The following criteria are applicable to all evidence traversing rejections submitted by applicants, including affidavits or declarations submitted under 37 CFR 1.132:
- (A) Timeliness.
- Evidence traversing rejections must be timely or seasonably filed to be entered and entitled to consideration. In re Rothermel, 276 F.2d 393, 125 USPQ 328 (CCPA 1960).
- Affidavits and declarations submitted under 37 CFR 1.132 and other evidence traversing rejections are considered timely if submitted:
- (1) prior to a final rejection,
- (2) before appeal in an application not having a final rejection,
- (3) after final rejection , but before or on the same date of filing an appeal, upon a showing of good and sufficient reasons why the affidavit or other evidence is necessary and was not earlier presented in compliance with 37 CFR 1.116(e); or
- (4) after the prosecution is closed (e.g., after a final rejection, after appeal, or after allowance) if applicant files the affidavit or other evidence with a request for continued examination (RCE) under 37 CFR 1.114 in a utility or plant application filed on or after June 8, 1995; or a continued prosecution application (CPA) under 37 CFR 1.53(d) in a design application.
- (B) Consideration of evidence.
- Evidence traversing rejections, when timely presented, must be considered by the examiner whenever present. All entered affidavits, declarations, and other evidence traversing rejections are acknowledged and commented upon by the examiner in the next succeeding action. The extent of the commentary depends on the action taken by the examiner. Where an examiner holds that the evidence is sufficient to overcome the prima facie case, the comments should be consistent with the guidelines for statements of reasons for allowance. See MPEP § 1302.14. Where the evidence is insufficient to overcome the rejection, the examiner must specifically explain why the evidence is insufficient. General statements such as “the declaration lacks technical validity” or “the evidence is not commensurate with the scope of the claims” without an explanation supporting such findings are insufficient.