Recapture, Orita Doctrine & Same Invention Limit Scope
As provided by 35 U.S.C. § 251, Patent Reissue is a mechanism by which a Patent Owner may correct an error in an issued patent. A proper reissue application is directed to an error that renders an issued patent wholly, or partly, inoperative. Such an error could be the mere absence of narrower dependent claims. In re Tanaka (CAFC 2011)
Although patent reissue allows for the correction of mistakes in claim scope, the proceeding is not a “do-over” of the original prosecution — not even when broadening. For example, claim scope previously surrendered may not be “recaptured” via a broadening patent reissue. This same public reliance policy reasoning is utilized in other obscure aspects of patent reissue practice. For example, the Orita doctrine, prevents Patent Owners from obtaining by reissue, restricted claims that were never pursued.
This week, the Federal Circuit revisited a further limit on broadening patent reissues it last addressed in 2014.