MPEP 2666.01
Amendment by Patent Owner

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

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2666.01    Amendment by Patent Owner [R-07.2015]

37 C.F.R. 1.941 Amendments by patent owner in inter partes reexamination.

Amendments by patent owner in inter partes reexamination proceedings are made by filing a paper in compliance with §§ 1.530(d) -(k) and 1.943.

37 C.F.R. 1.121 Manner of making amendments in applications.

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  • (j) Amendments in reexamination proceedings. Any proposed amendment to the description and claims in patents involved in reexamination proceedings must be made in accordance with § 1.530.

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37 C.F.R. 1.530 Statement by patent owner in ex parte reexamination; amendment by patent owner in ex parte or inter partes reexamination; inventorship change in ex parte or inter partes reexamination.

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  • (d) Making amendments in a reexamination proceeding. A proposed amendment in an ex parte or an inter partes reexamination proceeding is made by filing a paper directing that proposed specified changes be made to the patent specification, including the claims, or to the drawings. An amendment paper directing that proposed specified changes be made in a reexamination proceeding may be submitted as an accompaniment to a request filed by the patent owner in accordance with § 1.510(e), as part of a patent owner statement in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section, or, where permitted, during the prosecution of the reexamination proceeding pursuant to § 1.550(a) or § 1.937.
    • (1) Specification other than the claims. Changes to the specification, other than to the claims, must be made by submission of the entire text of an added or rewritten paragraph including markings pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section, except that an entire paragraph may be deleted by a statement deleting the paragraph, without presentation of the text of the paragraph. The precise point in the specification must be identified where any added or rewritten paragraph is located. This paragraph applies whether the amendment is submitted on paper or compact disc (see §§ 1.96 and 1.825 ).
    • (2) Claims. An amendment paper must include the entire text of each patent claim which is being proposed to be changed by such amendment paper and of each new claim being proposed to be added by such amendment paper. For any claim changed by the amendment paper, a parenthetical expression "amended," "twice amended," etc., should follow the claim number. Each patent claim proposed to be changed and each proposed added claim must include markings pursuant to paragraph (f) of this section, except that a patent claim or proposed added claim should be canceled by a statement canceling the claim, without presentation of the text of the claim.
    • (3) Drawings. Any change to the patent drawings must be submitted as a sketch on a separate paper showing the proposed changes in red for approval by the examiner. Upon approval of the changes by the examiner, only new sheets of drawings including the changes and in compliance with § 1.84 must be filed. Amended figures must be identified as "Amended," and any added figure must be identified as "New." In the event a figure is canceled, the figure must be surrounded by brackets and identified as "Canceled."
    • (4) The formal requirements for papers making up the reexamination proceeding other than those set forth in this section are set out in § 1.52.
  • (e) Status of claims and support for claim changes. Whenever there is an amendment to the claims pursuant to paragraph (d) of this section, there must also be supplied, on pages separate from the pages containing the changes, the status (i.e., pending or canceled), as of the date of the amendment, of all patent claims and of all added claims, and an explanation of the support in the disclosure of the patent for the changes to the claims made by the amendment paper.
  • (f) Changes shown by markings. Any changes relative to the patent being reexamined which are made to the specification, including the claims, must include the following markings:
    • (1) The matter to be omitted by the reexamination proceeding must be enclosed in brackets; and
    • (2) The matter to be added by the reexamination proceeding must be underlined.
  • (g) Numbering of patent claims p. Patent claims may not be renumbered. The numbering of any claims added in the reexamination proceeding must follow the number of the highest numbered patent claim.
  • (h) Amendment of disclosure may be required. The disclosure must be amended, when required by the Office, to correct inaccuracies of description and definition, and to secure substantial correspondence between the claims, the remainder of the specification, and the drawings.
  • (i) Amendments made relative to patent. All amendments must be made relative to the patent specification, including the claims, and drawings, which are in effect as of the date of filing the request for reexamination.
  • (j) No enlargement of claim scope. No amendment may enlarge the scope of the claims of the patent or introduce new matter. No amendment may be proposed for entry in an expired patent. Moreover, no amendment, other than the cancellation of claims, will be incorporated into the patent by a certificate issued after the expiration of the patent.
  • (k) Amendments not effective until certificate. Although the Office actions will treat proposed amendments as though they have been entered, the proposed amendments will not be effective until the reexamination certificate is issued and published.
  • (l) Correction of inventorship in an ex parte or inter partes reexamination proceeding.
    • (1) When it appears in a patent being reexamined that the correct inventor or inventors were not named through error without deceptive intention on the part of the actual inventor or inventors, the Director may, on petition of all the parties set forth in § 1.324(b)(1) -(3), including the assignees, and satisfactory proof of the facts and payment of the fee set forth in § 1.20(b), or on order of a court before which such matter is called in question, include in the reexamination certificate to be issued under § 1.570 or § 1.997 an amendment naming only the actual inventor or inventors. The petition must be submitted as part of the reexamination proceeding and must satisfy the requirements of § 1.324.
    • (2) Notwithstanding paragraph (l)(1) of this section, if a petition to correct inventorship satisfying the requirements of § 1.324 is filed in a reexamination proceeding, and the reexamination proceeding is concluded other than by a reexamination certificate under § 1.570 or § 1.997, a certificate of correction indicating the change of inventorship stated in the petition will be issued upon request by the patentee.

