations as to facts with which the applicant may agree or disagree.
    • (3) Any reply to a requirement for information pursuant to this section that states either that the information required to be submitted is unknown to or is not readily available to the party or parties from which it was requested may be accepted as a complete reply.
  • (b) The requirement for information of paragraph (a)(1) of this section may be included in an Office action, or sent separately.
  • (c) A reply, or a failure to reply, to a requirement for information under this section will be governed by §§ 1.135 and 1.136.

An examiner or other Office employee may require from individuals identified under 37 CFR 1.56(c), the submission of such information as may be reasonably necessary to properly examine or treat a matter in a pending or abandoned application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111, in a pending or abandoned application that has entered the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371, in a patent, or in a reexamination proceeding. The scope of 37 CFR 1.105 is extended to any assignee or anyone to whom there is an obligation to assign the application because the information required may be known to some members of the assignee or obligated assignee even if not known by the inventors.

The authority for the Office to make such requirements arises from the statutory requirements of examination pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 131 and 132. An examiner or other Office employee may make a requirement for information reasonably necessary to the examination or treatment of a matter in accordance with the policies and practices set forth by the Director(s) of the Technology Center or other administrative unit to which that examiner or other Office employee reports. See Star Fruits S.N.C. v. United States, 393 F.3d 1277, 1283, 73 USPQ2d 1409, 1414 (Fed. Cir. 2005) ("Star Fruits’ argument fails to come to grips with the real issue in this case, which is whether the Office can use section 1.105 to compel disclosure of information that the examiner deems pertinent to patentability when the applicant has a contrary view of the applicable law. We answer this question in the affirmative.")