Information Disclosure Statement (IDS) is a statement that must include all the information or details regarding your prior art. When an applicant files a patent application according to the USPTO guidelines, the applicant is asked to submit all the relevant background art, information, and publications related to the invention to the USPTO during the patent prosecution process. In case, the applicant fails to submit all the information or misses any part of the relevant prior art, the patent may get into trouble regarding its issue or may be considered as an invalid application. The significance of an IDS cannot be better understood by any other person than a patent applicant. Let us now understand what all prior art documents are required to be included in an IDS.
Not only it’s the responsibility of applicant, but at the same time patent attorneys or agents providing help, must focus on disclosing the complete information in an IDS. Even if the patent gets granted, it might force to get abandoned in case any information is found out to be missing from the IDS. As it is only valid to disclose all the known prior art references, the applicant does not have to search for prior art. However, any prior art references uncovered in a patent search must then be disclosed.
While categorizing prior art, it may not only need to include information that should be mentioned in a literature based source of, such as U.S. and foreign patents and published patent applications, but it must also include sources from non-patent literature (NPL), such as printed publications (websites, online blogs, journals, research papers, thesis, newspaper, sales and marketing materials).One is not asked to look for and include sources that only covers U.S. boundaries, but all the known foreign references must also be carefully searched and included (if found).
The following things are must to be disclosed in IDS, in a specified format: (including every prior art)
- Everything proving novelty and non-obviousness of the relevant invention.
- Everything included as a reference paper, even if published in international journals.
- Everything that has been updated in previously unknown prior art or in terms of requirements, processes or fees must be included in their updated version.
Since, applicants are asked to file IDS during the complete course of patent prosecution. Hence, the duty is ongoing while the patent application is pending, and therefore, it is common for an applicant to file multiple Information Disclosure Statements. This can be achieved by filing new prior art references in the next IDS, such as is often the case when prior art is cited in a counterpart international (PCT) or foreign application.
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