MPEP 803.03
Transitional Applications

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

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803.03    Transitional Applications [R-08.2012]

   PRACTICE RE TRANSITIONAL APPLICATION

37 C.F.R. 1.129 Transitional procedures for limited examination after final rejection and restriction practice.

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  • (b)
    • (1) In an application, other than for reissue or a design patent, that has been pending for at least three years as of June 8, 1995; taking into account any reference made in the application to any earlier filed application under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121 and 365(c), no requirement for restriction or for the filing of divisional applications shall be made or maintained in the application after June 8, 1995, except where:
      • (i) The requirement was first made in the application or any earlier filed application under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, and 365(c) prior to April 8, 1995;
      • (ii) The examiner has not made a requirement for restriction in the present or parent application prior to April 8, 1995, due to actions by the applicant; or
      • (iii) The required fee for examination of each additional invention was not paid.
    • (2) If the application contains more than one independent and distinct invention and a requirement for restriction or for the filing of divisional applications cannot be made or maintained pursuant to this paragraph, applicant will be so notified and given a time period to:
      • (i) Elect the invention or inventions to be searched and examined, if no election has been made prior to the notice, and pay the fee set forth in 1.17(s) for each independent and distinct invention claimed in the application in excess of one which applicant elects;
      • (ii) Confirm an election made prior to the notice and pay the fee set forth in § 1.17(s) for each independent and distinct invention claimed in the application in addition to the one invention which applicant previously elected; or
      • (iii) File a petition under this section traversing the requirement. If the required petition is filed in a timely manner, the original time period for electing and paying the fee set forth in § 1.17(s) will be deferred and any decision on the petition affirming or modifying the requirement will set a new time period to elect the invention or inventions to be searched and examined and to pay the fee set forth in § 1.17(s) for each independent and distinct invention claimed in the application in excess of one which applicant elects.
    • (3) The additional inventions for which the required fee has not been paid will be withdrawn from consideration under § 1.142(b). An applicant who desires examination of an invention so withdrawn from consideration can file a divisional application under 35 U.S.C. 121.
  • (c) The provisions of this section shall not be applicable to any application filed after June 8, 1995.

"Restriction" under 37 CFR 1.129(b) applies to both restriction requirements under 37 CFR 1.142 and election of species requirements under 37 CFR 1.146.

37 CFR 1.129(b)(1) provides for examination of more than one independent and distinct invention in certain applications pending for 3 years or longer as of June 8, 1995, taking into account any reference to any earlier application under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c). Applicant will not be permitted to have such additional invention(s) examined in an application if:

  • (A) the requirement was made in the application or in an earlier application relied on under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c) prior to April 8, 1995;
  • (B) no restriction requirement was made with respect to the invention(s) in the application or earlier application prior to April 8, 1995, due to actions by the applicant; or
  • (C) the required fee for examination of each additional invention was not paid.

Only if one of these exceptions applies is a normal restriction requirement appropriate and telephone restriction practice may be used.

Examples of what constitute "actions by the applicant" in 37 CFR 1.129(b)(1) are:

  • (A) applicant abandoned the application and continued to refile the application such that no Office action could be issued in the application,
  • (B) applicant requested suspension of prosecution under 37 CFR 1.103(a) such that no Office action could be issued in the application,
  • (C) applicant disclosed a plurality of independent and distinct inventions in the present or parent application, but delayed presenting claims to more than one of the disclosed independent and distinct inventions in the present or parent application such that no restriction requirement could be made prior to April 8, 1995, and
  • (D) applicant combined several applications, each of which claimed a different independent and distinct invention, into one large "continuing" application, but delayed filing the continuing application first claiming more than one independent and distinct invention such that no restriction requirement could be made prior to April 8, 1995.

