Yesterday, the USPTO issued an internal memo to the Examining Corps informing them that the Central Reexamination Unit (CRU) would be taking responsibility for patent reissue applications going forward. (Memo here) This move was first considered some years back under Director Kappos to remedy the excessive pendencies of patent reissue proceedings. However, that effort was shelved as a result of political headwinds (primarily examiner union complications).
Since that time, the workload of the CRU has lessened thanks to the elimination of inter partes patent reexamination, and to a lesser extent, the lack of interest in supplemental examination. Yet, patent reissue has remained a pendency quagmire due to examiners unfamiliarity and lack of consistent exposure to some of the quirky issues common in reissues (recapture, oaths, correctable defects, etc).
Moving these unique, but important post grant proceedings to a dedicated unit of examination specialists is LONG overdue — and welcome news for patentees.