Recent test takers report that question #34 from the October 2003 (PM) test is in the patent bar exam database.
36. An application naming X and Y as joint inventors, filed on April 3, 2002, has a single pending claim, and does not claim the benefit of any earlier application. Which, if any, of the following items of prior art that have been relied on in various rejections of the claim may be overcome by a suitable affidavit under 37 CFR 1.131 in accordance with the patent laws, rules and procedures as related in the MPEP?
(A) A U.S. patent to G that issued on March 27, 2001, has an effective U.S. filing date of January 4, 2000, and does not claim the “same patentable invention” (as defined in 37 CFR 1.601(n)) as the rejected claim.
(B) A U.S. patent to P that issued on June 5, 2001, has an effective U.S. filing date of February 1, 2000, and includes a claim that is identical to the rejected claim.
(C) A journal article to H published on December 10, 2001, and characterized in the application as “describ[ing] the prior art.”
(D) A foreign patent issued to X and Y on November 7, 2001, which claims the same
subject matter as the rejected claim and is based on an application filed on January 3, 2001.
(E) None of the above.
ANSWER: The correct answer is (E), “None of the above.” (A) is incorrect because the G patent is a 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) statutory bar. See MPEP § 715 under heading “Situations Where 37 CFR 1.131 Affidavits Or Declarations Are Inappropriate,” states “(A) Where the reference publication date is more than 1 year prior to applicant’s or patent owner’s effective filing date. Such a reference is a ‘statutory bar’ under 35 U.S.C. 102(b) as referenced in 37 CFR 1.131(a)(2).” (B) is incorrect because 37 CFR § 1.131 expressly provides that prior invention may not be established under the rule “if the rejection is based upon a U.S. patent or U.S. patent application publication of a pending or patented application to another or others which claims the same patentable invention as defined in 37 CFR 1.601(n).” 37 CFR § 1.131(a)(1). Regarding (C), see MPEP § 715, under heading ” Situations Where 37 CFR 1.131 Affidavits Or Declarations Are Inappropriate,” which states “(G) Where applicant has clearly admitted on the record that subject matter relied on in the reference is prior art. In this case, that subject matter may be used as a basis for rejecting his or her claims and may not be overcome by an affidavit or declaration under 37 CFR 1.131. In re Hellsund, 474 F.2d 1307, 177 USPQ 170 (CCPA 1973); In re Garfinkel, 437 F.2d 1000, 168 USPQ 659 (CCPA 1971); In re Blout, 333 F.2d 928, 142 USPQ 173 (CCPA 1964); In re Lopresti, 333 F.2d 932, 142 USPQ 177 (CCPA 1964).” Regarding (D), see MPEP § 715, under heading, ” Situations Where 37 CFR 1.131 Affidavits Or Declarations Are Inappropriate,” which states “(C) Where the reference is a foreign patent for the same invention to applicant or patent owner or his or her legal representatives or assigns issued prior to the filing date of the domestic application or patent on an application filed more than 12 months prior to the filing date of the domestic application. See 35 U.S.C. 102(d).”