Amendments to the patent being reexamined (where the patent has not expired) may be filed by the patent owner in the reexamination proceeding. Such amendments may be provided by the patent owners after the first Office action on the merits has been issued. The first Office action on the merits will ordinarily be mailed with the order. In some instances, however, it may not be practical or possible to mail the first Office action together with the order. In the event that the first Office action is mailed after the order, it would not be proper to provide an amendment prior to the first Office action. Such an amendment would not be considered, and it would be returned to the patent owner as an improper paper. See MPEP § 2667.

If an amendment is submitted to add claims to the patent being reexamined (i.e., to provide new claims), then excess claims fees pursuant to 37 CFR 1.20(c)(3) and (c)(4) may be applicable to the presentation of the added claims. See MPEP § 2666.04. Amendments proposed in a reexamination will normally be entered if timely, and will be considered to be entered for purposes of prosecution before the Office (if they are timely and comply with the rules); however, amendments do not become effective in the patent until the certificate under 35 U.S.C. 316 is issued and published.

Amendments must not enlarge the scope of a claim of the patent nor introduce new matter. Amended or new claims which broaden or enlarge the scope of a claim of the patent should be rejected under 35 U.S.C. 314(a). The test for when an amended or "new claim enlarges the scope of an original claim under 35 U.S.C. 314(a) is the same as that under the 2-year limitation for reissue applications adding enlarging claims under 35 U.S.C. 251, last paragraph." In re Freeman, 30 F.3d 1459, 1464, 31 USPQ2d 1444, 1447 (Fed. Cir. 1994). See MPEP § 2658 for a discussion of enlargement of the claim scope. For handling of new matter, see MPEP § 2670.

If the patent expires during the reexamination procedure, and the patent claims have been amended, the Office will hold the amendments as being improper and all subsequent reexamination will be on the basis of the unamended patent claims. This procedure is necessary since no amendments will be incorporated into the patent by certificate after the expiration of the patent. See 37 CFR 1.941 and 37 CFR 1.530(j). The patent expiration date for a utility patent, for example, is determined by taking into account the term of the patent, whether maintenance fees have been paid for the patent, whether any disclaimer was filed as to the patent to shorten its term, any patent term extensions or adjustments for delays within the USPTO under 35 U.S.C. 154 (see MPEP § 2710, et seq.), and any patent term extensions available under 35 U.S.C. 156 for premarket regulatory review (see MPEP § 2750 et. seq.). Any other relevant information should also be taken into account.

Once the patent expires, a narrow claim construction is applied. See MPEP § 2258, subsection I.G. "Claim Interpretation and Treatment."

Amendment Entry - Amendments which comply with 37 CFR 1.530(d) -(j) and 37 CFR 1.943 (and are formally presented pursuant to 37 CFR 1.52(a) and (b), and contain fees required by 37 CFR 1.20(c) ) will be entered in the reexamination file pursuant to the guidelines set forth in MPEP § 2234.

Manner of Making Amendments - Amendments in an inter partes reexamination proceeding are made in the same manner that amendments in an ex parte reexamination proceeding are made. See MPEP § 2250 for guidance as to the manner of making amendments in a reexamination proceeding.

Form paragraph 22.12 may be used to advise the patent owner of the proper manner of making amendments in an inter partes reexamination proceeding.

¶ 22.12    Amendments Proposed in a Reexamination - 37 CFR 1.530(d)-(j)

Patent owner is notified that any proposed amendment to the specification and/or claims in this reexamination proceeding must comply with 37 CFR 1.530(d)-(j), must be formally presented pursuant to 37 CFR 1.52(a) and (b), and must contain any fees required by 37 CFR 1.20(c).

Examiner Note:

This paragraph may be used in the order granting reexamination and/or in the first Office action to advise patent owner of the proper manner of making amendments in a reexamination proceeding.

Form paragraph 26.05.01 may be used to notify patent owner in an inter partes reexamination proceeding that a proposed amendment in the proceeding does not comply with 37 CFR 1.530(d) -(j).

¶ 26.05.01    Improper Amendment in an Inter Partes Reexamination - 37 CFR 1.530(d)-(j)

The amendment filed [1] proposes amendments to [2] that do not comply with 37 CFR 1.530(d)-(j), which sets forth the manner of making amendments in reexamination proceedings. A supplemental paper correctly proposing amendments in the present inter partes reexamination proceeding is required.

A shortened statutory period for response to this letter is set to expire ONE MONTH or THIRTY DAYS, whichever is longer, from the mailing date of this letter. If the patent owner fails to timely correct this informality, the amendment will be held not to be an appropriate response, and the consequences set forth in 37 CFR 1.957(b) or (c) will result. See MPEP § 2666.10

Examiner Note:

This paragraph may be used for any 37 CFR 1.530(d)-(j) informality as to a proposed amendment submitted in a reexamination proceeding.

The cover sheet to be used for mailing the notification to the patent owner will be PTOL-2069.

As an alternative to using form paragraph 26.05.01, it would also be appropriate to use form PTOL-2069, box 4.

For clerical handling of amendments, see MPEP § 2670. For entry of an amendment in a merged reexamination proceeding, see MPEP §§ 2686.01 and 2686.03. For handling of a dependent claim in reexamination proceedings, see MPEP § 2660.03.