[Editor Note: Information pertaining to the choice of best art, reliance on abstracts and foreign language documents, and the distinction between 35 U.S.C. 102 and 103 has been moved to MPEP § 2120. Information pertaining to determining the effective filing date of a claimed invention has been moved to MPEP § 2139.01 for applications subject to pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102 and MPEP § 2152.01 for applications subject to AIA 35 U.S.C. 102. Information pertaining to the rejection of claims corresponding to patent claims has been moved to MPEP § 706.06.]
By far the most frequent ground of rejection is on the ground of unpatentability in view of the prior art, that is, that the claimed subject matter is either not novel under 35 U.S.C. 102, or else it is obvious under 35 U.S.C. 103. The language to be used in rejecting claims should be unequivocal. See MPEP § 707.07(d).
For general information on rejections based on prior art, see MPEP § 2120et seq. For information specific to rejections based on pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 102, see MPEP §§ 2132 – 2139.03. For information specific to rejections under AIA 35 U.S.C. 102, see MPEP §§ 2151 –2156.