MPEP 706.07(a)
Final Rejection, When Proper on Second Action

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

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706.07(a)    Final Rejection, When Proper on Second Action [R-07.2015]

Second or any subsequent actions on the merits shall be final, except where the examiner introduces a new ground of rejection that is neither necessitated by applicant’s amendment of the claims, nor based on information submitted in an information disclosure statement filed during the period set forth in 37 CFR 1.97(c) with the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(p). Where information is submitted in an information disclosure statement during the period set forth in 37 CFR 1.97(c) with a fee, the examiner may use the information submitted, e.g., a printed publication or evidence of public use, and make the next Office action final whether or not the claims have been amended, provided that no other new ground of rejection which was not necessitated by amendment to the claims is introduced by the examiner. See MPEP § 609.04(b). Furthermore, a second or any subsequent action on the merits in any application will not be made final if it includes a rejection, on newly cited art, other than information submitted in an information disclosure statement filed under 37 CFR 1.97(c) with the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(p), of any claim not amended by applicant or patent owner in spite of the fact that other claims may have been amended to require newly cited art. Where information is submitted in a reply to a requirement under 37 CFR 1.105, the examiner may NOT make the next Office action relying on that art final unless all instances of the application of such art are necessitated by amendment.

For guidance in determining what constitutes a new ground of rejection, see MPEP § 1207.03(a).

A second or any subsequent action on the merits in any application or patent involved in reexamination proceedings should not be made final if it includes a rejection, on prior art not of record, of any claim amended to include limitations which should reasonably have been expected to be claimed. See MPEP § 904 et seq. However, note that an examiner cannot be expected to foresee whether or how an applicant will amend a claim to overcome a rejection except in very limited circumstances (e.g., where the examiner suggests how applicant can overcome a rejection under 35 U.S.C. 112(b) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 112, second paragraph.

A second or any subsequent action on the merits in any application or patent involved in reexamination proceedings may not be made final if it contains a new ground of rejection necessitated by the amendments to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e) by the Intellectual Property and High Technology Technical Amendments Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-273, 116 Stat. 1758 (2002)), unless the new ground of rejection was necessitated by an amendment to the claims or as a result of information submitted in an information disclosure statement under 37 CFR 1.97(c) with the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(p).

When applying any 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e) /103 references against the claims of an application the examiner should anticipate that a statement averring common ownership may qualify the applicant for the exemption under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) or a statement of common ownership at the time the invention was made may disqualify any patent or application applied in a rejection under 35 U.S.C. 103 based on 35 U.S.C. 102(e). If such a statement is filed in reply to the 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e) /103 rejection and the claims are not amended, the examiner may not make the next Office action final if a new rejection is made. See MPEP §§ 706.02(l)(3) and 2154.02(c). If a reference is disqualified under the joint research agreement provision of 35 U.S.C. 102(c) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(c) and a new subsequent double patenting rejection based upon the disqualified reference is applied, the next Office action, which contains the new double patenting rejection, may be made final even if applicant did not amend the claims (provided that the examiner introduces no other new ground of rejection that was not necessitated by either amendment or an information disclosure statement filed during the time period set forth in 37 CFR 1.97(c) with the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(p) ). The Office action is properly made final because the new double patenting rejection was necessitated by amendment of the application by applicant.

Where the only changes in a rejection are based on treating the application to be subject to current 35 U.S.C. 102 rather than the version of 35 U.S.C. 102 in effect on March 15, 2013, (the pre-AIA version) or the reverse, and any prior art relied upon in the subsequent action was prior art under both versions of 35 U.S.C. 102, then the action may be made final. For example, if a first action relied upon a reference as being available under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e) and the subsequent action relied only on the same reference under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2), then the subsequent action may be made final assuming no new requirements or non-prior art rejections were made. See MPEP § 809.02(a) for actions which indicate generic claims as not allowable.

In the consideration of claims in an amended case where no attempt is made to point out the patentable novelty, the examiner should be on guard not to allow such claims. See MPEP § 714.04. The claims may be finally rejected if, in the opinion of the examiner, they are clearly open to rejection on grounds of record.

Form paragraph 7.40 should be used where an action is made final including new grounds of rejection necessitated by applicant’s amendment.

¶ 7.40    Action Is Final, Necessitated by Amendment

Applicant’s amendment necessitated the new ground(s) of rejection presented in this Office action. Accordingly, THIS ACTION IS MADE FINAL. See MPEP § 706.07(a). Applicant is reminded of the extension of time policy as set forth in 37 CFR 1.136(a).

