MPEP 706.02(f)(2)
Provisional Rejections Under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) or Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e); Reference Is a Copending U.S. Patent Application

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

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706.02(f)(2)    Provisional Rejections Under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) or Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e); Reference Is a Copending U.S. Patent Application [R-08.2017]

If an earlier filed, copending, and unpublished U.S. patent application discloses subject matter which would anticipate the claims in a later filed pending U.S. application which has a different inventive entity, the examiner should determine whether a provisional rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) or a pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e) of the later filed application can be made. In addition, a provisional rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) or a pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e) may be made, in the circumstances described below, if the earlier filed, pending application has been published as redacted (37 CFR 1.217 ) and the subject matter relied upon in the rejection is not supported in the redacted publication of the patent application.

I.    COPENDING U.S. APPLICATIONS HAVING AT LEAST ONE COMMON INVENTOR OR ARE COMMONLY ASSIGNED

If (1) at least one common inventor exists between the applications or the applications are commonly assigned and (2) the effective filing dates are different, then a provisional rejection of the later filed application should be made. The provisional rejection is appropriate in circumstances where if the earlier filed application is published or becomes a patent it would constitute actual prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102. Since the earlier-filed application is not published at the time of the rejection, the rejection must be provisionally made under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) or a pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e).

A provisional rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) or a pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e) can be overcome in the same manner that a 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) or a pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e) rejection can be overcome. See MPEP § 706.02(b). The provisional rejection can also be overcome by abandoning the applications and filing a new application containing the subject matter of both.

Form paragraph 7.15.01.aia should be used when making a provisional rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2). Form paragraph 7.15.01.fti should be used when making a provisional rejection under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e).

¶ 7.15.01.aia    Provisional Rejection, 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) - Common Assignee, Common Applicant, or At Least One Common Joint Inventor

Claim(s) [1] is/are provisionally rejected under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) as being anticipated by copending Application No. [2] which has a common [3] with the instant application.

Based upon the earlier effective filing date of the copending application, it would constitute prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2), if published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b) or patented under 35 U.S.C. 151. This provisional rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) is based upon a presumption of future publication or patenting of the copending application. [4].

This provisional rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) might be overcome by: (1) a showing under 37 CFR 1.130(a) that the subject matter disclosed in the copending application was obtained directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor of this application and is thus not prior art in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(A); (2) a showing under 37 CFR 1.130(b) of a prior public disclosure under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(B); or (3) a statement pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) establishing that, not later than the effective filing date of the claimed invention, the subject matter disclosed in the copending application and the claimed invention were either owned by the same person or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same person or subject to a joint research agreement.

This rejection may not be overcome by the filing of a terminal disclaimer. See In re Bartfeld, 925 F.2d 1450, 17 USPQ2d 1885 (Fed. Cir. 1991).

Examiner Note:

1. This form paragraph should only be used in an application filed on or after March 16, 2013, where the claims are being examined under 35 U.S.C. 102 /103 as amended by the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. This form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraph 7.03.aia.

2. This form paragraph is used to provisionally reject over a copending application with an earlier effective filing date that discloses the claimed invention and has not been published under 35 U.S.C. 122. The copending application must have either a common assignee, common applicant (35 U.S.C. 118 ) or at least one common joint inventor.

3. 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) may be applied if the reference names another inventor (i.e., a different inventive entity) and is one of the following:

a. a U.S. patent granted under 35 U.S.C. 151 that has an effectively filed date earlier than the application;

b. a U.S. Patent Application Publication published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b) that has an effectively filed date earlier than the effective filing date of the application; or

c. a WIPO publication of an international application (PCT) or international design application that designates the United States where the WIPO publication has an effectively filed date earlier than the effective filing date of the application.

If any of the three types of prior art documents under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) issued or was published before the effective filing date of the application under examination, then the prior art document is also applicable under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1).

4. If the claims would have been obvious over the invention disclosed in the other copending application, use form paragraph 7.21.01.aia.

5. In bracket 1, insert claim number(s) under rejection.

6. In bracket 2, insert the application number.

7. In bracket 3, insert --assignee--, --applicant--, or --joint inventor--.

8. In bracket 4, provide an appropriate explanation of the examiner’s position on anticipation.

9. Under 35 U.S.C. 101, two patents are not permitted to issue on identical subject matter. Any claims in the instant application directed to the same invention claimed in the reference should be provisionally rejected using form paragraphs 8.30 and 8.32. Additionally, the applicant should be required to amend or cancel claims such that the applied reference and the instant application no longer contain claims directed to the same invention using form paragraph 8.27.aia.

