608.02(a) New Drawing — When Replacement is Required Before Examination [R-07.2015]
See MPEP § 608.02 for the procedure to follow when drawings have not been filed, but a drawing will aid in the understanding of the invention. See MPEP § 601.01(f) or 601.01(g) for the procedures to follow when applications appear to be missing drawing(s). Drawings in utility and plant applications will be reviewed by the Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP) for compliance with certain requirements of 37 CFR 1.84. OPAP will send a Notice to File Corrected Application Papers if the drawings are unacceptable for purposes of publication. The notice will give applicant a time period of two (2) months from the mailing date of the notice to file acceptable drawings. This time period for reply is extendable under 37 CFR 1.136(a). OPAP will not release applications to the Technology Centers until acceptable drawings are filed in the applications.
If at the time of the initial assignment of an application to an examiner’s docket, or if at the time the application is taken up for action, the supervisory patent examiner believes the drawings to be of such a condition as to not permit reasonable examination of the application, applicant should be required to immediately submit corrected drawings. However, if the drawings do permit reasonable examination and the supervisory patent examiner believes the drawings are of such a character as to render the application defective under 35 U.S.C. 112, examination should begin immediately with a requirement for corrected drawings and a rejection of the claims as not being in compliance with 35 U.S.C. 112(a) being made.
If the drawings have been indicated by the applicant as “informal,” but the drawings are considered acceptable by OPAP, the examiner should not require replacement of the drawings. If the examiner does make objections to the drawings, the examiner should require correction in reply to the Office action and not permit the objection to be held in abeyance. See MPEP § 608.02(b), § 608.02(d) – § 608.02(h) and § 608.02(p) for further information on specific grounds for finding drawings informalities.
I. UNTIMELY FILED DRAWINGS
If a drawing is not timely received in reply to a notice from the Office or a letter from the examiner who requires a drawing, the application becomes abandoned for failure to reply.
For the handling of replacement drawings, see MPEP § 608.02(h).