USPTO Proposes Overhaul To Patent Reexamination Proceedings

On Monday, April 25, 2011, the USPTO published a proposal in the Federal Register enumerating proposed changes being considered by the agency to streamline the proceedings governing ex parte and inter partes reexamination proceedings.  Scott McKeown, Partner at Oblon Spivak and Practice Center Contributor, sent in this article discussing the proposals.

June Meeting to Consider Proposed Changes

As discussed previously, the USPTO has been hard at work formulating proposed changes to patent reexamination that would reduce pendency and streamline these important office proceedings as a transitional step toward implementing the legislative changes of the America Invents Act. Tomorrow, the USPTO will publish a collection of working concepts and initiatives in the Federal Register. Based upon public commentary, the USPTO will later implement the various proposals via a formal rule-making process, or through internal policy changes. (an advance copy of the proposal is found here)

The proposals are directed to both ex parte and inter partes patent reexamination. Some of the more interesting proposals include an examiner identifying a representative SNQ from a group of cumulative SNQs, and a requirement that requesters explain how submitted SNQs are different with respect to each other. (See my January 2010 proposal of these very solutions here). (more…)

Should the PTO’S Reexamination Analysis Impact ITC Cases?

Until now, the  CAFC has not answered the question of the level of consideration a court or the ITC should give to an earlier reexamination and the effect those reexamination findings should have in the present proceeding or investigation.  Scott Daniels, Partner at Westerman Hattori Daniels & Adrian and Practice Center Contributor, passed along this article discussing an investigation pending at the ITC wherein the Commission has raised this question.  Daniels weighs in on whether the CAFC will take this opportunity to answer this looming question.

In January U.S. International Trade Commission Administrative Law Judge Paul Luckern issued his initial determination (ID) finding that Kodak’s U.S. Patent No. 6,292,218 was obvious over the prior art and not infringed by Apple and RIM mobile telephones with digital cameras – these findings were contrary to an ID (by ITC ALJ Carl Charneski) in an earlier investigation that Kodak’s ‘218 patent was valid and infringed by mobile telephones from Samsung and LG.  This past Friday, the Commission announced that it would review Judge Luckern’s determination in favor of Apple and RIM.  As is customary, the Commission’s review focuses on specific aspects of Judge Luckern’s ID, asking the parties to address five specific legal issues – among them, the extent to which the ITC should consider reexamination proceedings (90/010,899) in its analysis of claim construction and validity issues. (more…)

Inter Partes Reexamination Mechanics And Results

Our friends at Birch, Stewart, Kolasch and Birch sent in this article discussing inter partes reexamination, a fairly new proceeding in the PTO.  This post is a comprehensive guide to practice before the PTO in inter partes reexamination.  The article covers topics such as what patents qualify for inter  partes reexamination, who can request the proceeding and how to demonstrate a substantial new questions of patentability.  Here is an excerpt and link to the full article.

 The Creation of the Inter Partes Reexamination Procedure and Goals Thereof   

Reexamination is a procedure established by statute which permits the USPTO to reconsider the patentability of the claims in the issued patent in view of prior art which was not considered in the original prosecution of the application. [1 ]The reexamination statute was amended on November 29, 1999 by Public Law 106-113.  Public Law 106-113 authorized the extension of reexamination proceedings via an optional inter partesreexaminaiton procedure in addition to the existing ex parte reexamination procedure.  The final rules to implement the statutory inter partes reexamination option was published in the Federal Register on December 7, 2000 [2] and in the Official Gazette on January 2, 2001. [3]  (more…)