CIVIL ENGINEERING & PATENT LAW  
This website illustrates how Civil Engineers may make greater use of the Global Patent System to Promote Progress in their Field.
The American Founders included Patent Rights in the United States Constitution to Promote Progress.
Ex parte Reexamination
U.S. Patenting
      Either a patent owner or a patent challenger may file a request for Ex parte Reexamination, including a submission of information that raises a substantial new question of patentability (SNQP) regarding issued patent claims.  Ex parte reexamination remains one of the few post-issue USPTO procedures to remain largely intact following the patent system overhaul that occurred in the wake of the 2011 Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.    

     Even before Leahy-Smith, the USPTO had already been strictly scrutinizing Ex parte Reexamination requests, bouncing an increasing number of submissions for failing to meet the SNQP standard.  For patent owners wishing to use Ex parte reexamination to prepare their claims for enforcement, being denied a request for Ex parte reexamination for their own patent by the USPTO is usually a blessing, because by denying the request the USPTO is basically asserting that the patent claims are valid over the prior art (for example, see Supplemental Examination).    

     If the USPTO grants a request for Ex parte Reexamination, a proceeding ensues in which an Examiner from the Central Reexamination Unit of the USPTO may reject the claims in a first Office Action and a final Office Action based on the submitted prior art.  The patent owner responds to the Office Actions with arguments or amendments, or both.  If the Examiner issues a final Office Action including adverse findings, the patent owner must appeal the Examiner's decision to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).  Only the patent owner may appeal to the PTAB from Ex parte Reexamination.    

     Although Ex parte Reexamination offers some advantages to patent challengers as compared to inter partes proceedings such as Post-Grant Review and Inter partes Review, including being able to submit the Ex parte Reexamination request anonymously, many patent challengers disfavor Ex parte Reexamination.  The patent laws severely limit participation by third party requestors in Ex parte Reexamination, which often leads to a favorable result for patent owners because they have flexibility in amending the claims and persuading Examiners to allow the claims over the submitted prior art.  Also, although Ex parte Reexamination does not technically carry the significant estoppel of Post-Grant Review and Inter partes Review, a patent owner's success in Ex parte Reexamination could blunt the effectiveness of the submitted information for future invalidity attacks by the challenger on that patent (as in Third Party Pre-Issuance Submissions).  Also, although the USPTO charges less for Ex parte Reexamination than for Post-Grant Review and Inter partes Review, the Office still charges a significant fee of $12,000 to conduct Ex parte Reexamination.
Tappan Zee Bridge in New York
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