Ex Parte Reexamination
Ex parte reexamination was developed in 1981 and is unchanged by the America Invents Act. This proceeding is largely governed by MPEP §2200 and operates in a similar manner to patent prosecution proceedings. The Patent Owner or a third party may file a request for ex parte reexamination, based on patents and printed publications available as prior art. The prior art must raise a substantial new question of patentability, at which time the USPTO will grant the request for ex parte reexamination.
After granting a request for ex parte reexamination, only the Patent Owner can take part in the proceeding, which will take place before three patent examiners from the central reexamination unit. The examination proceeds to a final office action at which point the Patent Owner can appeal to the Board.
There is no estoppel attached to ex parte reexamination, and these proceedings can be filed anonymously.