Patents are a way to protect processes, designs and formulas that have been created by inventors, from unauthorized use by other parties. Procuring a patent is not always an easy process and the entity responsible for granting patents—the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office—may deny the application. In other situations the patent granted may not be broad enough or contain mistakes. In still other situations, you may feel strongly about an invention for which a third party is seeking a patent.
In any of these situations, it may make sense to request a re-examination from the USPTO.
If you have concerns regarding a third party's patent, there are several types of proceedings that you might become involved in.
- If a patent application is still pending and you believe the applicant derived the subject of the patent from another party, you could become involved in a derivation proceeding.
- You can challenge the validity of a patent that has been granted via an inter partes proceeding within nine months of it being granted.
- Similar to an inter partes review, in a post-grant review you can challenge the validity of the patent on broader grounds.
- Via an ex parte proceeding, you can request the USPTO to review the patent after it has been granted.
All of these proceedings can be complicated. Because of this, any third party seeking to get involved should do so with the assistance of an intellectual property attorney who has a thorough understanding of the system. We understand the complexities of these cases. For more information please see our website.