MPEP 1201

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1201 Introduction[edit | edit source]

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office) in administering the Patent Laws makes many decisions of a substantive nature which the applicant may feel deny him or her the patent protection to which he or she is entitled. The differences of opinion on such matters can be justly resolved only by prescribing and following judicial procedures. Where the differences of opinion concern the denial of patent claims because of prior art or other patentability issues, the questions thereby raised are said to relate to the merits, and appeal procedure within the Office and to the courts has long been provided by statute (35 U.S.C. 134).

The line of demarcation between appealable matters for the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (Board) and petitionable matters for the Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (Director) should be carefully observed. The Board will not ordinarily hear a question that should be decided by the Director on petition, and the Director will not ordinarily entertain a petition where the question presented is a matter appealable to the Board. However, since 37 CFR 1.181(f) states that any petition not filed within 2 months from the action complained of may be dismissed as untimely and since 37 CFR 1.144 states that petitions from restriction requirements must be filed no later than appeal, petitionable matters will rarely be present in a case by the time it is before the Board for a decision. In re Watkinson, 900 F.2d 230, 14 USPQ2d 1407 (Fed. Cir. 1990).

This chapter is primarily directed to ex parteappeals. For appeals in inter partes reexamination proceedings, see 37 CFR 41.60 to 41.81 and MPEP § 2674 to § 2683.