This Manual is published to provide U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) patent examiners, applicants, attorneys, agents, and representatives of applicants with a reference work on the practices and procedures relative to the prosecution of patent applications before the USPTO. It contains instructions to examiners, as well as other material in the nature of information and interpretation, and outlines the current procedures which the examiners are required or authorized to follow in appropriate cases in the normal examination of a patent application. The Manual does not have the force of law or the force of the rules in Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

A separate manual entitled “Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure” is published by the USPTO as a reference work for trademark cases.

Examiners will be governed by the applicable statutes, rules, decisions, and orders and instructions issued by the Director of the USPTO and other officials authorized by the Director of the USPTO.

Subsequent changes in practice and other revisions will be incorporated in the form of revisions to sections of chapters and/or to appendices of the Manual.

Suggestions for improving the form and content of the Manual are always welcome. They should be addressed to:

Mail Stop MPEP

Commissioner for Patents

P.O. Box 1450

Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1450