On December 10, 2007, the President’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the USPTO's information disclosure statement (IDS) rules for patent applications. The original version was published for comment in July, 2006.
The content of the rules as they will be adopted is not known, but the most controversial provision of the rules as proposed requires an “explanation” for any reference that is longer than 25 pages (all sheets of the document are considered, including any cover page and drawing sheets) and for all of the references, if more than 20 references are submitted. The “explanation” includes (1) an identification of the portion of the reference that caused the reference to be cited, and (2) a correlation of the identified portion to specific claim language. See proposed 37 CFR 1.98(a)(3)(iv).
The USPTO is expected to publish the final rules in about 2 to 6 weeks. The effective date of the rules is likely to be one or two months after the publication date.