In an IDS for a software/computer-implemented method application, how should existing software products be documented, if at all, when the software products in question have a subset of functions of the application? It appears the IDS form is set up for citation of literature, not names and descriptions of existing products. Some may have journal articles about them, but many have only short reviews or announcements that don't cover enough detail for making a comparison.

The original intention was to describe some existing software that, upon cursory look, may appear to duplicate the functions of the disclosed invention – but with detailed explanation, can be shown not to be in conflict. (Since there are no claims, it can't be compared on the same basis as existing patents.) But it seems the IDS is not for this kind of information. True, or not?

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    Because nobody has created the tag. I did it for you now ;)
    – user18033
    Jun 29, 2017 at 6:54
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    An IDS merely lists information that you know about. The purpose of the IDS is to bring this information to the attention of the examiner so he has a chance to consider it when examining the application. You could cite a software product as non-patent literature: "XYZ program" sold by ABC computer company, New York, NY. An IDS is not a perfect solution, but it will do. You can always call the examiner later to discuss why the software is included in the IDS. It's to your advantage to do so. You want the examiner to have as much information as possible and still allow your application.
    – Riccati
    Jun 29, 2017 at 20:57
  • What do you think of using an IDS cover letter to explain some points of comparison? (Only a littler earlier today did I read that there could be such a thing as an IDS cover letter, and saw an example. But maybe that is older, pre-EFS-Web info. I don't see a current specific document for that.)
    – Charles
    Jun 30, 2017 at 2:17


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