The USPTO is proposing changes to the rules of practice relating to ex parte and inter partes reexamination. The USPTO is proposing to provide for a patent owner reply to a request for reexamination prior to the Examiner’s decision on the request. Currently, most requests are allowed and the new procedures may help cut down the number of reexams by giving the patent holder a chance to argue that no new substantial question of patentability exists.

The Office is also proposing to prohibit supplemental patent owner responses to an Office Action in an inter partes reexamination without a showing of sufficient cause.

No public hearings will be held. Comments on the proposed change are due by May 30, 2006 and can be sent to the USPTO at: AB77.comments@uspto.gov or fax to: 571.273.7710.

See the Proposed Revisions here.

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