37 CFR 1.78 - Claiming benefit of earlier filing date and cross-references to other applications.

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§ 1.78 Claiming benefit of earlier filing date and cross-references to other applications.

(a) Claims under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) for the benefit of a prior-filed provisional application. An applicant in a nonprovisional application, other than for a design patent, or an international application designating the United States may claim the benefit of one or more prior-filed provisional applications under the conditions set forth in 35 U.S.C. 119(e) and this section.

(1) The nonprovisional application or international application designating the United States must be:

(i) Filed not later than twelve months after the date on which the provisional application was filed, subject to paragraph (b) of this section (a subsequent application); or

(ii) Entitled to claim the benefit under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, or 365(c) of a subsequent application that was filed within the period set forth in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section.

(2) Each prior-filed provisional application must name the inventor or a joint inventor named in the later-filed application as the inventor or a joint inventor. In addition, each prior-filed provisional application must be entitled to a filing date as set forth in § 1.53(c), and the basic filing fee set forth in § 1.16(d) must have been paid for such provisional application within the time period set forth in § 1.53(g).

(3) Any nonprovisional application or international application designating the United States that claims the benefit of one or more prior-filed provisional applications must contain, or be amended to contain, a reference to each such prior-filed provisional application, identifying it by the provisional application number (consisting of series code and serial number). If the later-filed application is a nonprovisional application, the reference required by this paragraph must be included in an application data sheet (§ 1.76(b)(5)).

(4) The reference required by paragraph (a)(3) of this section must be submitted during the pendency of the later-filed application. If the later-filed application is an application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), this reference must also be submitted within the later of four months from the actual filing date of the later-filed application or sixteen months from the filing date of the prior-filed provisional application. If the later-filed application is a nonprovisional application entering the national stage from an international application under 35 U.S.C. 371, this reference must also be submitted within the later of four months from the date on which the national stage commenced under 35 U.S.C. 371(b) or (f) (§ 1.491(a)), four months from the date of the initial submission under 35 U.S.C. 371 to enter the national stage, or sixteen months from the filing date of the prior-filed provisional application. Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, failure to timely submit the reference is considered a waiver of any benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) of the prior-filed provisional application. The time periods in this paragraph do not apply if the later-filed application is:

(i) An application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) before November 29, 2000; or

(ii) An international application filed under 35 U.S.C. 363 before November 29, 2000.

(5) If the prior-filed provisional application was filed in a language other than English and both an English-language translation of the prior-filed provisional application and a statement that the translation is accurate were not previously filed in the prior-filed provisional application, the applicant will be notified and given a period of time within which to file, in the prior-filed provisional application, the translation and the statement. If the notice is mailed in a pending nonprovisional application, a timely reply to such a notice must include the filing in the nonprovisional application of either a confirmation that the translation and statement were filed in the provisional application, or an application data sheet (§ 1.76(b)(5)) eliminating the reference under paragraph (a)(3) of this section to the prior-filed provisional application, or the nonprovisional application will be abandoned. The translation and statement may be filed in the provisional application, even if the provisional application has become abandoned.

(6) If a nonprovisional application filed on or after March 16, 2013, claims the benefit of the filing date of a provisional application filed prior to March 16, 2013, and also contains, or contained at any time, a claim to a claimed invention that has an effective filing date as defined in § 1.109 that is on or after March 16, 2013, the applicant must provide a statement to that effect within the later of four months from the actual filing date of the nonprovisional application, four months from the date of entry into the national stage as set forth in § 1.491 in an international application, sixteen months from the filing date of the prior-filed provisional application, or the date that a first claim to a claimed invention that has an effective filing date on or after March 16, 2013, is presented in the nonprovisional application. An applicant is not required to provide such a statement if the applicant reasonably believes on the basis of information already known to the individuals designated in § 1.56(c) that the nonprovisional application does not, and did not at any time, contain a claim to a claimed invention that has an effective filing date on or after March 16, 2013.

(b) Delayed filing of the subsequent nonprovisional application or international application designating the United States. If the subsequent nonprovisional application or international application designating the United States has a filing date which is after the expiration of the twelve-month period set forth in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section but within two months from the expiration of the period set forth in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section, the benefit of the provisional application may be restored under PCT Rule 26bis.3 for an international application, or upon petition pursuant to this paragraph, if the delay in filing the subsequent nonprovisional application or international application designating the United States within the period set forth in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section was unintentional.

(1) A petition to restore the benefit of a provisional application under this paragraph filed on or after May 13, 2015, must be filed in the subsequent application, and any petition to restore the benefit of a provisional application under this paragraph must include:

(i) The reference required by 35 U.S.C. 119(e) to the prior-filed provisional application in an application data sheet (§ 1.76(b)(5)) identifying it by provisional application number (consisting of series code and serial number), unless previously submitted;

(ii) The petition fee as set forth in § 1.17(m); and

(iii) A statement that the delay in filing the subsequent nonprovisional application or international application designating the United States within the twelve-month period set forth in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section was unintentional. The Director may require additional information where there is a question whether the delay was unintentional.

