Tuesday, February 17, 2004
9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Crystal Park 2, 2nd Floor Conference Room
2121 Crystal Drive
Washington - The Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will hold a roundtable meeting at its offices in Arlington, Va., on February 17, 2004, to discuss the equities of inter partes reexamination. The "Optional Inter Partes Reexamination Procedure Act of 1999" requires the USPTO submit to Congress, within five years of its enactment, a report evaluating whether the inter partes reexamination proceedings established by the Act are "inequitable to any of the parties in interest." If inequity is determined to exist, the USPTO must recommend changes to remove such inequity.
Reexamination allows anyone at any time during the life of a U.S. patent to request that the USPTO reexamine the patent based on prior patents and printed publications that raise a substantial new question of patentability. The original reexamination statute, enacted in 1980, provided only for ex parte reexamination, which limited the participation of third parties requesting reexamination. Separate optional inter partes reexamination procedures were enacted in 1999, permitting third parties greater participation in the proceeding, including appeals to the USPTO's board of appeals.
The USPTO continues to seek cost-effective alternatives to litigation and ways to strengthen confidence in patent rights. In the USPTO's 21st Century Strategic Plan, the agency proposes post-grant opposition to recently issued patents when validity issues arise.
For more information on the round table meeting, see: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/dcom/olia/notice021103.htm.