10. Any claims in the instant application that are directed to subject matter that is not patentably distinct from an invention claimed in the reference should be rejected (or provisionally rejected if the reference has not yet issued as a patent) on the grounds of nonstatutory double patenting using form paragraph 8.33 and at least one of form paragraphs 8.34 - 8.39.

11. For applications claiming priority to, or the benefit of, an application filed before March 16, 2013, this form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraph 7.06.

¶ 7.15.01.fti    Provisional Rejection, Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e) - Common Assignee, Common Applicant, or At Least One Common Joint Inventor

Claim(s) [1] is/are provisionally rejected under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e) as being anticipated by copending Application No. [2] which has a common [3] with the instant application.

Based upon the earlier effective U.S. filing date of the copending application, it would constitute prior art under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e), if published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b) or patented. This provisional rejection under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e) is based upon a presumption of future publication or patenting of the copending application. [4].

This provisional rejection under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e) might be overcome either by a showing under 37 CFR 1.132 that any invention disclosed but not claimed in the copending application was derived from the inventor of this application and is thus not the invention "by another," or by an appropriate showing under 37 CFR 1.131(a).

This rejection may not be overcome by the filing of a terminal disclaimer. See In re Bartfeld, 925 F.2d 1450, 17 USPQ2d 1885 (Fed. Cir. 1991).

Examiner Note:

1. This form paragraph is used to provisionally reject over a copending application with an earlier filing date that discloses the claimed invention which has not been published under 35 U.S.C. 122. The copending application must have either a common assignee, a common applicant (35 U.S.C. 118 ), or at least one common joint inventor.

2. Use pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e) as amended by the American Inventors Protection Act (AIPA) and the Intellectual Property and High Technology Technical Amendments Act of 2002 (form paragraph 7.12.fti) to determine the copending application’s prior art date, unless the copending application is based directly, or indirectly, from an international application which has an international filing date prior to November 29, 2000. If the copending application is either a national stage of an international application (application under 35 U.S.C. 371 ) which has an international filing date prior to November 29, 2000, or a continuing application claiming benefit under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, 365(c), or 386(c) to an international application having an international filing date prior to November 29, 2000, use pre-AIPA 35 U.S.C. 102(e) (form paragraph 7.12.01.fti). See the Examiner Notes for form paragraphs 7.12.fti and 7.12.01.fti to assist in the determination of the reference’s 35 U.S.C. 102(e) date.

3. If the claims would have been obvious over the invention disclosed in the other copending application, use form paragraph 7.21.01.fti.

4. In bracket 3, insert --assignee--, --applicant--, or --joint inventor--.

5. In bracket 4, an appropriate explanation may be provided in support of the examiner’s position on anticipation, if necessary.

6. Under 35 U.S.C. 101, two patents are not permitted to issue on identical subject matter. Any claims in the instant application directed to the same invention claimed in the reference should be provisionally rejected using form paragraphs 8.30 and 8.32. Additionally, the applicant should be required to amend or cancel claims such that the applied reference and the instant application no longer contain claims directed to the same invention using form paragraph 8.27.fti.

7. Any claims in the instant application that are directed to subject matter that is not patentably distinct from an invention claimed in the reference should be rejected (or provisionally rejected if the reference has not yet issued as a patent) on the grounds of nonstatutory double patenting using form paragraph 8.33 and at least one of form paragraphs 8.34 - 8.39.

8. If evidence is additionally of record to show that either invention is prior art to the other under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(f) or (g), a rejection using form paragraphs 7.13.fti and/or 7.14.fti should also be made.

9. For applications with an actual filing date on or after March 16, 2013 that claim priority to, or the benefit of, an application filed before March 16, 2013, this form paragraph must be preceded by form paragraph 7.06.

II.    COPENDING APPLICATIONS HAVING NO COMMON INVENTOR OR ASSIGNEE

If there is no common assignee or common inventor and the application was not published pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 122(b), the confidential status of applications under 35 U.S.C. 122(a) must be maintained and no rejection can be made relying on the earlier filed, unpublished application, or subject matter not supported in a redacted application publication, as prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e). For applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(g), if the filing dates of the applications are within 6 months of each other (3 months for simple subject matter) then interference may be proper. See MPEP Chapter 2300. If the application with the earliest effective U.S. filing date will not be published pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 122(b), it must be allowed to issue once all the statutory requirements are met. After the patent is published, it may be used as a reference in a rejection under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e) in the still pending application as appropriate. See MPEP §§ 706.02(a), 2136 et seq. and 2154.