An applicant for a U.S. patent, in the interest of economy of time and space, may incorporate certain types of documents by specific reference to such sources in his/her application. The software will generate an appropriate reference as follows: "The following documents (or indicated portions thereof) are incorporated by reference into this disclosure as if fully set forth
An application for a U.S. patent when filed may incorporate essential material by reference to (1) a U.S. patent or (2) an allowed U.S. application in which the issue fee has been paid. "Essential material" is defined as that which is necessary to (1) describe the invention, (2) provide an enabling disclosure, or (3) describe the best mode. Nonessential subject matter may be
incorporated by reference to (1) patents or applications published by the U.S., foreign, or regional patent offices, (2) prior-filed, commonly-owned U.S. applications, or (3) non-patent publications.
Hint! The neat aspect of incorporation of material by reference in a U.S. patent application (in order to save typing time) is that the worst thing that can happen is that the patent office can require that the specification be amended to include the material incorporated by reference. Cool, huh?
The position of the USPTO on this issue is described in the following section(s) of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP):
MPEP 608.01(p) - Completeness