2201 Introduction [R-5]
Statutory basis for citation of prior art patents or printed publications in patent files and reexamination of patents became available on July 1, 1981, as a result of new sections 301-307 of title 35 United States Code which were added by Public Law 96-517 enacted on December 12, 1980. The rules of practice in patent cases relating to reexamination were initially promulgated on April 30, 1981, at 46 FR 24179-24180 and on May 29, 1981, at 46 FR 29176-29187.
On November 29, 1999, Public Law 106-113 was enacted, and expanded reexamination by providing an “inter partes” option. Public Law 106-113 authorized the extension of reexamination proceedings via an optional inter partes reexamination procedure in addition to the present ex parte reexamination. 35 U.S.C. 311 - 318 are directed to the optional inter partes reexamination procedures. The final rules to implement the optional inter partes reexamination were published in the Federal Register on December 7, 2000 at 65 FR 76756 and in the Official Gazette on January 2, 2001 at 1242 OG 12.
See MPEP Chapter 2600 for guidance on the procedures for inter partes reexamination proceedings.
The reexamination statute was amended on November 2, 2002, by Public Law 107-273, 116 Stat. 1758, 1899-1906 (2002) to expand the scope of what qualifies for a substantial new question of patentability upon which a reexamination may be based (see MPEP § 2242, POLICY IN SPECIFIC SITUATIONS, part A), and made technical corrections to the statute. See the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act, TITLE III- INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, Subtitle A - Patent and Trademark Office, Section 13105, of the “Patent and Trademark Office Authorization Act of 2002” - Enacted as part of Public Law 107-273 on November 2, 2002.
This chapter is intended to be primarily a guide for U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (Office) personnel on the processing of prior art citations and ex parte reexamination requests, as well as handling ex parte reexamination proceedings. Secondarily, it is to also serve as a guide on the formal requirements for filing such documents in the Office.
The flowcharts show the general provisions of both the citation of prior art and ex parte reexamination proceedings, including reference to the pertinent rule sections.** >