The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011 (“AIA”) was signed into law by President Obama on September 16, 2011. The first significant overhaul of the U.S. patent system in nearly 60 years, this new patent reform measure ushers in considerable changes in how companies and individuals may obtain and enforce patents in the United States. This is the seventh in a series of articles on the AIA (the earlier articles can be accessed here).
Currently, Chapter 25 of 35 U.S.C. provides patent owners with two primary means for amending and correcting issued patents: certificates of correction and reissue. (35 U.S.C. §§ 251-256). Both of these options were limiting in the types of information and/or issues they allowed the patent owner to address. The AIA removed many of these prior limitations and has given more strength to these procedures by amending 35 U.S.C. § 251, governing reissue of defective patents, and by creating a new Supplemental Examination procedure. (35 U.S.C. § 257).
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