Law - Information Disclosure Statement

In a court of law, issued U.S. patents enjoy a presumption that they are valid and enforceable against infringers. If, however, an alleged infringer can show that background art references were in existence on the filing date of the application and that those references were not considered by the Examiner in his/her examination of the application, the presumption of validity is weakened. Examiners are only human and do not always find all the background art that bears on patentability issues. For this reason, it is important that applicants bring to the attention of Examiners any background art that he/she should have considered. In addition, applicants, their representatives and any others associated with filing and prosecution of U.S. patent applications have a "duty of disclosure" to the USPTO to disclose any information known to the individual to be "material to patentability" of a claimed invention. This information is submitted in a specified format and is called an Information Disclosure Statement (IDS). Patent Partner reminds the user of the date before which an IDS can be submitted without the payment of a fee. The date is the earlier of the U.S. filing date plus 3 months or the mailing date of the first Office action on the merits of the applicaiton.

The position of the USPTO on this issue is described in the following section(s) of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP):

MPEP 609 - Information Disclosure Statement
MPEP 2001 - Duty of Disclosure, Candor, and Good Faith

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