37 CFR § 1.96 - Submission of computer program listings.

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§ 1.96 Submission of computer program listings.

(a) General. Descriptions of the operation and general content of computer program listings should appear in the description portion of the specification. A computer program listing for the purpose of this section is defined as a document that lists, in appropriate sequence, the instructions, routines, and other contents of a program for a computer. The program listing may be either in machine or machine-independent (object or source) language that will cause a computer to perform a desired procedure or task such as solving a problem, regulating the flow of work in a computer, or controlling or monitoring events. Computer program listings may be submitted in patent applications, as set forth in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section.

(b) Material which will be printed in the patent: If the computer program listing is contained in 300 lines or fewer, with each line of 72 characters or fewer, it may be submitted either as drawings or as part of the specification.

(1) Drawings. If the listing is submitted as drawings, it must be submitted in the manner and complying with the requirements for drawings as provided in § 1.84. At least one figure numeral is required on each sheet of drawing.

(2) Specification.

(i) If the listing is submitted as part of the specification, it must be submitted in accordance with the provisions of § 1.52.

(ii) Any listing having more than 60 lines of code that is submitted as part of the specification must be positioned at the end of the description but before the claims. Any amendment must be made by way of submission of a substitute sheet.

(c) As an appendix that will not be printed: Any computer program listing may, and any computer program listing having over 300 lines (up to 72 characters per line) must, be submitted as an electronic document in ASCII plain text, whether submitted via the USPTO patent electronic filing system or on a read-only optical disc, in compliance with § 1.52(e). An electronic document containing such a computer program listing is to be referred to as a “Computer Program Listing Appendix.” The “Computer Program Listing Appendix” will not be part of the printed patent. The specification must include an incorporation by reference of the “Computer Program Listing Appendix,” in accordance with § 1.77(b)(5).

(1) A “Computer Program Listing Appendix” must conform to the following requirements:

(i) Computer compatibility: PC or Mac®;

(ii) Operating system compatibility: MS-DOS®, MS-Windows®, Mac OS®, or Unix®/Linux®;

(iii) Line terminator: ASCII CRLF or LF only; and

(iv) Control codes: The data must not be dependent on control characters or codes that are not defined in the ASCII character set.

(2) Each file must be named as *.txt, where “*” is one character or a combination of characters limited to upper- or lowercase letters, numbers, hyphens, and underscores and does not exceed 60 characters in total, excluding the extension. No spaces or other types of characters are permitted in the file name.

(3) Each file containing a “Computer Program Listing Appendix” submitted via the USPTO patent electronic filing system must not exceed 25 MB, and file compression is not permitted.

(4) A “Computer Program Listing Appendix” submitted in compliance with § 1.52(e) must conform to the following requirements:

(i) A separate read-only optical disc containing a “Computer Program Listing Appendix” must be submitted for each applicable application;

(ii) Multiple computer program listings for a single application may be placed on a single read-only optical disc;

(iii) Multiple read-only optical discs, containing one or more computer program listings, may be submitted for a single application, if necessary;

(iv) Any computer program listing may, and a computer program listing having a nested file structure must, when submitted in compliance with § 1.52(e), be compressed into a single file using WinZip®, 7-Zip, or Unix®/Linux® Zip;

(v) Any compressed file must not be self-extracting; and

(vi) A compressed ASCII plain text file that does not fit on a single read-only optical disc may be split into multiple file parts, in accordance with the target read-only optical disc size and labeled in compliance with § 1.52(e)(5)(vi).

(5) Any amendments to a “Computer Program Listing Appendix” in electronic form in ASCII plain text format must include:

(i) A replacement ASCII plain text file, in accordance with the requirements of this paragraph (c), submitted via the USPTO patent electronic filing system, or on a read-only optical disc, in compliance with § 1.52(e), where the replacement read-only optical disc must be submitted in duplicate, and the read-only optical discs must be labeled “COPY 1 REPLACEMENT MM/DD/YYYY” (with the month, day, and year of creation indicated) and “COPY 2 REPLACEMENT MM/DD/YYYY”;

(ii) A request that the amendment be made by incorporation by reference of the material in the replacement ASCII plain text file, in a separate paragraph of the specification (replacing any prior such paragraph) identifying the name of the file, the date of creation, and the size of the file in bytes (see § 1.77(b)(5));

(iii) A statement that identifies the location of all deletions, replacements, or additions to the ASCII plain text file; and

(iv) A statement that the replacement ASCII plain text file contains no new matter.

(6) The specification of a complete application with a “Computer Program Listing Appendix” as an ASCII plain text file, filed on the application filing date, without an incorporation by reference of the material contained in the ASCII plain text file, must be amended to contain a separate paragraph incorporating by reference the material contained in the ASCII plain text file, in accordance with § 1.77(b)(5).

(7) Any read-only optical disc for a “Computer Program Listing Appendix” must be submitted in duplicate. The read-only optical disc and duplicate copy must be labeled “Copy 1” and “Copy 2,” respectively. The transmittal letter that accompanies the read-only optical discs must include a statement that the two read-only optical discs are identical. In the event that the two read-only optical discs are not identical, the Office will use the read-only optical disc labeled “Copy 1” for further processing. Any amendment to the information on a read-only optical disc must be by way of a replacement read-only optical disc, in compliance with § 1.96(c)(5).

[61 FR 42804, Aug. 19, 1996, as amended at 65 FR 54670, Sept. 8, 2000; 70 FR 54266, Sept. 14, 2005; 86 FR 57047, Oct. 14, 2021]

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