A shortened statutory period for reply to this final action is set to expire THREE MONTHS from the mailing date of this action. In the event a first reply is filed within TWO MONTHS of the mailing date of this final action and the advisory action is not mailed until after the end of the THREE-MONTH shortened statutory period, then the shortened statutory period will expire on the date the advisory action is mailed, and any extension fee pursuant to 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be calculated from the mailing date of the advisory action. In no event, however, will the statutory period for reply expire later than SIX MONTHS from the mailing date of this final action.

Examiner Note:

1. This form paragraph should not be used in reissue litigation cases (SSP- 1 month) or in reexamination proceedings (SSP- 1 or 2 months).

2. 37 CFR 1.136(a) should not be available in a reissue litigation case and is not available in reexamination proceedings.

¶ 7.40.01    Action Is Final, Necessitated by IDS With Fee

Applicant’s submission of an information disclosure statement under 37 CFR 1.97(c) with the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(p) on [1] prompted the new ground(s) of rejection presented in this Office action. Accordingly, THIS ACTION IS MADE FINAL. See MPEP § 609.04(b). Applicant is reminded of the extension of time policy as set forth in 37 CFR 1.136(a).

A shortened statutory period for reply to this final action is set to expire THREE MONTHS from the mailing date of this action. In the event a first reply is filed within TWO MONTHS of the mailing date of this final action and the advisory action is not mailed until after the end of the THREE-MONTH shortened statutory period, then the shortened statutory period will expire on the date the advisory action is mailed, and any extension fee pursuant to 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be calculated from the mailing date of the advisory action. In no event, however, will the statutory period for reply expire later than SIX MONTHS from the mailing date of this final action.

Examiner Note:

1. This form paragraph should not be used and a final rejection is improper where there is another new ground of rejection introduced by the examiner which was not necessitated by amendment to the claims.

2. In bracket 1, insert the filing date of the information disclosure statement containing the identification of the item of information used in the new ground of rejection.

¶ 7.40.02.aia    Action Is Final, Necessitated by Invoking the Joint Research Agreement Prior Art Exclusion Under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C)

Applicant’s submission of the requirements for the joint research agreement prior art exclusion under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) on [1] prompted the new double patenting rejection presented in this Office action. Accordingly, THIS ACTION IS MADE FINAL. See MPEP § 2156. Applicant is reminded of the extension of time policy as set forth in 37 CFR 1.136(a).

A shortened statutory period for reply to this final action is set to expire THREE MONTHS from the mailing date of this action. In the event a first reply is filed within TWO MONTHS of the mailing date of this final action and the advisory action is not mailed until after the end of the THREE-MONTH shortened statutory period, then the shortened statutory period will expire on the date the advisory action is mailed, and any extension fee pursuant to 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be calculated from the mailing date of the advisory action. In no event, however, will the statutory period for reply expire later than SIX MONTHS from the mailing date of this final action.

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 should not be used, and a final rejection is improper, where there is another new ground of rejection introduced by the examiner which was not necessitated by amendment to the claims nor based on information submitted in an information disclosure statement filed during the period set forth in 37 CFR 1.97(c) with the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(p).

3. In bracket 1, insert the filing date of the submission of the requirements for the joint research agreement prior art exclusion as defined under 35 U.S.C. 102(c).

¶ 7.40.02.fti    Action Is Final, Necessitated by Invoking the Joint Research Agreement Prior Art Exclusion Under Pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(c)

Applicant’s submission of the requirements for the joint research agreement prior art exclusion under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(c) on [1] prompted the new double patenting rejection presented in this Office action. Accordingly, THIS ACTION IS MADE FINAL. See MPEP § 706.02(l)(3). Applicant is reminded of the extension of time policy as set forth in 37 CFR 1.136(a).

A shortened statutory period for reply to this final action is set to expire THREE MONTHS from the mailing date of this action. In the event a first reply is filed within TWO MONTHS of the mailing date of this final action and the advisory action is not mailed until after the end of the THREE-MONTH shortened statutory period, then the shortened statutory period will expire on the date the advisory action is mailed, and any extension fee pursuant to 37 CFR 1.136(a) will be calculated from the mailing date of the advisory action. In no event, however, will the statutory period for reply expire later than SIX MONTHS from the mailing date of this final action.

Examiner Note:

1. This form paragraph should not be used and a final rejection is improper where there is another new ground of rejection introduced by the examiner which was not necessitated by amendment to the claims nor based on information submitted in an information disclosure statement filed during the period set forth in 37 CFR 1.97(c) with the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17.

2. In bracket 1, insert the filing date of the submission of the requirements for the joint research agreement prior art exclusion under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(c).