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Reexamination at the USPTO. Robert A. Clarke Deputy Director Office of Patent Legal Administration USPTO. May 24, 2010. Topics. Ex Parte Reexamination Overview Inter Partes Reexamination Overview Substantial New Question of Patentability Decision on Ex Parte Requests

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Reexamination at the USPTO

Robert A. Clarke

Deputy Director

Office of Patent Legal Administration

USPTO

May 24, 2010


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Topics

  • Ex Parte Reexamination Overview

  • Inter Partes Reexamination Overview

  • Substantial New Question of Patentability

  • Decision on Ex Parte Requests

  • Decision on Inter Partes Requests

  • Ex Parte Reexamination Actions on the Merits

  • Inter Partes Reexamination Actions on the Merits

  • Duty of Disclosure

  • Statistics


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Ex Parte Reexamination

  • Statutory Basis effective July 1, 1981.

    • Provided ability for patent owners or third parties to request that the USPTO reconsider granted patents based on pre-existing technology that previously escaped review. Reexamination may only be granted to answer a substantial new question (SNQ) based on patents and printed publications.

  • Amended in 1999 (to permit appeal only after a final rejection) and 2002 (to expand the prior art that can support reexamination).


Characteristics ex parte reexam mpep 2210 l.jpg

(1) Anyone can request reexam during enforceability period

(2) Prior art is limited to patents or printed publications

(3) A substantial new question of patentability (SNQ) must be present

(4) Decision on request must be made within 3 months from filing date (statutory deadline)

(5) If ordered, reexamination will normally conclude with reexam certificate

(6) No broadening in reexam

Characteristics Ex Parte ReexamMPEP § 2210


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General ex parte reexamination timeline

Notice of Intent to Issue a reexamination certificate is mailed

Not later than 3 months later (if request complied with filing date requirements)

Reexamination certificate is issued

Request received

Order mailed

In this time, patent owner may file comments, and if so, the requester can comment, the examiner issues a first Office action, the patent owner responds with arguments and/or amendments, and prosecution continues to final rejection and appeal, if applicable.

In this time, paralegal reviews the request for filing date compliance, mails appropriate notices. If filing date is granted, case is docketed, and examiner determines whether to grant or deny reexamination

5


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Inter Partes Reexamination

  • Statutory Basis effective November 29, 1999.

    • Provided ability for third parties to request that the USPTO reconsider granted patents based on pre-existing technology that previously escaped review. Reexamination may only be granted to answer a SNQ based on patents and printed publications.

    • Limited to patents issued from original applications filed on or after November 29, 1999.

    • Provided for right of third party to comment on any patent owner reply to an action on the merits by the USPTO

  • Amended in 2002 (to expand the prior art that can support reexamination and to permit the third party to appeal decision of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) and to participate in Patent Owner appeals to the CAFC).


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(1) Any third party can request reexam during enforceability period

(2) Prior art is limited to patents or printed publications

(3) A substantial new question of patentability (SNQ) must be present

(4) Decision on request must be made within 3 months from filing date (statutory deadline). An action on the merits may accompany order

(5) Third party has 30-day right of comment on any response by Patent owner to an action on the merits

(6) Third party has right of appeal on rejections not made if a claim considered patentable

(7) If ordered, reexamination will normally conclude with reexam certificate

(8) No broadening in reexam

Characteristics Inter Partes ReexamMPEP 2210


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General periodinter partes reexamination timeline

In this time, patent owner (and requester) may file a response & examiner decides whether the response is entered.

Notice of Right to Appeal (RAN) mailed

Not later than 3 months later (if request complied with filing date requirements)

Notice of Intent to Issue a reexamination certificate is mailed

Reexamination certificate is issued

Action Closing Prosecution (ACP) mailed

Order and usually first Office action mailed

Request received

In this time, patent owner or/and requester appeals or if no appeal, examiner issues the NIRC.

In this time, paralegal reviews the request for filing date compliance, mails appropriate notices. If filing date is granted, case is docketed, and examiner determines whether to grant or deny reexamination and usually writes first Office action

In this time, patent owner responds with arguments and/or amendments, requester files comments, and examiner issues the next Office action, which may be a ACP.

