A Brief Overview of Application Data Sheets and How They Help Applicants in the US Patent Office

A Brief Overview of Application Data Sheets and How They Help Applicants in the US Patent Office

What is an Application Data Sheet?

An application data sheet or “ADS” is a document that provides the bibliographic data for an application to the USPTO. The USPTO prefers, but does not require, the use of an ADS. An ADS can be advantageous, however, because it tends to reduce errors in the conversion/recordation of application data into the USPTO’s official electronic data record. While electronic filing via the USPTO’s EFS-Web has certainly reduced some errors, the USPTO relies on the uploaded documents (e.g., declaration, specification), rather than a user’s input, to create its official electronic record. For example, in a national stage application filed under 35 USC & 371, the USPTO might look to the publication of the international application for the title and to other documents for the listing of inventors and the correspondence address. The use of an ADS, because it provides this information in a single document and in a specified format, improves the accuracy of this conversion and the resulting electronic record.

Examples of What Can Happen Without an ADS

The USPTO’s procedures for converting the application data of paper applications and for recording electronic data into its official data record are surprisingly accurate, in view of the number of application data records it must create. Nonetheless, as with any system, errors do occur. And, even when they are remedied early in the prosecution process, they still take time and can cause processing delays. Worse yet, sometimes errors in the USPTO data records are not corrected. Consider the following U.S. patents, which could have benefited from an ADS:

1. U.S. Patent Nos. 6,112,451, 6,631,400, and 6,637,044, each for a “Statement Regarding Federally Sponsored Research or Development”;

2. U.S. Patent No. 7,263,562 for a “Method and System for Describing Uploaded Files Statement Regarding Federally Sponsored Research or Development”; and

3. U.S. Patent No. 6,389,215 for “Low Birefringent Polyimides for Optical Waveguides Statement Regarding Federally Sponsored Research or Development”.

And then there are:

1. U.S. Patent No. 6,930,045 for “Cross Reference to Related Application”;

2. U.S. Patent No. 6,829,526 for a “Train Detection System and a Train Detection Method Cross Reference to Related Application”; and

3. U.S. Patent No. 6,786,734 for an “Electrical Adapter With a Foldable Housing Cross-Reference to Related Application”.

Clearly, there are instances when an ADS would have helped the USPTO more accurately convert bibliographic information into an official data record.

The Requirements for an ADS

Section 1.76 of Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations governs application data sheets and sets forth specific requirements for each ADS. The following are some of the more noteworthy.

1. An ADS may be used in provisional and nonprovisional applications.

2. The USPTO offers a fillable pdf form (Form PTO/SB/14) on its website. Try to use the USPTO fillable form whenever possible, because an ADS must be submitted as a text-based PDF file. A scanned version of the ADS fillable form will be rejected via EFS-Web because EFS-Web will not be able to auto-load scanned in data into backend systems.

Categories: Application

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