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Only 50% of Broadening Patent Reissue Applications Exit the USPTO Within 5 Years

Posted On: Oct. 21, 2010   By: Scott A. McKeown
Recapture and Formality Issues Bog Down Important Cases


As shown in the charts above (click to enlarge images), we analyzed the 745 broadening patent reissues filed since 2005. A surprising 200 applications of the 745 were ultimately abandoned. While many of these applications may have been seeking to secure a claim scope that was precluded by prior art, it may also be that a significant number fell victim to the frustrations of reissue practice. The lowermost chart above factors out abandonments as a true conclusion, demonstrating that only 20% of broadened reissues are concluded within 3 years of filing. When compared to the special dispatch accorded to patent reexamination, these important applications clearly fare a great deal worse.

The data for narrowing reissues shows slightly better  timeliness, perhaps due to the absence of recapture doctrine concerns. Data for narrowing reissues will be posted in the coming days.

I understand the PTO is considering creating a special unit for patent reissues, much like was done for patent reexamination. My guess is more reissue would be filed should these applications be treated with the importance they deserve.

If anything, the pendency problems plaguing patent reissue demonstrate the value of maintaining pending continuation applications.

2 Responses to “Only 50% of Broadening Patent Reissue Applications Exit the USPTO Within 5 Years”

  1. Indeed says:

    Thank you for posting this, but the fact that broadening reissues are disfavored (and that strongly) by the USPTO is well known to those of us who have prosecuted more than a couple. One need only exerience a couple of times the endless arguments over, not prior art, but the propriety and precise phrasing of the error statement and other portions of the declaration, and the jaw dropping, and head-spinning reversals of position between examiners and the all powerful SPREs.

    And. I greet the news that the PTO is planning to replicate the CRU with more trepidation than enthusiasm. Recent trends have made clear that the CRU is more interested in speed and finality (read “special dispatch”) than accuracy, or fairness.

  2. Reissue practice can be hit or miss, depending upon the art unit and experience of the examiner assigned to the case, this is why a special unit probably makes sense.

    Overall, I am pleased with the treatment my cases get at the CRU, there will always be an exception or two, but the treatment of these cases by a special unit has provided a drastic improvement in quality and timeliness compared to pre-CRU practices.