37 CFR 1.85 Corrections to drawings.
- (a) A utility or plant application will not be placed on the files for examination until objections to the drawings have been corrected. Except as provided in § 1.215(c), any patent application publication will not include drawings filed after the application has been placed on the files for examination. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance, and a request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action (§ 1.135(c)). If a drawing in a design application meets the requirements of § 1.84(e), (f), and (g) and is suitable for reproduction, but is not otherwise in compliance with § 1.84, the drawing may be admitted for examination.
- (b) The Office will not release drawings for purposes of correction. If corrections are necessary, new corrected drawings must be submitted within the time set by the Office.
- (c) If a corrected drawing is required or if a drawing does not comply with § 1.84 or an amended drawing submitted under § 1.121(d) in a nonprovisional international design application does not comply with § 1.1026 at the time an application is allowed, the Office may notify the applicant in a notice of allowability and set a three-month period of time from the mail date of the notice of allowability within which the applicant must file a corrected drawing in compliance with § 1.84 or 1.1026, as applicable, to avoid abandonment. This time period is not extendable under § 1.136 (see § 1.136(c)).
In instances where the drawing is such that the prosecution can be carried on without the corrections, applicant is informed of the reasons why the drawing is objected to in an examiner’s action, and that the drawing is admitted for examination purposes only (see MPEP § 707.07(a)). To be fully responsive, an amendment must include corrected drawings. See 37 CFR 1.85(c) and 37 CFR 1.121(d). The objection to the drawings will not be held in abeyance.
I. ACCEPTABILITY OF DRAWINGS
The Office no longer considers drawings as formal or informal. Drawings are either acceptable or unacceptable. Drawings will be accepted by the Office of Patent Application Processing (OPAP) if the drawings are readable and reproducible for publication purposes. See MPEP § 507.
Examiners should review the drawings for disclosure of the claimed invention and for proper use of reference numerals. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance. A request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action (37 CFR 1.135(c)). Drawing corrections should be made promptly before allowance of the application in order to avoid delays in issuance of the application as a patent or a reduction to any term adjustment. See 37 CFR 1.704(c)(10).
II. NOTIFYING APPLICANT
If the original drawings are unacceptable, applicant will be notified and informed of what the objections are and that new corrected drawings are required. In either case, the drawings will be accepted as satisfying the requirements of 37 CFR 1.51. The examiners are directed to advise the applicants (see MPEP § 707.07(a)) in the first Office action of the reasons why the drawings are unacceptable. If the examiner discovers a defect in the content of the drawing, one or more of the form paragraphs reproduced below may be used to notify applicant.
¶ 6.21 New Drawings, Competent Draftsperson
New corrected drawings in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) are required in this application because . Applicant is advised to employ the services of a competent patent draftsperson outside the Office, as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office does not prepare new drawings. The corrected drawings are required in reply to the Office action to avoid abandonment of the application. The requirement for corrected drawings will not be held in abeyance.
¶ 6.22 Drawings Objected To
The drawings are objected to because . Corrected drawing sheets in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) are required in reply to the Office action to avoid abandonment of the application. Any amended replacement drawing sheet should include all of the figures appearing on the immediate prior version of the sheet, even if only one figure is being amended. The figure or figure number of an amended drawing should not be labeled as “amended.” If a drawing figure is to be canceled, the appropriate figure must be removed from the replacement sheet, and where necessary, the remaining figures must be renumbered and appropriate changes made to the brief description of the several views of the drawings for consistency. Additional replacement sheets may be necessary to show the renumbering of the remaining figures. Each drawing sheet submitted after the filing date of an application must be labeled in the top margin as either “Replacement Sheet” or “New Sheet” pursuant to 37 CFR 1.121(d). If the changes are not accepted by the examiner, the applicant will be notified and informed of any required corrective action in the next Office action. The objection to the drawings will not be held in abeyance.
- 1. In bracket 1, insert the reason for the objection, for example, –the drawings do not show every feature of the invention specified in the claims– or –the unlabeled rectangular box(es) shown in the drawings should be provided with descriptive text labels–.
- 2. Unless applicant is otherwise notified in an Office action, objections to the drawings in a utility or plant application will not be held in abeyance, and a request to hold objections to the drawings in abeyance will not be considered a bona fide attempt to advance the application to final action. See 37 CFR 1.85(a).
- 3. This form paragraph may be followed by form paragraph 6.27 to require a marked up copy of the amended drawing figure(s) including annotations indicating the changes made in the corrected drawings.
¶ 6.26 Drawings Do Not Permit Examination
The drawings are not of sufficient quality to permit examination. Accordingly, replacement drawing sheets in compliance with 37 CFR 1.121(d) are required in reply to this Office action. The replacement sheet(s) should be labeled “Replacement Sheet” in the page header (as per 37 CFR 1.84(c)) so as not to obstruct any portion of the drawing figures. If the changes are not accepted by the examiner, the applicant will be notified and informed of any required corrective action in the next Office action.
Applicant is given a shortened statutory period of TWO (2) MONTHS to submit new drawings in compliance with 37 CFR 1.81. Extensions of time may be obtained under the provisions of 37 CFR 1.136(a) but in no case can any extension carry the date for reply to this letter beyond the maximum period of SIX MONTHS set by statute (35 U.S.C. 133). Failure to timely submit replacement drawing sheets will result in ABANDONMENT of the application.
- 1. Use of this form paragraph should be extremely rare and limited to those instances where no examination can be performed due to the poor quality of the drawings resulting in a lack of understanding of the claimed subject matter.
- 2. Use a PTOL-90 or PTO-90C form as a cover sheet for this communication.
¶ 6.27 Requirement for Marked-up Copy of Drawing Corrections
In addition to Replacement Sheets containing the corrected drawing figure(s), applicant is required to submit a marked-up copy of each Replacement Sheet including annotations indicating the changes made to the previous version. The marked-up copy must be clearly labeled as “Annotated Sheet” and must be presented in the amendment or remarks section that explains the change(s) to the drawings. See 37 CFR 1.121(d)(1). Failure to timely submit the corrected drawing and marked-up copy will result in the abandonment of the application.
- 1. When this form paragraph is used by the examiner, the applicant must provide a marked-up copy of any amended drawing figure, including annotations indicating the changes made in the drawing replacement sheets. See 37 CFR 1.121(d)(2).
- 2. Applicants should be encouraged to submit corrected drawings before allowance in order to avoid having any term adjustment reduced pursuant to 37 CFR 1.704(c)(10).
III. HANDLING OF REPLACEMENT DRAWINGS
In those situations where an application is filed with unacceptable drawings, applicants will be notified by OPAP to file new acceptable drawings complying with 37 CFR 1.84 and 1.121(d) or 37 CFR 1.1026, as applicable. If the requirement for corrected drawings appears on the notice of allowability (PTOL-37), the drawings must be filed within three months of the date of mailing of the notice of allowability. Also, each sheet of the drawing should include the application number and the art unit in the upper center margin (37 CFR 1.84(c)) and labeled, in the header, “Replacement Sheet.”
In utility applications, the examination will normally be conducted using the originally presented drawings. The sufficiency of disclosure, as concerns the subject matter claimed, will be made by the examiner utilizing the original drawings. IT IS APPLICANT’S RESPONSIBILITY TO SEE THAT NO NEW MATTER IS ADDED when submitting replacement drawings after allowance since they will not normally be reviewed by an examiner. Of course, if the examiner notices new matter in the replacement drawings, appropriate action to have the new matter deleted should be undertaken.