Manual of
PATENT
EXAMINING
PROCEDURE

Original Eighth Edition, August 2001
Latest Revision February 2003
U.S. Department of Commerce seal & United States Patent and Trademark Office seal

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

United States Patent and Trademark Office

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office does not handle the sale of the Manual, distribution of notices and revisions, or change of address of those on the subscription list. Correspondence relating to existing subscriptions should be sent to the Superintendent of Documents at the following address:

Superintendent of Documents

Telephone: 202-512-2267

Mail List Section

Washington, DC 20402

Inquiries relating to purchasing the Manual should be directed to:

Superintendent of Documents

Telephone: 202-512-1800

United States Government Printing Office

Washington, DC 20402

Orders for reproduced copies of individual replacement pages or of previous revisions of the Manual should be sent to the following address:

Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks

Telephone: 1-800-972-6382 or 703-308-9726

Attention: Certification Branch

Washington, DC 20231

Previous editions and revisions of the Manual are available on microfilm in the Patent Search Room.

The Manual is available on CD-ROM and on diskette from:

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Telephone: 703-306-2600

Office of Electronic Information Products and Services

Washington, DC 20231

Employees of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office should direct their requests for the Manual, replacement pages, notices, and revisions to the Patent Academy. Telephone: 703-308-9660

Pursuant to the Patent and Trademark Office Efficiency Act (PTOEA) (Pub. L. 106-113, 113 Stat. 1501A-572), the head of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the "Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office." The Director is assisted by the "Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office." The patent operations of the USPTO are now headed by the "Commissioner for Patents." The trademark operations of the USPTO are now headed by the "Commissioner for Trademarks." Under section 4741(b) of the PTOEA, any reference to the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, the Assistant Commissioner for Patents, or the Assistant Commissioner for Trademarks is deemed to refer to the Director, the Commissioner for Patents, or the Commissioner for Trademarks, respectively. See "Reestablishment of the Patent and Trademark Office as the United States Patent and Trademark Office" published in the Federal Register at 65 FR 17858 (Apr. 5, 2000), and in the Official Gazette of the United States Patent and Trademark Office at 1234 O.G. 41 (May 9, 2000).

Additions to the text of the Manual are indicated by arrows (><) inserted in the text. Deletions are indicated by a single asterisk (*) where a single word was deleted and by two asterisks (**) where more than one word was deleted. The use of three or five asterisks in the body of the laws, rules, treaties, and administrative instructions indicates a portion of the law, rule, treaty, or administrative instruction which was not reproduced.

First Edition, November 1949

Second Edition, November 1953

Third Edition, November 1961

Fourth Edition, June 1979

Fifth Edition, August 1983

Sixth Edition, January 1995

Seventh Edition, July 1998

Eighth Edition, August 2001

Revision 1, February 2003

Foreword

This Manual is published to provide U.S. Patent and Trademark Office patent examiners, applicants, attorneys, agents, and representatives of applicants with a reference work on the practices and procedures relative to the prosecution of patent applications before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It contains instructions to examiners, as well as other material in the nature of information and interpretation, and outlines the current procedures which the examiners are required or authorized to follow in appropriate cases in the normal examination of a patent application. The Manual does not have the force of law or the force of the rules in Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations. A separate manual entitled "Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure" is published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a reference work for trademark cases. Examiners will be governed by the applicable statutes, rules, decisions, and orders and instructions issued by the Commissioner and the Assistant Commissioners. Orders and Notices still in force which relate to the subject matter included in this Manual are incorporated in the text. Orders and Notices, or portions thereof, relating to the examiners' duties and functions which have been omitted or not incorporated in the text may be considered obsolete. Interference procedure not directly involving the Primary Examiner are not included in this Manual and, therefore, Orders and Notices relating thereto remain in force. Subsequent changes in practice and other revisions will be incorporated in the form of substitute or additional pages for the Manual. Suggestions for improving the form and content of the Manual are always welcome. They should be addressed to:

                        Box MPEP
                        Assistant Commissioner for Patents
                        Washington, DC 20231












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