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Archive for August 23rd, 2011

USPTO Changes Patent Reissue Practice

Posted On: Aug. 23, 2011   By: Scott A. McKeown
Topics: Error, Reissue
in re tanakaUSPTO Updates Patent Reissue Practice to be Consistent with In re Tanaka

The USPTO has now issued a Notice entitled “Clarification of Criteria for Reissue Error in View of In re Tanaka.”

As a reminder, Ex parte Tanaka was decided in December of 2009 by the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI). In their decision, the Board explained that a reissue application was improper where the only defect identified in an issued patent was the failure to present additional dependent claims.  The Board reasoned that the mere addition of new dependent claims did not identify any defect in the issued patent. The Board rejected the reasoning of In re Handel, which indicated that a failure to pursue dependent claims was an appropriate error in patent reissue. The Board characterized this reasoning as “dicta.”

The Board’s decision was reversed by the CAFC (In re Tanaka here). In their reversal, the CAFC explained that contrary to the Board’s position, the In re Handel dicta is consistent with the patent reissue statute, and the court has not departed from this line of reasoning over the years.

In order to account for the decision of the CAFC, the USPTO Notice provides: Read the rest of this entry »