608.01 Specification [R-7]
VII. Hyperlinks and Other Forms of Browser-Executable Code in the Specification
Examiners must review patent applications to make certain that hyperlinks and other forms of browser-executable code, especially commercial site URLs, are not included in a patent application. 37 CFR 1.57(d) states that an incorporation by reference by hyperlink or other form of browser executable code is not permitted. Examples of a hyperlink or a browser-executable code are a URL placed between these symbols “” and http:// followed by a URL address. When a patent application with embedded hyperlinks and/or other forms of browser-executable code issues as a patent (or is published as a patent application publication) and the patent document is placed on the USPTO web page, when the patent document is retrieved and viewed via a web browser, the URL is interpreted as a valid HTML code and it becomes a live web link. When a user clicks on the link with a mouse, the user will be transferred to another web page identified by the URL, if it exists, which could be a commercial web site. USPTO policy does not permit the USPTO to link to any commercial sites since the USPTO exercises no control over the organization, views or accuracy of the information contained on these outside sites.
If hyperlinks and/or other forms of browser-executable code are embedded in the text of the patent application, examiners should object to the specification and indicate to applicants that the embedded hyperlinks and/or other forms of browser-executable code are impermissible and require deletion. This requirement does not apply to electronic documents listed on forms PTO-892 and PTO/SB/08 where the electronic document is identified by reference to a URL.
The attempt to incorporate subject matter into the patent application by reference to a hyperlink and/or other forms of browser-executable code is considered to be an improper incorporation by reference. See 37 CFR 1.57(d) and MPEP § 608.01(p), paragraph I regarding incorporation by reference. Where the hyperlinks and/or other forms of browser-executable codes themselves rather than the contents of the site to which the hyperlinks are directed are part of applicant’s invention and it is necessary to have them included in the patent application in order to comply with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112, first paragraph, and applicant does not intend to have these hyperlinks be active links, examiners should not object to these hyperlinks. The Office will disable these hyperlinks when preparing the text to be loaded onto the USPTO web database.