8


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Inter Partes periodReexamdiffers from Ex Parte Reexam MPEP § 2658

  • The differences in matters of procedure:

    • Third party requester can file comments for every substantive patent owner response after an action on the merits, whereas ex parte reexamination provideslimited requester participation.

    • Unique types of Office actions, e.g., ACP and RAN

    • Timing of issuance of Office actions

    • Identification of the real party in interest

    • Estoppel effect as to the third party requester in inter partes reexamination

    • When the initiation of inter partes reexamination is prohibited

      Does not differ from ex parte reexam as to substance to be considered in the proceeding.


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Substantial New Question of Patentability MPEP § 2216

  • For an SNQ to be present it is only necessary that:

    • Prior art reference(s) raise an SNQ for at least one patent claim - prior art is such that a reasonable examiner would consider the teaching to be important in deciding whether or not the claim was patentable.

      • For reexamination proceedings filed after November 2, 2002, prior art previously considered by the Office may satisfy the SNQ requirement if considered in a new light.

    • Same question of patentability as to the claim has not been decided by Office or in final holding of invalidity by the federal courts

      • Prior art rejection by Office based on same or substantially identical prior art reference of the same patent claims, which was never overcome, usually means an SNQ is present. For example, a rejection could arise from a reissue application which was abandoned after rejection of a claim and without disclaiming the patent claim

    • It is not necessary that a “prima facie” case of unpatentability exists as to the claim in order for “a substantial new question of patentability” to be present as to the claim See - In re Etter, 756 F. 2d 852, 857 n.5, 225 USPQ 1, 4 n.5 (Fed. Cir. 1985)


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Substantial New Question of Patentability § 2216MPEP § 2242

Federal court decision on issued patent

  • Final holding of validity by the courts - does not mean no new question of patentability is present - different standards of proof (“preponderance of evidence” vs “clear and convincing”)

  • Non-final holding of invalidity or unenforceability by the Courts will not be controlling on question of whether SNQ is present

  • Only final holding of invalidity or unenforceability of claim(s) specified by the courts (after all appeals) will be controlling on the Office as to those claims (no SNQ).


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In re Swanson § 2216

  • In re Swanson, 540 F.3d 1368, 1376 (Fed. Cir. 2008)

  • Consideration of a question of patentability in district court or at the CAFC does not prevent the same question of patentability from being a substantial new question of patentability before the USPTO in reexamination since different rules and standards apply.

  • Following the amendment to 35 U.S.C. § 303(a), previously considered references may be applied in a new light to form a substantial new question of patentability. This might include (as in the facts of Swanson) where the reexamination considers the previously-considered reference for a different teaching or purpose than in the initial examination.


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Decision Ordering § 2216Ex Parte Reexam MPEP § 2246

  • 37 CFR § 1.525 - Order

    • If SNQ exists the determination will include an order for ex parte reexamination of the patent

    • The notice in the Official Gazette will be considered to be constructive notice and reexamination will proceed

    • The examiner must identify at least one SNQ and explain how the prior art raises such a question with respect to at least one claim

    • The claims are not to be rejected, but all issues identified in the request should be addressed


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Identification of issues in the Order MPEP § 2246 § 2216

  • As to each SNQ identified, the decision should point out

    • The prior art which adds some new teaching as to at least one claim

    • What the new teaching is

    • Claims that the new teaching is directed to

    • That the new teaching was not previously considered nor addressed in prior examination


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Identification of issues in the Order MPEP § 2246 § 2216

  • That the new teaching not considered in final holding of invalidity by federal courts

  • That the new teaching is such that a reasonable examiner would consider it important in deciding to allow the claim being considered

  • Where question is raised re: date of prior art vs patented claim, why the prior art is deemed to be available against patent claims (when appropriate)


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Denying a Request for Reexamination § 2216MPEP § 2247

  • If no new question of patentability is raised by the request, reexamination is denied

  • Indicate for each prior art reference why the citation is:

    • Cumulative to the teachings of the art cited in earlier concluded examination of the patent;

    • Not available against the claims; or

    • Not important to reasonable examiner in determination of patentability


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Denying the Request MPEP § 2247 § 2216

  • The requester has one month after the determination denying the request for reexam to file a petition under 37 CFR §§ 1.515(c) and 1.181 for review of the determination

  • A petition decision affirming the denial of the request is final and non-appealable

  • If no petition is filed, the reexamination is processed as “terminated”


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Patent Owner’s Statement § 221637 CFR § 1.530, MPEP § 2249

  • Except as provided for in 37 CFR § 1.510(e), no premature statement or response will be acknowledged or considered in the determination of the request

  • If ex parte reexamination is ordered, the decision will set a period of two months in which patent owner may file a statement or amendment of claims (optional).


