MPEP 717
Prior Art Exceptions under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1) and (2)

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

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717    Prior Art Exceptions under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1) and (2) [R-11.2013]

[Editor Note: This MPEP section is only applicable to applications subject to the first inventor to file provisions of the AIA. See 35 U.S.C. 100 (note) and MPEP § 2159. For applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103, see MPEP § 715 et seq. for affidavits or declarations under 37 CFR 1.131(a), MPEP § 718 for affidavits or declarations under 37 CFR 1.131(c), and MPEP § 716.10 for affidavits or declarations of attribution under 37 CFR 1.132.]

35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1) provides that a disclosure made one year or less before the effective filing date of a claimed invention shall not be prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) with respect to the claimed invention if: (1) the disclosure was made by the inventor or joint inventor or by another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor; or (2) the subject matter disclosed had, before such disclosure, been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor or by another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor.

35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(A) and (B) provide that a disclosure shall not be prior art to a claimed invention under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) if: (1) The subject matter disclosed was obtained directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor; or (2) the subject matter disclosed had, before such subject matter was effectively filed, been publicly disclosed by the inventor or a joint inventor or another who obtained the subject matter disclosed directly or indirectly from the inventor or a joint inventor.

The Office has provided a mechanism in 37 CFR 1.130 for filing an affidavit or declaration to establish that a disclosure made no earlier than one year before the effective filing date of the claimed invention is not prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a) due to an exception in 35 U.S.C. 102(b). See MPEP § 717.01 et seq. for more information on declarations filed under 37 CFR 1.130.

Additionally, 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C) provides that a disclosure made in a U.S. patent, U.S. patent application publication, or WIPO published application shall not be prior art to a claimed invention under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(2) if, not later than the effective filing date of the claimed invention, the subject matter disclosed and the claimed invention were owned by the same person or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same person. This provision replaces the exception in pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(c) that applied only in the context of an obviousness analysis under 35 U.S.C. 103 to prior art that was commonly owned at the time the claimed invention was made, and which qualified as prior art only under pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102(e), (f), and/or (g). Thus, the AIA provides that certain prior patents and published patent applications of co-workers and collaborators are not prior art either for purposes of determining novelty (35 U.S.C. 102 ) or nonobviousness (35 U.S.C. 103 ). See MPEP § 717.02 et seq. for more information on the prior art exclusion under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2)(C).

The AIA does not define the term "disclosure," and 35 U.S.C. 102(a) does not use the term "disclosure." 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1) and 102(b)(2), however, each state conditions under which a "disclosure" that otherwise falls within 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) or 102(a)(2) is not prior art under 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1) or 102(a)(2). Thus, the Office is treating the term "disclosure" as a generic expression intended to encompass the documents and activities enumerated in 35 U.S.C. 102(a) (i.e., being patented, described in a printed publication, in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public, or being described in a U.S. patent, U.S. patent application publication, or WIPO published application).

For more information on the provisions of 35 U.S.C. 102 in general, see MPEP § 2150 et seq. For more information on the prior art exceptions under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1), see MPEP § 2153 et seq. For more information on the prior art exceptions under 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(2), see MPEP § 2154.02 et seq.