Post-Issuance Options: The Benefits and Risks of Reexamination and Reissue

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Congratulations, your patent has issued. Using the time you no longer spend chatting with your patent attorney, you decide to catch up on old (as in, before your filing date) issues of your favorite technical magazine. You come across an article that seems quite similar to your invention, and you begin to wonder: are my claims too broad/narrow?

Overbroad or overly narrow claims are examples of aspects of an issued patent that may be modified through either reexamination or reissue. In each of reexamination and reissue, prosecution of an issued patent is reopened to address areas of concern in the issued patent. However, reexamination and reissue are not interchangeable – each offers its own benefits and its own risks. Before requesting one of reexamination or reissue of your patent, it is important to be aware of what is required of you, what is required of your patent, and what effects the reexamination or reissue could have in the future.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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