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Third Party Requester’s Reply § 2216MPEP § 2251

  • A requester may reply to patent owner’s statement (if one is filed) within two months of owner’s service date

  • The reply is not limited to issues raised in patent owner’s statement

  • If no owner’s statement is filed, no requester’s reply is permitted

  • After reply period, no further requester-filed papers are permitted; any further papers will not be considered or entered in the reexam file


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Decision Ordering § 2216Inter Partes Reexamination MPEP § 2646

  • As to each substantial new question of patentability identified in the decision, the decision should point out:

    • (A) The prior art patents and printed publications which add some new teaching as to at least one claim;

    • (B) What that new teaching is;

    • (C) The claims that the new teaching is directed to;

    • (D) That the new teaching was not previously considered nor addressed in the prior examination of the patent or a final holding of invalidity by the Federal Courts;


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Decision Ordering § 2216Inter Partes Reexamination MPEP § 2646

  • (E) That the new teaching is such that a reasonable examiner would consider the new teaching to be important in deciding to allow the claim being considered; and

  • (F) Where the question is raised, or where it is not clear that a patent or printed publication pre-dates the patent claims, a discussion should be provided as to why the patent or printed publication is deemed to be available against the patent claims.

    Note: If arguments are raised by the third party requester as to grounds not based on patents or printed publications, such as those based on public use or on sale under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b), or abandonment under 35 U.S.C. § 102(c), the examiner should note that such grounds are improper for reexamination and are not considered or commented upon. See 37 CFR § 1.906(c).


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Decision Denying § 2216Inter Partes Reexamination MPEP § 2647

  • The decision denying the request will then indicate, for each patent or publication cited in the request, why the citation:

    • Is cumulative to the teachings of the art cited in the earlier concluded examination of the patent;

    • Is not available against the claims (e.g., the reference is not available as prior art because of its date or the reference is not a publication);

    • Would not be important to a reasonable examiner. Even if the citation is available against the claims and it is not cumulative, it still cannot be the basis for a substantial new question of patentability if the additional teaching of the citation would not be important to a reasonable examiner in deciding whether any claim (of the patent for which reexamination is requested) is patentable; or

    • Is one which was cited in the record of the patent and is barred by the guidelines set forth in MPEP § 2642, subsection II.A.


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Ex parte § 2216 Reexamination Form & Content of Office Action MPEP § 2262

  • The examiner’s FAOM should be so complete that the second Office action can properly be a final action. See MPEP § 2271 Final Action.

  • If one or more claims are considered to be allowable, the examiner should indicate why the claims(s) are clearly patentable in a manner similar to that used to indicate reasons for allowance. See MPEP § 1302.14.

  • The FAOM should respond to the substance of each argument raised by the patent owner and requester.

    • If arguments are presented which are inappropriate in reexamination, they should be treated in accordance with 37 CFR § 1.552(c).


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Ex parte § 2216 Reexamination Scope of Reexamination 35 USC 112 Issues MPEP § 2258, 37 CFR § 1.552

  • The reexamination proceeding provides a complete reexamination of the patent claims on the basis of prior art patents and printed publications.

  • 35 U.S.C. § 112 issues are not raised with regard to original (unamended) patent claims.

    • New claims as well as amended patent claims may be considered for § 112 first and second paragraph issues.

  • Claims may not be broader than those of the original patent. See 35 U.S.C. § 305.


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Ex parte § 2216 ReexaminationTime for Response MPEP § 2263

  • A shortened statutory period of two (2) months will be set for response to Office actions.

    • Exception: where the reexamination (1) results from a court order or (2) litigation is stayed (suspended) for the purpose of reexamination, the shortened statutory period will be set at one (1) month.

    • See MPEP § 2263 for additional exceptions.


