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Archived updates for Friday, February 04, 2005

Petitions After Final Needed in USPTO Reexams Until RCR is Implemented

In response to concerns about lengthy ex parte reexamination pendency resulting from multiple reexamination request filings, the USPTO revised MPEP § 2240 in May 2004 to require that the substantial new question of patentability ("SNQ") for a second or subsequent request for reexamination must be new and different than any SNQ that was raised, or existed, during any prior pending or concluded reexamination proceeding for the patent. As a consequence of those changes, a patent owner will now be prevented from obtaining entry of an amendment and/or evidence not entered after final rejection in an ex parte reexamination proceeding by simply filing another request for reexamination.

In order to provide relief to the patent owner, the Office plans to propose a revision to the patent rules to provide for the filing of a request for continued reexamination ("RCR") which would be similar to the request for continued examination (RCE) practice for applications. If the RCR practice is implemented, the patent owner, by filing an RCR, could obtain continued prosecution on the merits in the reexamination.

Until these new rules become effective, however, patent owners have been advised by the Office to use either: (1) the petition procedure under 37 CFR § 1.181 to seek review of a denial of entry of an amendment submitted after final rejection in an ex parte reexamination proceeding or after an action closing prosecution in an inter partes reexamination proceeding; or (2) the petition procedure under 37 CFR § 1.182 to seek relief that is not currently provided by an existing rule, but that would be provided when a new request for continued reexamination (RCR) practice is in effect.

Click here for more information from the USPTO.

Click here for what you'll look like if you don't follow this guidance.
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