The information contained in information disclosure statements which comply with both the content requirements of 37 CFR 1.98 and the requirements, based on the time of filing the statement, of 37 CFR 1.97 will be considered by the examiner. Consideration by the examiner of the information submitted in an IDS means that the examiner will consider the documents in the same manner as other documents in Office search files are considered by the examiner while conducting a search of the prior art in a proper field of search. The initials of the examiner placed adjacent to the citations on the PTO/SB/08A and 08B or its equivalent mean that the information has been considered by the examiner to the extent noted above.
In addition, the following alternative electronic signature method may be used by examiners in information disclosure statements to indicate whether the information has been considered. Examiners will no longer initial each reference citation considered, but will continue to strikethrough each citation not considered. Each page of reference citations will be stamped by the examiner with the phrase “All references considered except where lined through” along with the examiner’s electronic initials, and the final page of reference citations will include the examiner’s electronic signature.
Examiners must consider all citations submitted in conformance with the rules, and their initials when placed adjacent to the considered citations on the list or in the boxes provided on a form PTO/SB/08A and 08B (or the examiner may use the alternative electronic signature method noted above)provides a clear record of which citations have been considered by the Office. The examiner must also fill in his or her name and the date the information was considered in blocks at the bottom of the PTO/SB/08A and 08B form. If any of the citations are considered, a copy of the submitted list, form PTO/SB/08A and 08B, as reviewed by the examiner, will be returned to the applicant with the next communication. Those citations not considered by the examiner will have a line drawn through the citation. The original copy of the list, form PTO/SB/08A and 08B will be entered into the application file. The copy returned to applicant will serve both as acknowledgement of receipt of the information disclosure statement and as an indication as to which references were considered by the examiner. Forms PTO-326 and PTOL-37 include a box to indicate the attachment of form PTO/SB/08A and 08B.
Information which complies with requirements as discussed in this section but which is in a non-English language will be considered in view of the concise explanation submitted (see MPEP § 609.04(a), subsection III.) and insofar as it is understood on its face, e.g., drawings, chemical formulas, in the same manner that non-English language information in Office search files is considered by examiners in conducting searches. The examiner need not have the information translated unless it appears to be necessary to do so. The examiner will indicate that the non-English language information has been considered in the same manner as consideration is indicated for information submitted in English. The examiner should not require that a translation be filed by applicant. The examiner should not make any comment such as that the non-English language information has only been considered to the extent understood, since this fact is inherent. SeeSemiconductor Energy Laboratory Co. v. Samsung Electronics Co., 204 F.3d 1368, 1377-78, 54 USPQ2d 1001, 1008 (Fed. Cir. 2000) (“[A]s MPEP Section 609C(2) reveals, the examiner’s understanding of a foreign reference is generally limited to that which he or she can glean from the applicant’s concise statement…Consequently, while the examiner’s initials require that we presume that he or she considered the [foreign] reference, this presumption extends only to the examiner’s consideration of the brief translated portion and the concise statement.”).
If an item of information in an IDS fails to comply with requirements of 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98, a line should be drawn through the citation to show that it has not been considered. The other items of information listed that do comply with the requirements of 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98 will be considered by the examiner and will be appropriately initialed.