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Ex parte § 2216 Reexamination Extension of time MPEP § 2265, 37 CFR § 1.550(c)

  • A request for an extension of time must be filed on or before the day on which action by the patent owner is due.

  • A request for an extension of time must be for a reasonable amount of time and show sufficient cause for the extension. See 37 CFR § 1.550(c).

    • The provisions of 37 CFR § 1.136(a) are NOT applicable to reexamination proceedings.

  • There is a $200 fee for review of a request for an extension of time. 37 CFR § 1.17(g).


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Inappropriate Papers - which should § 2216not be placed in the reexamination file MPEP § 2267

  • The active participation of a third party requester ends with the third party requester reply, pursuant to 37 CFR § 1.535. Any further submission on behalf of or by the third party requester will not be placed in the reexam file. 37 CFR § 1.550(g).


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Ex parte § 2216 Reexamination Interviews MPEP § 2281, 37 CFR § 1.560

  • Only ex parte interviews between the examiner and patent owner and/or the patent owner’s representative are permitted.

    • Requests by third party requesters to participate in interviews or to attend interviews will not be granted.

  • Interviews initiated by the patent owner for the discussion of the patentability of the claims will not be conducted prior to the first official action.


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Ex parte § 2216 Reexamination Final Action MPEP § 2271

  • It is intended that the second Office action in the reexam proceeding, which follows the decision ordering the reexam, will be a final Office action in accordance with the guidelines set forth in MPEP § 706.07(a).

  • The examiner and the patent owner should identify and develop all issues prior to the final Office action.

  • Normally a shortened statutory period of two* months is given for response to a final Office action. See MPEP § 2272.

    *Unless it is in litigation


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Ex parte § 2216 Reexamination Patentability Review Conference MPEP § 2271

  • A “patentability review conference” will be convened at two stages of the examination in an ex parte reexamination proceeding:

    • A patentability review conference must be convened just prior to issuing a final rejection; and

    • A patentability review conference must be convened just prior to issuing a Notice of Intent to Issue Reexamination Certificate (NIRC)

  • A patentability conference must consist of three members. Conferees will initial the action.


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Ex parte § 2216 Reexamination After Final Practice MPEP § 2272

  • Consideration of amendments after final follow the standards of 37 CFR § 1.116.

  • An amendment after final should be given consideration if:

    • The total effect of the amendment is to cancel claims or comply with any requirement of form expressly set forth in a previous Office action, or present rejected claims in better form for consideration on appeal;

    • For an amendment touching the merits of the patent under reexamination, the patent owner provides a showing of good and sufficient reasons why the amendment is necessary and was not earlier presented.


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Ex parte § 2216 Reexamination Advisory Action MPEP § 2272

  • A timely first response to a final rejection will automatically result in a one month extension of the shortened statutory period (if a notice of appeal has not yet been filed).

  • If the advisory action is delayed, the time period should be extended, e.g., by an additional month, to provide the patent owner with sufficient time to respond. The response period may not be extended to run beyond the six-month statutory period.


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First Office Action § 2216MPEP § 2660

  • 37 CFR § 1.935. Initial Office action usually accompanies order for inter partes reexamination.

    • The order for inter partes reexamination will usually be accompanied by the initial Office action on the merits of the reexamination.

  • 37 CFR § 1.104. Nature of examination.

    (a) Examiner ’s action.

    (1) On taking up a patent in a reexamination proceeding, the examiner shall make a thorough study thereof and shall make a thorough investigation of the available prior art relating to the subject matter of the claimed invention. The examination shall be complete with respect both to compliance of the application or patent under reexamination with the applicable statutes and rules and to the patentability of the invention as claimed, as well as with respect to matters of form, unless otherwise indicated.


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Types of First Office Action § 2216MPEP § 2660

  • If all claims are found patentable in first action, examiner will issue an Action Closing Prosecution (ACP).

  • Where one or more claims are rejected in the first Office action on the merits, a non-final action is mailed. This is same as in ex parte reexamination, except that inter partes reexamination forms and form paragraphs are used.

  • Patent owner and requester will each be sent a copy.