(2) The restoration of the right of priority under PCT Rule 26bis.3 to a provisional application does not affect the requirement to include the reference required by paragraph (a)(3) of this section to the provisional application in a national stage application under 35 U.S.C. 371 within the time period provided by paragraph (a)(4) of this section to avoid the benefit claim being considered waived.

(c) Delayed claims under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) for the benefit of a prior-filed provisional application. If the reference required by 35 U.S.C. 119(e) and paragraph (a)(3) of this section is presented in an application after the time period provided by paragraph (a)(4) of this section, the claim under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) for the benefit of a prior-filed provisional application may be accepted if the reference identifying the prior-filed application by provisional application number was unintentionally delayed. A petition to accept an unintentionally delayed claim under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) for the benefit of a prior-filed provisional application must be accompanied by:

(1) The reference required by 35 U.S.C. 119(e) and paragraph (a)(3) of this section to the prior-filed provisional application, unless previously submitted;

(2) The petition fee as set forth in § 1.17(m); and

(3) A statement that the entire delay between the date the benefit claim was due under paragraph (a)(4) of this section and the date the benefit claim was filed was unintentional. The Director may require additional information where there is a question whether the delay was unintentional.

(d) Claims under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, 365(c), or 386(c) for the benefit of a prior-filed nonprovisional application, international application, or international design application. An applicant in a nonprovisional application (including a nonprovisional application resulting from an international application or international design application), an international application designating the United States, or an international design application designating the United States may claim the benefit of one or more prior-filed copending nonprovisional applications, international applications designating the United States, or international design applications designating the United States under the conditions set forth in 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, 365(c), or 386(c) and this section.

(1) Each prior-filed application must name the inventor or a joint inventor named in the later-filed application as the inventor or a joint inventor. In addition, each prior-filed application must either be:

(i) An international application entitled to a filing date in accordance with PCT Article 11 and designating the United States;

(ii) An international design application entitled to a filing date in accordance with § 1.1023 and designating the United States; or

(iii) A nonprovisional application under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) that is entitled to a filing date as set forth in § 1.53(b) or (d) for which the basic filing fee set forth in § 1.16 has been paid within the pendency of the application.

(2) Except for a continued prosecution application filed under § 1.53(d), any nonprovisional application, international application designating the United States, or international design application designating the United States that claims the benefit of one or more prior-filed nonprovisional applications, international applications designating the United States, or international design applications designating the United States must contain or be amended to contain a reference to each such prior-filed application, identifying it by application number (consisting of the series code and serial number), international application number and international filing date, or international registration number and filing date under § 1.1023. If the later-filed application is a nonprovisional application, the reference required by this paragraph must be included in an application data sheet (§ 1.76(b)(5)). The reference also must identify the relationship of the applications, namely, whether the later-filed application is a continuation, divisional, or continuation-in-part of the prior-filed nonprovisional application, international application, or international design application.

(3)

(i) The reference required by 35 U.S.C. 120 and paragraph (d)(2) of this section must be submitted during the pendency of the later-filed application.

(ii) If the later-filed application is an application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a), this reference must also be submitted within the later of four months from the actual filing date of the later-filed application or sixteen months from the filing date of the prior-filed application. If the later-filed application is a nonprovisional application entering the national stage from an international application under 35 U.S.C. 371, this reference must also be submitted within the later of four months from the date on which the national stage commenced under 35 U.S.C. 371(b) or (f) (§ 1.491(a)), four months from the date of the initial submission under 35 U.S.C. 371 to enter the national stage, or sixteen months from the filing date of the prior-filed application. The time periods in this paragraph do not apply if the later-filed application is:

(A) An application for a design patent;

(B) An application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) before November 29, 2000; or

(C) An international application filed under 35 U.S.C. 363 before November 29, 2000.

(iii) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, failure to timely submit the reference required by 35 U.S.C. 120 and paragraph (d)(2) of this section is considered a waiver of any benefit under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, 365(c), or 386(c) to the prior-filed application.

(4) The request for a continued prosecution application under § 1.53(d) is the specific reference required by 35 U.S.C. 120 to the prior-filed application. The identification of an application by application number under this section is the identification of every application assigned that application number necessary for a specific reference required by 35 U.S.C. 120 to every such application assigned that application number.

(5) Cross-references to other related applications may be made when appropriate (see § 1.14), but cross-references to applications for which a benefit is not claimed under title 35, United States Code, must not be included in an application data sheet (§ 1.76(b)(5)).

(6) If a nonprovisional application filed on or after March 16, 2013, other than a nonprovisional international design application, claims the benefit of the filing date of a nonprovisional application or an international application designating the United States filed prior to March 16, 2013, and also contains, or contained at any time, a claim to a claimed invention that has an effective filing date as defined in § 1.109 that is on or after March 16, 2013, the applicant must provide a statement to that effect within the later of four months from the actual filing date of the later-filed application, four months from the date of entry into the national stage as set forth in § 1.491 in an international application, sixteen months from the filing date of the prior-filed application, or the date that a first claim to a claimed invention that has an effective filing date on or after March 16, 2013, is presented in the later-filed application. An applicant is not required to provide such a statement if either:

(i) The application claims the benefit of a nonprovisional application in which a statement under § 1.55(k), paragraph (a)(6) of this section, or this paragraph that the application contains, or contained at any time, a claim to a claimed invention that has an effective filing date on or after March 16, 2013 has been filed; or

(ii) The applicant reasonably believes on the basis of information already known to the individuals designated in § 1.56(c) that the later filed application does not, and did not at any time, contain a claim to a claimed invention that has an effective filing date on or after March 16, 2013.

