A reissue patent can be obtained if an error renders an issued patent wholly or partially inoperable or invalid. Correctable errors can be a defective specification, drawing or priority patent application reference. In addition, a reissue patent can be obtained if an applicant claims more or less than the applicant is entitled to. If filed within two years of filing, a reissue application can be filed to obtain broader claim scope.
Information becoming available after the grant of the patent may raise questions about the validity of the patent or adequacy of protection provided by the patent. Filing a reissue patent application allows the patentee to narrow some claims that are believed to be invalid, or broaden claims that fail to fully protect an invention. It should be noted that claiming subject matter not disclosed in the issued patent is not allowed in a reissue proceeding.
While a reissue patent application for narrower claims can be filed anytime before the expiration of the patent, a reissue patent application for broader claims can only be filed within two years from the issue date of the patent. A reissue patent application has some particular requirements. It requires a declaration specifying at least one error that is being correct. The reissue proceeding procedure also has numerous limitations. It cannot be used to correct certain types of errors, such as failure to file a continuation or divisional patent application from the original disclosure, or a decision with deceptive intent. As an additional example, simply adding a new claim is not allowed without a valid correction.
Patent reissue is a very powerful tool in certain situations. For example, a competitor’s products or services can read on an invention disclosed by an issued patent, but the invention may not be properly claimed in the issued patent. In such a case, filing a reissue patent application to properly claim the infringed invention is the right approach to stop the competitor’s infringing activities or force it to seek a patent license for the invention.
If you have a question or issue regarding a reissue application, please feel free to reach out to us via telephone or email. You may also fill out our online inquiry form and we will strive to get back to you within 24 hours.