706.01 Contrasted With Objections [R-11.2013]

The refusal to grant claims because the subject matter as claimed is considered unpatentable is called a “rejection.” The term “rejected” must be applied to such claims in the examiner’s action. If the form of the claim (as distinguished from its substance) is improper, an “objection” is made. An example of a matter of form as to which objection is made is dependency of a claim on a rejected claim, if the dependent claim is otherwise allowable. See MPEP § 608.01(n). The practical difference between a rejection and an objection is that a rejection, involving the merits of the claim, is subject to review by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, while an objection, if persisted, may be reviewed only by way of petition to the Director of the USPTO.

Similarly, the Board will not hear or decide issues pertaining to objections and formal matters which are not properly before the Board. These formal matters should not be combined in appeals to the Board.