(7) Where benefit is claimed under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, 365(c), or 386(c) to an international application or an international design application which designates but did not originate in the United States, the Office may require a certified copy of such application together with an English translation thereof if filed in another language.

(e) Delayed claims under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, 365(c), or 386(c) for the benefit of a prior-filed nonprovisional application, international application, or international design application. If the reference required by 35 U.S.C. 120 and paragraph (d)(2) of this section is presented after the time period provided by paragraph (d)(3) of this section, the claim under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, 365(c), or 386(c) for the benefit of a prior-filed copending nonprovisional application, international application designating the United States, or international design application designating the United States may be accepted if the reference required by paragraph (d)(2) of this section was unintentionally delayed. A petition to accept an unintentionally delayed claim under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, 365(c), or 386(c) for the benefit of a prior-filed application must be accompanied by:

(1) The reference required by 35 U.S.C. 120 and paragraph (d)(2) of this section to the prior-filed application, unless previously submitted;

(2) The petition fee as set forth in § 1.17(m); and

(3) A statement that the entire delay between the date the benefit claim was due under paragraph (d)(3) of this section and the date the benefit claim was filed was unintentional. The Director may require additional information where there is a question whether the delay was unintentional.

(f) Applications containing patentably indistinct claims. Where two or more applications filed by the same applicant or assignee contain patentably indistinct claims, elimination of such claims from all but one application may be required in the absence of good and sufficient reason for their retention during pendency in more than one application.

(g) Applications or patents under reexamination naming different inventors and containing patentably indistinct claims. If an application or a patent under reexamination and at least one other application naming different inventors are owned by the same person and contain patentably indistinct claims, and there is no statement of record indicating that the claimed inventions were commonly owned or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same person on the effective filing date (as defined in § 1.109), or on the date of the invention, as applicable, of the later claimed invention, the Office may require the applicant or assignee to state whether the claimed inventions were commonly owned or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same person on such date, and if not, indicate which named inventor is the prior inventor, as applicable. Even if the claimed inventions were commonly owned, or subject to an obligation of assignment to the same person on the effective filing date (as defined in § 1.109), or on the date of the invention, as applicable, of the later claimed invention, the patentably indistinct claims may be rejected under the doctrine of double patenting in view of such commonly owned or assigned applications or patents under reexamination.

(h) Applications filed before September 16, 2012. Notwithstanding the requirement in paragraphs (a)(3) and (d)(2) of this section that any specific reference to a prior-filed application be presented in an application data sheet (§ 1.76), this requirement in paragraph (a)(3) and (d)(2) of this section will be satisfied by the presentation of such specific reference in the first sentence(s) of the specification following the title in a nonprovisional application filed under 35 U.S.C. 111(a) before September 16, 2012, or resulting from an international application filed under 35 U.S.C. 363 before September 16, 2012. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply to any specific reference submitted for a petition under paragraph (b) of this section to restore the benefit of a provisional application.

(i) Petitions required in international applications. If a petition under paragraph (b), (c), or (e) of this section is required in an international application that was not filed with the United States Receiving Office and is not a nonprovisional application, then such petition may be filed in the earliest nonprovisional application that claims benefit under 35 U.S.C. 120, 121, 365(c), or 386(c) to the international application and will be treated as having been filed in the international application.

(j) Benefit under 35 U.S.C. 386(c). Benefit under 35 U.S.C. 386(c) with respect to an international design application is applicable only to nonprovisional applications, international applications, and international design applications filed on or after May 13, 2015, and patents issuing thereon.

(k) Time periods in this section. The time periods set forth in this section are not extendable, but are subject to 35 U.S.C. 21(b) (and § 1.7(a)), PCT Rule 80.5, and Hague Agreement Rule 4(4).

[80 FR 17959, Apr. 2, 2015]

This is a list of United States Code sections, Statutes at Large, Public Laws, and Presidential Documents, which provide rulemaking authority for this CFR Part.

This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].

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United States Code
U.S. Code: Title 35 - PATENTS

Title 37 published on 2014-07-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 37 CFR Part 1 after this date.

  • 2015-10-27; vol. 80 # 207 - Tuesday, October 27, 2015
    1. 80 FR 65649 - Changes To Facilitate Applicant's Authorization of Access to Unpublished U.S. Patent Applications by Foreign Intellectual Property Offices
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, Patent and Trademark Office
      Final rule.
      Effective Date: The changes in this final rule are effective on November 30, 2015. The revised ADS form (PTO/AIA/14) will be posted on the Office's Web site on or before the effective date. Applicability Date: The changes to 37 CFR 1.14(h) apply to all patent applications filed before November 30, 2015, and to all patent applications filed on or after November 30, 2015.
      37 CFR Part 1