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Content of First Office Action MPEP § 2660 § 2216

  • Comprehensive!!Accordingly, it is intended that the first Office action be the primary action to establish the issues which exist, such that the patent owner response and any third party comments can place the proceeding in condition for the issuance of an ACP in the second Office action

  • Comprehensive reasons for patentability must be given

    for each determination favorable to patentability of claims. See MPEP § 1302.14

  • Must address each issue raised by requester as “adopted” or “not adopted,” and must respond to substance of each argument of requester.


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Content of First Office Action MPEP § 2660 § 2216

  • State why rejection proposed by requester is not appropriate if not adopting it.

  • Clearly indicate reasons why the rejection proposed by the third party requester is not appropriate (i.e.,why the claim cannot be rejected under the ground proposed by the third party requester) for each rejection proposed by the third party requester that the examiner refuses to adopt.

  • Clearly set forth each ground of rejection and/or ground of objection, and the reasons supporting the ground(s).

  • Clearly set forth each determination favorable to the patentability of claims, i.e., each rejection proposed by the third party requester that the examiner refuses to adopt.


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Content of First Office Action MPEP § 2660 § 2216

  • Also address any issues independent of the request, e.g., examiner’s rejections based on prior art (titled “Additional Rejections”)

  • Ordinarily no amendment to address in first Office action – thus no 35 U.S.C. § 112

  • “Special dispatch” – issue ACP at the earliest possible time

  • Caution patent owner for complete response

  • Caution patent owner on requirements of 37 CFR § 1.116(b) (use form paragraphs 26.05 and 26.73 at end of action).


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Patent Owner Response to Office Action § 2216MPEP § 2666

  • Reply to a non-final Office action 37 CFR § 1.111

    (a) (1) if Office action is adverse in any respect, patent owner must reply and request reconsideration or further examination with or without an amendment

    (2) a supplemental response will not be entered as a matter of right, except as provided in 37 CFR § 1.111(a)(2)(ii) (during a suspension period)


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Patent Owner Response to Office Action § 2216MPEP § 2666

  • The Office may enter a supplemental response if the supplemental response is clearly limited to:

    • Cancellation of a claim(s)

    • Adoption of the examiner suggestion(s)

    • Placement of the application in condition for allowance

    • Reply to an Office requirement made after the first reply was filed

    • Correction of informalities (e.g., typographical errors); or

    • Simplification of issues for appeal

  • If patent owner wishes to have an unentered supplemental response considered by the examiner, the patent owner must include its contents in a proper response to a subsequent Office action


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Patent Owner Response to Office Action § 2216MPEP § 2666

  • I. Substance of the Response

    • Request for reconsideration of position must be in writing and distinctly and specifically point out each supposed error in examiner’s action (general allegations inadequate)

    • Patent owner will normally be given two months to respond

    • Amendments must be in compliance with 37 CFR §§ 1.530(d)-(k) and 1.943. See 37 CFR § 1.941.


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Amendment by Patent Owner § 221637 CFR § 1.530, MPEP § 2666.01 – Tracking rule by paragraph

(d) Making amendments

(1) Specification (not claims)

  • Changes must be made by submission of entire text of added or rewritten paragraph including markings pursuant to 37 CFR § 1.530(f)

    (2) Claims

  • Entire text of each patent claim must be included

  • Parenthetical expression (“amended,” “new”) should follow claim numbers

  • Claims must include markings pursuant to 37 CFR § 1.530(f)


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Amendment by Patent Owner § 221637 CFR § 1.530, MPEP § 2666.01 – Tracking rule by paragraph

(3) Drawings

  • Changes must be submitted as a sketch on separate paper showing proposed changes. Figures must be identified as amended, new, etc.

    (4) formal requirements other than those set out in 37 CFR § 1.530 are set forth in 37 CFR § 1.52

    (e) Status of claims and support for claim changes

    • Amendments made pursuant to 37 CFR § 1.530(d) must include (on separate pages from the pages containing changes):

  • status of claims (i.e., pending or canceled), and

  • an explanation of support in original disclosure for changes made to the claims


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Amendment by Patent Owner § 221637 CFR § 1.530, MPEP § 2666.01 – Tracking rule by paragraph

(f) Changes shown by markings:

