Citing the relevant section of the MPEP:
B. Between Copending Applications—Provisional Rejections
An examiner may become aware of two or more copending applications that were filed by the same inventive entity, a different inventive entities having a common inventor, a common applicant, and/or a common owner/assignee, or that claim an invention resulting from activities undertaken within the scope of a joint research agreement as defined in 35 U.S.C. 102(c) or pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. 103(c)(2) and (3), that would raise an issue of double patenting if one of the applications became a patent. Where this issue can be addressed without violating the confidential status of applications (35 U.S.C. 122), the courts have sanctioned the practice of making applicant aware of the potential double patenting problem if one of the applications became a patent by permitting the examiner to make a “provisional” rejection on the ground of double patenting. In re Mott, 539 F.2d 1291, 190 USPQ 536 (CCPA 1976); In re Wetterau, 356 F.2d 556, 148 USPQ 499 (CCPA 1966). The merits of such a provisional rejection can be addressed by both the applicant and the examiner without waiting for the first patent to issue.
A provisional double patenting rejection should continue to be made by the examiner until the rejection has been obviated or is no longer applicable except as noted below.
- Provisional Nonstatutory Double Patenting Rejections
A complete response to a nonstatutory double patenting (NDP) rejection is either a reply by applicant showing that the claims subject to the rejection are patentably distinct from the reference claims or the filing of a terminal disclaimer in accordance with 37 CFR 1.321 in the pending application(s) with a reply to the Office action (see MPEP § 1490 for a discussion of terminal disclaimers). Such a response is required even when the nonstatutory double patenting rejection is provisional.
As filing a terminal disclaimer, or filing a showing that the claims subject to the rejection are patentably distinct from the reference application’s claims, is necessary for further consideration of the rejection of the claims, such a filing should not be held in abeyance. Only objections or requirements as to form not necessary for further consideration of the claims may be held in abeyance until allowable subject matter is indicated. Therefore, an application must not be allowed unless the required compliant terminal disclaimer(s) is/are filed and/or the withdrawal of the nonstatutory double patenting rejection(s) is made of record by the examiner. See MPEP § 804.02, subsection VI, for filing terminal disclaimers required to overcome nonstatutory double patenting rejections in applications filed on or after June 8, 1995.
If two (or more) pending applications are filed, in each of which a rejection of one claimed invention over the other on the ground of provisional nonstatutory double patenting (NDP) is proper, the provisional NDP rejection will be made in each application. Where there are three applications containing claims that conflict such that a provisional NDP rejection is made in each application based upon the other two, and it is necessary to file terminal disclaimers to overcome the rejections, it is not sufficient to file a terminal disclaimer in only one of the applications addressing the other two applications. Rather, an appropriate terminal disclaimer must be filed in at least two of the applications to require common ownership or enforcement for all three applications. A terminal disclaimer may be required in each of the three applications in certain situations (e.g., when all three applications have the same effective U.S. filing date). See subsections (a) and (b) below.
And under 804.02
The filing of a terminal disclaimer to obviate a rejection based on nonstatutory double patenting is not an admission of the propriety of the rejection. Quad Environmental Technologies Corp. v. Union Sanitary District, 946 F.2d 870, 20 USPQ2d 1392 (Fed. Cir. 1991). In Quad Environmental Technologies, the court indicated that the “filing of a terminal disclaimer simply serves the statutory function of removing the rejection of double patenting, and raises neither a presumption nor estoppel on the merits of the rejection.”
(emphasis added both times)
It seems that the rejection has to be adressed. A terminal disclaimer can be filed without it beeing an admission.
The terminal disclaimer can then be withdrawn later acording to 804.02 MPEP (last paragraph)
If a terminal disclaimer is filed in an application in which the claims are then canceled or otherwise shown to be patentably distinct from the reference claims, the terminal disclaimer may be withdrawn before issuance of the patent by filing a petition under 37 CFR 1.182 requesting withdrawal of the recorded terminal disclaimer. A terminal disclaimer may not be withdrawn after issuance of the patent. See MPEP § 1490, subsection VII., for a complete discussion of withdrawal of a terminal disclaimer.