MPEP 1214.07
Reopening of Prosecution

This is the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 08.2017, Last Revised in Januay 2018

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1214.07    Reopening of Prosecution [R-11.2013]

37 C.F.R. 1.198 Reopening after a final decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

When a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board on appeal has become final for judicial review, prosecution of the proceeding before the primary examiner will not be reopened or reconsidered by the primary examiner except under the provisions of § 1.114 or § 41.50 of this title without the written authority of the Director,and then only for the consideration of matters not already adjudicated, sufficient cause being shown.

Sometimes an amendment is filed after the Board’s decision which presents a new or amended claim or claims. In view of the fact that prosecution is closed, the appellant is not entitled to have such amendment entered as a matter of right. However, if the amendment is submitted with a request for continued examination (RCE) under 37 CFR 1.114 and the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(e), prosecution of the application will be reopened and the amendment will be entered. See MPEP § 706.07(h), subsection XI. Note that the RCE practice under 37 CFR 1.114 does not apply to utility or plant patent applications filed before June 8, 1995 or to design applications. See 37 CFR 1.114(d) and MPEP § 706.07(h), subsection I. If the amendment obviously places an application in condition for allowance, regardless of whether the amendment is filed with an RCE, the primary examiner should recommend that the amendment be entered, and with the concurrence of the supervisory patent examiner, the amendment will be entered. Note MPEP § 1002.02(d).

Where the amendment cannot be entered, the examiner should write to the appellant indicating that the amendment cannot be entered and stating the reason why. The refusal may not be arbitrary or capricious.

Form paragraph 12.298 should be used:

¶ 12.298    Amendment After Board Decision, Entry Refused

The amendment filed [1] after a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board is not entered because prosecution is closed. As provided in 37 CFR 1.198, prosecution of the proceeding before the primary examiner will not be reopened or reconsidered by the primary examiner after a final decision of the Board except under the provisions of 37 CFR 1.114 (request for continued examination) or 37 CFR 41.50 without the written authority of the Director, and then only for the consideration of matters not already adjudicated, sufficient cause being shown.

Examiner Note:

1. For use if the notice of appeal was filed on or after January 23, 2012.

2. In bracket 1, insert the date the amendment was filed.

3. This form paragraph is not to be used where a 37 CFR 41.50(b) rejection has been made by the Board.

In the event that claims stand allowed in the application under the conditions set forth in MPEP § 1214.06, paragraph II, the application should be passed to issue.

Petitions under 37 CFR 1.198 to reopen or reconsider prosecution of a case after decision by the Board, where no court action has been filed, are decided by the Technology Center Director, MPEP § 1002.02(c).

The Director of the USPTO also entertains petitions under 37 CFR 1.198 to reopen certain cases in which an appellant has sought review under 35 U.S.C. 141 or 145. This procedure is restricted to cases which have been decided by the Board and which are amenable to settlement without the need for going forward with the court proceeding. Such petitions will ordinarily be granted only in the following categories of cases:

  • (A) When the decision of the Board asserts that the rejection of the claims is proper because the claims do not include a disclosed limitation or because they suffer from some other curable defect, and the decision reasonably is suggestive that claims including the limitation or devoid of the defect will be allowable;
  • (B) When the decision of the Board asserts that the rejection of the claims is proper because the record does not include evidence of a specified character, and is reasonably suggestive that if such evidence were presented, the appealed claims would be allowable, and it is demonstrated that such evidence presently exists and can be offered; or
  • (C) When the decision of the Board is based on a practice, rule, law, or judicial precedent which, since the Board’s decision, has been rescinded, repealed, or overruled.

Such petitions will not be ordinarily entertained after the filing of the Director’s brief in cases in which review has been sought under 35 U.S.C. 141, or after trial in a 35 U.S.C. 145 case.

In the case of an appeal under 35 U.S.C. 141, if the petition is granted, steps will be taken to request the court to remand the case to the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office. If so remanded, the proposed amendments, evidence, and arguments will be entered of record in the application file for consideration, and further action will be taken by the Board in the first instance or by the examiner as may be appropriate. In the case of civil action under 35 U.S.C. 145, steps will be taken for obtaining dismissal of the action without prejudice to consideration of the proposals.