• Matter omitted must be enclosed in brackets

• Matter added must be underlined

(g) Numbering of claims

• Patent claims may not be renumbered

• Newly added claims must follow highest numbered patent claim

(h) Amendment of disclosure may be required

• To correct inaccuracies of description and definition


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Amendment by Patent Owner § 221637 CFR § 1.530, MPEP § 2666.01 – Tracking rule by paragraph

(i) Amendments made relative to patent

(j) NO broadening of claim

• No enlargement of scope broader than broadest patent claim. See In re Freeman 30 F. 3d 1459, 1464, 31 USPQ2d 1444, 1447 (Fed Cir 1994)

• No new matter introduced

• No amendment other than cancellation will be incorporated into the patent by a certificate Issued after expiration of the patent

(k) Amendments are not effective until reexamination certificate issues


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Third Party Comments After Owner Response § 2216MPEP § 2666.05

  • 37 CFR § 1.947 Timeliness

    • Each time patent owner files a response to an Office action on the merits, a third party requester may once file written comments within 30 days from the date of service of the patent owner response (if late, will not be considered)

    • Time for submitting comments by third party requester may not be extended

    • Written comments by third party will be considered as received in the Office as of date of deposit specified in certificate (mailing or transmission) under 37 CFR § 1.8


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Third Party Comments After Owner Response § 2216MPEP § 2666.05

  • 37 CFR § 1.948 Limitations on submission by requester following order

    • (a) May only cite additional prior art (new prior art) under 37 CFR § 1.501, if it is filed as part of a comments submission under 37 CFR § 1.947 or § 1.951(b) and is limited to prior art:

      • which is necessary to rebut a finding of fact by the examiner

      • which is necessary to rebut a response of the patent owner

      • which for the first time became known or available to the third party requester after request filing date


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Third Party Comments After Owner Response § 2216MPEP § 2666.05

  • Comments by third party requester must be directed to points and issues covered by Office action and/or owner’s response:

    • (A) Set forth point or issue

    • (B) State the page of the Office action and/or the patent owner response where the point or issue is recited

    • (C) Present third party requester’s discussion and argument as to the point or issue

      • If the above is not done, the comments should not be held defective if the examiner can ascertain all comments are directed to issues and points in Office action and/or owner’s response


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Examiner Withdraws a Ground of Rejection § 2216MPEP § 2666.05

  • If examiner withdraws a ground of rejection originally initiated by the examiner at any time in prosecution:

    • Third party requester’s next set of comments after the patent owner’s response may propose the withdrawn rejection as a “rejection proposed by the third party requester”


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Examiner Withdraws a Ground of Rejection § 2216MPEP § 2666.05

  • If patent owner fails to respond to all actions leading to the Right of Appeal Notice (RAN), including Action Closing Prosecution(ACP), and a RAN is mailed:

    • Third party requester may appeal this withdrawal of rejection as a final decision favorable to patentability (37 CFR § 41.61(a)(2))


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Examiner Withdraws a Ground of Rejection § 2216MPEP § 2666.05

  • Where the claims have not been amended, and the examiner withdraws a ground of rejection previously proposed by third party requester:

    • The examiner should treat the issue as a rejection proposed by the third party requester that the examiner refuses to adopt, i.e., proposed grounds of rejection not adopted


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Examiner Withdraws a Ground of Rejection § 2216MPEP § 2666.05

  • Where the claims have been amended, and the examiner withdraws a ground of rejection previously proposed by third party requester:

    • The examiner should treat the issue as a decision favorable to patentability with respect to the withdrawn rejection

    • Third party requester’s next set of comments after the patent owner’s response may propose the withdrawn rejection as a “rejection proposed by the third party requester” as to the amended claims


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Examiner Withdraws a Ground of Rejection § 2216MPEP § 2666.05

  • If a claim is amended merely to include a dependent claim that was previously subjected to a proposed third party requester rejection, and the examiner withdraws that ground of rejection as to the newly amended claim:

    • The examiner should treat the issue as a rejection proposed by the third party requester that the examiner refuses to adopt, i.e., proposed grounds of rejection not adopted


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No Response to Office Action Prior to Action Closing Prosecution (ACP) MPEP § 2666.10

  • If patent owner fails to file a timely response to any Office action prior to an ACP, it will result in:

    • Where no claims are found patentable, a NIRC will be issued terminating prosecution and indicating the status of the claims as canceled (MPEP § 2687)