In examples (A) and (B), the fact that the present or parent application claiming independent and distinct inventions was on an examiner’s docket for at least 3 months prior to abandonment or suspension, or in examples (C) and (D), the fact that the amendment claiming independent and distinct inventions was first filed, or the continuing application first claiming the additional independent and distinct inventions was on an examiner’s docket, at least 3 months prior to April 8, 1995, is prima facie evidence that applicant’s actions did not prevent the Office from making a requirement for restriction with respect to those independent and distinct inventions prior to April 8, 1995. Furthermore, an extension of time under 37 CFR 1.136(a) does not constitute such "actions by the applicant" under 37 CFR 1.129(b)(1).

NOTE: If an examiner believes an application falls under the exception that no restriction could be made prior to April 8, 1995, due to applicant’s action, the application must be brought to the attention of the Technology Center (TC) Special Program Examiner for review.

Under 37 CFR 1.129(b)(2), if the application contains claims to more than one independent and distinct invention, and no requirement for restriction or for the filing of divisional applications can be made or maintained, applicant will be notified and given a time period to:

  • (A) elect the invention or inventions to be searched and examined, if no election has been made prior to the notice, and pay the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(s) for each independent and distinct invention claimed in the application in excess of one which applicant elects,
  • (B) in situations where an election was made in reply to a requirement for restriction that cannot be maintained, confirm the election made prior to the notice and pay the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(s) for each independent and distinct invention claimed in the application in addition to the one invention which applicant previously elected, or
  • (C) file a petition under 37 CFR 1.129(b)(2) traversing the requirement without regard to whether the requirement has been made final. No petition fee is required.

37 CFR 1.129(b)(2) also provides that if the petition is filed in a timely manner, the original time period for electing and paying the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(s) will be deferred and any decision on the petition affirming or modifying the requirement will set a new time period to elect the invention or inventions to be searched and examined and to pay the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(s) for each independent and distinct invention claimed in the application in excess of one which applicant elects.

Under 37 CFR 1.129(b)(3), each additional invention for which the required fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(s) has not been paid will be withdrawn from consideration under 37 CFR 1.142(b). An applicant who desires examination of an invention so withdrawn from consideration can file a divisional application under 35 U.S.C. 121.

37 CFR 1.129(c) clarifies that the provisions of 37 CFR 1.129(a) and (b) are not applicable to any application filed after June 8, 1995. However, any application filed on June 8, 1995, would be subject to a 20-year patent term.

Form paragraph 8.41 may be used to notify applicant that the application is a transitional application and is entitled to consideration of additional inventions upon payment of the required fee.

¶ 8.41    Transitional Restriction or Election of Species Requirement – pre-GATT Filing

This application is subject to the transitional restriction provisions of Public Law 103-465, which became effective on June 8, 1995, because:

  • 1. the application was filed on or before June 8, 1995, and has an effective U.S. filing date of June 8, 1992, or earlier;
  • 2. a requirement for restriction was not made in the present or a parent application prior to April 8, 1995; and
  • 3. the examiner was not prevented from making a requirement for restriction in the present or a parent application prior to April 8, 1995, due to actions by the applicant.

The transitional restriction provisions permit applicant to have more than one independent and distinct invention examined in the same application by paying a fee for each invention in excess of one.

Final rules concerning the transition restriction provisions were published in the Federal Register at 60 FR 20195 (April 25, 1995) and in the Official Gazette at 1174 OG 15 (May 2, 1995). The final rules at 37 CFR 1.17(s) include the fee amount required to be paid for each additional invention as set forth in the following requirement for restriction. See the current fee schedule for the proper amount of the fee.

Applicant must either: (1) elect the invention or inventions to be searched and examined and pay the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(s) for each independent and distinct invention in excess of one which applicant elects; or (2) file a petition under 37 CFR 1.129(b) traversing the requirement.

Examiner Note:

1. This form paragraph should be used in all restriction or election of species requirements made in applications subject to the transition restriction provisions set forth in 37 CFR 1.129(b). The procedure is NOT applicable to any design or reissue application.