Intellectual property experts have received a glimpse into how provisions of the America Invents Act may redefine supplemental patent examination processes following the release of proposed rule changes from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
"The supplemental examination provisions will permit a patent owner to request supplemental examination of a patent by the USPTO to consider, reconsider or correct information believed to be relevant to the patent," explained agency director David Kappos. "These provisions could assist the patent owner in addressing certain challenges to the enforceability of the patent during litigation."
A 60-day public comment period has been opened to gather feedback from stakeholders before the rules ultimately go into effect in September.
The rule change is being implemented primarily as a means to "diffuse allegations of inequitable conduct" in a more efficient manner. But according to Law.com contributor Sheri Qualters, attorneys are advised to treat the new procedure with caution.
Although patentees may turn to supplemental examination to verify and bolster the strength of a questionable filing, that tactic could quickly backfire if examiners conclude that the original patent was fraudulent and thus worthy of sanctions.