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Issue 1 | September 27, 2001
Hyperlinks In Patent Applications


Beware: The PTO rules of practice now restrict the use of hyperlinks in patent applications. According to M.P.E.P. Section 608.01, Examiners must now review applications to make sure that hyperlinks and other forms of browser-executable code are not included in the text of the application, unless the hyperlink or browser-executable code is part of the applicant's invention and therefore must be included in the application in order to comply with 35 U.S.C. Section 112 (and as long as the applicant does notintend to have the link be active). The end result is that Examiners will (or at least should) now require any such unnecessary hyperlinks or browser-executable code to be deleted from patent applications. Further, and perhaps more importantly, M.P.E.P. Section 608.01(p) now prohibits incorporation of subject matter by reference to a hyperlink or browser-executable code. The PTO's rationale for this rule of practice is that they don't want patents or applications on their web site including links to commercial sites that they don't control. (As for links that are part of the applicant's invention, the PTO will disable the links before posting the text on their web site.).

One way to work within this new rule of practice may be to rephrase any such link or code in a way that a computer won't detect as a hyperlink or browser-executable code, but that a reader will understand sufficiently to be able to refer to the referenced site. For instance, in a hyperlink that is normally phrased as http:// followed by a URL address, consider inserting a space between the "http:" and the "//". Only time and further experience will tell if this workaround will work.

To discuss the topic above further, please contact the author Larry Aaronson of McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff (Chicago) at aaronson@mbhb.com. http://www.mbhb.com

The information contained in this e-mail is provided for informational purposes only and does not represent legal advice. Neither the APLF nor the author intends to create an attorney client relationship by providing this information to you through this message.

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