USPTO Issues Final Rules: Citation of Prior Art and Written Statements in a Patent File

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On September 16, 2012, final rules issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (the rules) that implement provisions of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act related to citation of prior art and written statements in a patent file become effective. The rules modify existing practice by allowing any person to file a written submission directed to (1) prior art consisting of patents or printed publications that the person making the submission believes to have a bearing on the patentability of any claim of the patent; or (2) statements of the patent owner filed by the patent owner in a proceeding before a federal court or the USPTO in which a patent owner took a position on the scope of any claim of the patent.

Any submission relating to statements of the patent owner must include any other documents, pleadings or evidence from the proceeding in which the statement was filed that address the written statement. Further, the submission must also include the forum and proceeding in which the patent owner filed each statement, the specific papers and portions of the papers that contain the statements, and how each statement submitted is one in which the patent owner took a position on the scope of any claim in the patent. The other documents, pleadings or evidence must be submitted in redacted form to exclude information subject to a protective order.

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