Section 609.05(c) Documents Submitted as Part of Applicant’s Reply to Office Action

Occasionally, documents are submitted and relied on by an applicant when replying to an Office action. These documents may be relied on by an applicant, for example, to show that an element recited in the claim is operative or that a term used in the claim has a recognized meaning in the art. Documents may be in any form but are typically in the form of an affidavit, declaration, patent, or printed publication.

To the extent that a document is submitted as evidence directed to an issue of patentability raised in an Office action, and the evidence is timely presented, applicant need not satisfy the requirements of 37 CFR 1.97 and 37 CFR 1.98 in order to have the examiner consider the information contained in the document relied on by applicant. In other words, compliance with the information disclosure rules is not a threshold requirement to have information considered when submitted by applicant to support an argument being made in a reply to an Office action. However, consideration by the examiner of the document submitted as evidence directed to an issue of patentability raised in the Office action is limited to the portion of the document relied upon as rebuttal evidence; the entirety of the document may not necessarily be considered by the examiner.

At the same time, the document supplied and relied on by applicant as evidence need not be processed as an item of information that was cited in an information disclosure statement. The record should reflect whether the evidence was considered, but listing on a form (e.g., PTO-892, or PTO/SB/08A and 08B) and appropriate marking of the form by the examiner is not required.

For example, if applicant submits and relies on three patents as evidence in reply to the first Office action and also lists those patents on a PTO/SB/08A and 08B along with two journal articles, but does not file a statement under 37 CFR 1.97(e) or the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(p), it would be appropriate for the examiner to indicate that the teachings relied on by applicant in the three patents have been considered, but to line through the citation of all five documents on the PTO/SB/08A and 08B and to inform applicant that the information disclosure statement did not comply with 37 CFR 1.97(c).