The PTO has now eliminated the requirement of submitting copies of pending U.S. patent applications in an Information Disclosure Statement (IDS) if the pending application was filed after June 30, 2003, or entered National Stage after June 30, 2003. The requirement is also waived for pending applications filed before June 30, 2003, if a copy of the application is available through the USPTO's private PAIR system.
This waiver is limited to the specification, including the claims, and drawings in the U.S. application (or portion of the application). If material other than the specification, including the claims, and drawings in the file of a U.S. patent application is being cited in an IDS, the IDS must contain a legible copy of such material. See 37 CFR 1.98(a)(1)(iv).
When citing to a published application, the PTO prefers that the citation be to the patent application publication (by publication number) rather than to the application itself (by application number).
This waiver is effective immediately
Note: For those of you following PTO rule changes closely, Deputy Commissioner Stephen Kunin signed the waiver using the newly approved /s/ signature procedure.