MPEP 704.12(b)
What Constitutes a Complete Reply

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

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704.12(b)    What Constitutes a Complete Reply [R-08.2012]

A complete reply to a 37 CFR 1.105 requirement is a reply to each enumerated requirement for information giving either the information required or a statement that the information required to be submitted is unknown and/or is not readily available to the party or parties from which it was requested. There is no requirement for the applicant to show that the required information was not, in fact, readily attainable, but applicant is required to make a good faith attempt to obtain the information and to make a reasonable inquiry once the information is requested.

There is no need for applicants to distinguish between whether the required information is unknown or is not readily available. Thus, if information remains unknown after a reasonable inquiry is made, applicant may simply reply that the requested information is either unknown or is not readily available rather than be required to make a categorical position either that the information is unknown to the applicant, or that the information is not readily available to the applicant.

A reply stating that the information required to be submitted is unknown and/or is not readily available to the party or parties from which it was requested will generally be sufficient unless, for example, it is clear the applicant did not understand the requirement, or the reply was ambiguous and a more specific answer is possible.

Depending on the facts surrounding the requirement and the reply, a follow up requirement may be made where both reasonable and warranted.