2260 Office Actions [R-11.2013]
As is true in the examination of applications, 37 CFR 1.104 (Nature of examination) applies to the examination of reexamination proceedings. It is intended that the examiner’s first ex parte action on the merits be the primary action to establish the issues which exist between the examiner and the patent owner insofar as the patent is concerned. At the time the first action is issued, the patent owner has already been permitted to file a statement and an amendment pursuant to 37 CFR 1.530; and the reexamination requester, if the requester is not the patent owner, has been permitted to reply thereto pursuant to 37 CFR 1.535. Thus, at this point, the issues should be sufficiently focused to enable the examiner to make a definitive first ex parte action on the merits which should clearly establish the issues which exist between the examiner and the patent owner insofar as the patent is concerned. In view of the fact that the examiner’s first action will clearly establish the issues, the first action should include a statement cautioning the patent owner that a complete response should be made to the action since the next action is expected to be a final action. The first action should further caution the patent owner that the requirements of 37 CFR 1.116(b) will be strictly enforced after final action and that any amendment after a final action must include “a showing of good and sufficient reasons why the amendment is necessary and was not earlier presented” in order to be considered. The language of form paragraph 22.04 is appropriate for inclusion in the first Office action:
¶ 22.04 Papers To Be Submitted in Response to Action - Ex Parte Reexamination
In order to ensure full consideration of any amendments, affidavits or declarations, or other documents as evidence of patentability, such documents must be submitted in response to this Office action. Submissions after the next Office action, which is intended to be a final action, will be governed by the requirements of 37 CFR 1.116 after final rejection and 37 CFR 41.33 after appeal, which will be strictly enforced.
2260.01 Dependent Claims [R-08.2012]
If an unamended base patent claim (i.e., a claim appearing in the reexamination as it appears in the patent) has been rejected or canceled, any claim which is directly or indirectly dependent thereon should be confirmed or allowed if the dependent claim is otherwise allowable. The dependent claim should not be objected to or rejected merely because it depends on a rejected or canceled patent claim. No requirement should be made for rewriting the dependent claim in independent form. As the original patent claim numbers are not changed in a reexamination proceeding, the content of the canceled base claim would remain in the printed patent and would be available to be read as a part of the confirmed or allowed dependent claim.
If a new base claim (a base claim other than a base claim appearing in the patent) has been canceled in a reexamination proceeding, a claim which depends thereon should be rejected as indefinite. If a new base claim or an amended patent claim is rejected, a claim dependent thereon should be objected to if it is otherwise patentable and a requirement made for rewriting the dependent claim in independent form.