    • Where at least one claim is found patentable, all future prosecution will be limited to claim(s) found patentable at that time (no broadening)

    • The examiner will proceed to issue an ACP indicating:

      • (1) Any claims under rejection or objection are withdrawn and will be canceled upon publication of the certificate; and

      • (2) Prosecution will be limited to claims found patentable at the time of the failure to respond and to claims which do not expand the scope of the claim(s) found patentable at that time


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No Response to Action Closing Prosecution (ACP) Prosecution (ACP) MPEP § 2666.10MPEP § 2666.10

  • A response to an ACP is not required

    • If no response to ACP is filed by patent owner:

      • No third party requester comments are permitted, and

      • A Right of Appeal Notice (RAN) is prepared

  • Right of Appeal Notice and Appeal

    • Where patent owner fails to make a timely appeal after the RAN or where a timely patent owner’s appeal is subsequently dismissed, the following applies:

      • If no claim is patentable, then a NIRC is immediately issued (MPEP § 2687)

      • If at least one claim is patentable and third party requester does not appeal, or fails to continue its appeal, the prosecution is terminated under 37 CFR § 1.975(b), and a NIRC will be issued


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No Response to Right of Appeal Notice (RAN) Prosecution (ACP) MPEP § 2666.10and Appeal MPEP § 2666.10

  • Right of Appeal Notice and Appeal

    • Where patent owner fails to make a timely appeal after the RAN or where a timely patent owner’s appeal is subsequently dismissed, the following applies:

      • If no claim is patentable, then a NIRC is immediately issued (MPEP § 2687)

      • If at least one claim is patentable and third party requester does not appeal, or fails to continue its appeal, the prosecution is terminated under 37 CFR § 1.975(b), and a NIRC will be issued

    • Where at least one claim is patentable and the third party appellant continues its appeal, the claims in the proceeding will be limited to the claims(s) found patentable at the time that the patent owner fails to take timely action

      • All other claims will be withdrawn from consideration pending cancellation of same when the NIRC is issued

      • Any future prosecution is limited to the claims that do not expand the scope of the claim(s) found patentable at that time


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Reexamination Duty of Disclosure Prosecution (ACP) MPEP § 2666.10

  • 37 CFR § 1.555(b) Under this section, information is material to patentability in a reexamination proceeding when it is not cumulative to information of record or being made of record in the reexamination proceeding, and

    • (1) It is a patent or printed publication that establishes, by itself or in combination with other patents or printed publications, a prima facie case of unpatentability of a claim; or

    • (2) It refutes, or is inconsistent with, a position the patent owner takes in:

      • (i) Opposing an argument of unpatentability relied on by the Office, or

      • (ii) Asserting an argument of patentability.


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Reexamination Duty of Disclosure Prosecution (ACP) MPEP § 2666.10

  • Confidential material: may be submitted under seal per MPEP § 724.02

    • The material will be made publicly available if determined to be material by the Office. See MPEP § 724.05

  • For impact of submission of material covered by a protective order and suggestions of how to avoid potential conflicts see: Memorandum Order, March 31, 2009, in TeleCommunication Systems, Inc. v. Mobile 365, Inc., C.A. No. 3:06CV485

    • 95/000353.


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Reexamination Filings Prosecution (ACP) MPEP § 2666.10


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Source: Prosecution (ACP) MPEP § 2666.10

Reexamination

Operational

Statistics

Ex parte processing


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Inter partes Prosecution (ACP) MPEP § 2666.10 processing

Source:

Reexamination

Operational

Statistics


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Pending Proceedings Prosecution (ACP) MPEP § 2666.10


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Production Statistics Prosecution (ACP) MPEP § 2666.10


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Pendency Statistics Prosecution (ACP) MPEP § 2666.10


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Statistical reports Prosecution (ACP) MPEP § 2666.10

  • Ex parte and inter partes historical statistics and reexamination operational statistics are available on the USPTO web site, www.uspto.gov.

  • Specific web page address: http://www.uspto.gov/patents/stats/Reexamination_Information.jsp


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Thank You Prosecution (ACP) MPEP § 2666.10

Robert Clarke

Deputy Director

Office of Patent Legal Administration


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