What is a reissue application?
Congratulations on getting your utility patent. After overcoming Office Actions and multiple rejections, you have reached the desired goal of getting your patent granted. This was no easy task, so why file a reissue application? The most common reason, and perhaps most relevant to you, is the possibility that your claims are narrower than they ought to be. Is it possible that competitors are now introducing products designed around your claims, thereby avoiding infringement?
What are the grounds for reissuing a patent?
Technically, a patent must be “defective” in order to be reissued. One of the qualifying defects is the scope of the claims being too narrow. Accordingly, a patent owner may file a broadening reissue application with claims that are broader in scope than those of the original claims. Be wary of deadlines. A broadening reissue application must be filed within two years of the original patent grant date.
How can you tell if your granted claims are too narrow?
One way to determine if your claim scope is too narrow is to see how which elements in the independent claims are omitted in competitive products. For example, suppose one independent claim recites features ABC and a competitor launches a product with only features AB. In other words, the competitive product left out feature C.
Should you file a reissue application with a claim for AB? Would such a claim be allowable in view of the prior art of record in the parent prosecution?
What happens when you file a broadening reissue application?
After filing a broadening reissue application, expect an examination process by the USPTO in a manner similar to the prosecution of your original patent. The examiner will search prior art and issue Office Actions. You will have the opportunity to respond by submitting claim amendments and arguments.
If and when your broadened claims are allowed, you will ultimately end up with a reissued patent that will have a new patent number. Utility reissue patent numbers will start with RE.
How to File a Continuation Application After Your Patent Was Granted: Reissue Continuation Application
We always strongly recommend filing a child continuation application before your parent patent is granted. You never know how the competition will try to navigate around the claims of your parent patent. After your parent patent has been granted or abandoned, it will be too late to file any continuations.
So if you’re wondering how to file a continuation after your patent has already been granted, the reissue option may be the answer. Reissue continuation applications may be filed while the parent reissue application is pending. In other words, applying for the reissue of your granted patent opens the door for filing reissue continuations.
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