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MPEP 2103/2106 III 筆記
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MPEP 2103規範一個專利審查程序,要求審查委員應該在一次OA中提供完整的審查意見,原則是principles of compact prosecution就是考量了所有的專利性議題後,作出審查意見,不能分次提出,即便是專利有瑕疵。

"USPTO personnel should state all reasons and bases for rejecting claims in the first Office action."

"every statutory requirement for patentability in the initial review of the application, even if one or more claims are found to be deficient with respect to some statutory requirement."

然後,規範了審查委員不少責任,包括解釋專利中的問題、核駁理由,甚至包括建議申請人要如何克服核駁意見。

MPEP 2106原本是討論專利適格性(Patent Subject Matter Eligibility)議題,但是在其第III段落討論到「建立初步案件記錄(Establish on the Record a Prima Facie Case」的規定中,要求審查委員在討論101議題時,還是應該要對全部的專利性議題提出審查意見,這就是上述「principles of compact prosecution」。

從MPEP 2106 III可以得到一些想法,MPEP應該要求審查委員應該在一個OA中建立一個完整的審查意見(Under the principles of compact prosecution),在此篇中,規定除了101外,還需要102/103/112意見,而不要用多次OA分次提出意見。

這樣看來,可以猜想的是(或說應該是在看得懂專利內容的前提下),如果僅有103審查意見,應該是已經考慮了101/102/112;如果僅有101,應該是已經考慮102/103/112。

但如果看不懂專利,如面對112(a)(b)議題,實務上,負責任的審查委員會用自己的理解來解釋專利範圍後,提出審查意見;或是,在特定情況下,因為看不懂而無法進行102/103審查,似乎也算有理。

 
不過,我覺得專利申請人面對沒有102/103的審查意見的OA時,應該可以先認定審查委員遵守了這個原則:一次OA就考量了所有證據、講完所有的專利性議題。如此,理想狀況下,只要克服眼前101, 112議題,沒有觸動到專利性的問題,可以設想為可核准專利。
 
"Office personnel should state all non-cumulative reasons and bases for rejecting claims in the first Office action."
 
MPEP 2103    PATENT EXAMINATION PROCESS
 
I. DETERMINE WHAT APPLICANT HAS INVENTED AND IS SEEKING TO PATENT
It is essential that patent applicants obtain a prompt yet complete examination of their applications. Under the principles of compact prosecution, each claim should be reviewed for compliance with every statutory requirement for patentability in the initial review of the application, even if one or more claims are found to be deficient with respect to some statutory requirement. Thus, USPTO personnel should state all reasons and bases for rejecting claims in the first Office action. Deficiencies should be explained clearly, particularly when they serve as a basis for a rejection. Whenever practicable, USPTO personnel should indicate how rejections may be overcome and how problems may be resolved. A failure to follow this approach can lead to unnecessary delays in the prosecution of the application.
Prior to focusing on specific statutory requirements, USPTO personnel must begin examination by determining what, precisely, the applicant has invented and is seeking to patent, and how the claims relate to and define that invention. USPTO personnel will review the complete specification, including the detailed description of the invention, any specific embodiments that have been disclosed, the claims and any specific, substantial, and credible utilities that have been asserted for the invention.
 
After obtaining an understanding of what applicant invented, the examiner will conduct a search of the prior art and determine whether the invention as claimed complies with all statutory requirements.
Therefore, examiners should avoid focusing on issues of patent-eligibility under 35 U.S.C. 101 to the detriment of considering an application for compliance with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 11235 U.S.C. 102, and 35 U.S.C. 103, and should avoid treating an application solely on the basis of patent-eligibility under 35 U.S.C. 101 except in the most extreme cases.

MPEP 2106    PATENT SUBJECT MATTER ELIGIBILITY
...
III. Establish on the Record a Prima Facie Case
USPTO personnel should review the totality of the evidence (e.g., the specification, claims, relevant prior art) before reaching a conclusion with regard to whether the claimed invention sets forth patent eligible subject matter. USPTO personnel must reach a conclusion as to whether it is more likely than not that the claimed invention as a whole either falls outside of one of the enumerated statutory classes or within one of the exceptions to statutory subject matter. “The examiner bears the initial burden … of presenting a prima facie case of unpatentability.” In re Oetiker, 977 F.2d 1443, 1445, 24 USPQ2d 1443, 1444 (Fed. Cir. 1992). If the record as a whole suggests that it is more likely than not that the claimed invention would be considered significantly more than an abstract idea, natural phenomenon, or law of nature, then USPTO personnel should not reject the claim.
After USPTO personnel identify and explain in the record the reasons why a claim is for an abstract idea, natural phenomenon, or law of nature without significantly more, then the burden shifts to the applicant to either amend the claim or make a showing of why the claim is eligible for patent protection. See, e.g., In re Brana, 51 F.3d 1560, 1566, 34 USPQ2d 1436, 1441 (Fed. Cir. 1995).
Under the principles of compact prosecution, regardless of whether a rejection under 35 U.S.C. 101 is made based on lack of subject matter eligibility, a complete examination should be made for every claim under each of the other patentability requirements: 35 U.S.C. 102, 103, 112, and 101 (utility, inventorship and double patenting) and non-statutory double patenting. Thus, Office personnel should state all non-cumulative reasons and bases for rejecting claims in the first Office action.
Ron