MPEP 715.05
U.S. Patent or Application Publication Claiming Same Invention

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

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715.05    U.S. Patent or Application Publication Claiming Same Invention [R-11.2013]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is not applicable to applications subject to the first inventor to file provisions of the AIA unless being relied upon to overcome a rejection under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(g). See 35 U.S.C. 100 (note) and MPEP § 2159. For a discussion of 37 CFR 1.130, affidavits or declarations of attribution or prior public disclosure in applications subject to the first inventor to file provisions of the AIA, see MPEP § 717. For a discussion of affidavits or declarations under 37 CFR 1.131(c), see MPEP § 718.]

For applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102, when the reference in question is a noncommonly owned U.S. patent or patent application publication claiming the same invention as applicant and its publication date is less than 1 year prior to the presentation of claims to that invention in the application being examined, applicant’s remedy, if any, must be by way of 37 CFR 41.202 instead of 37 CFR 1.131(a). If the reference is claiming the same invention as the application and its publication date is less than 1 year prior to the presentation of claims to that invention in the application, this fact should be noted in the Office action. The reference can then be overcome only by way of interference. See MPEP Chapter 2300. If the reference is a U.S. patent which claims the same invention as the application and its issue date is more than 1 year prior to the presentation of claims to that invention in the application, a rejection of the claims of the application under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 135(b)(1) applicable generally to applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102, see MPEP § 2159, should be made. See In re McGrew, 120 F.3d 1236, 1238, 43 USPQ2d 1632, 1635 (Fed. Cir. 1997) (The court holding that application of 35 U.S.C. 135(b) is not limited to inter partes interference proceedings, but may be used as a basis for ex parte rejections.). The expression "prior to one year from the date on which the patent was granted" in pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 135(b) includes the one-year anniversary date of the issuance of a patent. See Switzer v. Sockman, 333 F.2d 935, 142 USPQ 226 (CCPA 1964).

If the reference is a U.S. patent application publication under 35 U.S.C. 122(b), or a WIPO publication on an international application filed on or after November 29, 2000, which claims the same invention as the application being examined and its publication date is more than 1 year prior to the presentation of claims to that invention in the application being examined, a rejection of the claims of the application (being examined) under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 135(b)(2) applicable generally to applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102, see MPEP § 2159, should be made only if the application being examined was filed after the publication date of the reference.

Form paragraph 23.14 or 23.14.01 may be used when making a rejection under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 135(b).

¶ 23.14    Claims Not Copied Within One Year of Patent Issue Date

Claim [l] rejected under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 135(b)(1) as not being made prior to one year from the date on which U.S. Patent No. [2] was granted. See In re McGrew, 120 F.3d 1236, 1238, 43 USPQ2d 1632, 1635 (Fed. Cir. 1997) where the Court held that pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 135(b) may be used as a basis for ex parte rejections.

¶ 23.14.01    Claims Not Copied Within One Year Of Application Publication Date

Claim [l] rejected under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 135(b)(2) as not being made prior to one year from the date on which [2] was published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b). See In re McGrew, 120 F.3d 1236, 1238, 43 USPQ2d 1632, 1635 (Fed. Cir. 1997) where the Court held that pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 135(b) may be used as a basis for ex parte rejections.

Examiner Note:

1. In bracket 2, insert the publication number of the published application.

2. This form paragraph should only be used if the application being examined was filed after the publication date of the published application.

Where the reference and the application or patent under reexamination are commonly owned, and the inventions defined by the claims in the application or patent under reexamination and by the claims in the reference are not identical but are not patentably distinct, a terminal disclaimer and an affidavit or declaration under 37 CFR 1.131(c) may be used to overcome a rejection under 35 U.S.C. 103. See MPEP § 718.

A 37 CFR 1.131(a) affidavit is ineffective to overcome a United States patent or patent application publication, not only where there is a verbatim correspondence between claims of the application and of the patent, but also where there is no patentable distinction between the respective claims. In re Clark, 457 F.2d 1004, 173 USPQ 359 (CCPA 1972); In re Hidy, 303 F.2d 954, 133 USPQ 650 (CCPA 1962); In re Teague, 254 F.2d 145, 117 USPQ 284 (CCPA 1958); In re Ward, 236 F.2d 428, 111 USPQ 101 (CCPA 1956); In re Wagenhorst, 62 F.2d 831, 16 USPQ 126 (CCPA 1933).

If the application (or patent under reexamination) and the domestic reference contain claims which are identical, or which are not patentably distinct, then the application and patent are claiming "interfering subject matter" as defined in 37 CFR 41.203(a).

As provided in 37 CFR 41.203(a), an interference exists if the subject matter of a claim of one party would, if prior art, have anticipated or rendered obvious the subject matter of a claim of the opposing party and vice versa. An applicant who is claiming an invention which is identical to, or obvious in view of, the invention as claimed in a domestic patent or patent application publication cannot employ an affidavit under 37 CFR 1.131(a) as a means for avoiding an interference with the reference. To allow an applicant to do so would result in the issuance of two patents to the same invention.

Since 37 CFR 1.131(a) defines "interfering subject matter" in the same way as the interference rules (37 CFR 41.203(a) ), the USPTO cannot prevent an applicant from overcoming a reference by a 37 CFR 1.131(a) affidavit or declaration on the grounds that the reference claims applicant’s invention and, at the same time, deny applicant an interference on the grounds that the claims of the application and those of the reference are not for substantially the same invention. See In re Eickmeyer, 602 F.2d 974, 202 USPQ 655 (CCPA 1979). Where, in denying an applicant’s motion in interference to substitute a broader count, it is held that the limitation to be deleted was material for the opponent patentee, this constitutes a holding that the proposed count is for an invention which is not interfering subject matter with respect to the claims of the reference. Therefore, the applicant may file an affidavit or declaration under 37 CFR 1.131(a) to overcome a prior art rejection based on the reference. Adler v. Kluver, 159 USPQ 511 (Bd. Pat. Int. 1968).

Form paragraph 7.58.fti (reproduced in MPEP § 715) may be used to note such a situation in the Office action.