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Amendments and Corrections to a Patent

Amendments and Corrections to a Patent

In the process of  registering a patent under United States law, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) presides under the statutory framework provided by the provisions of Article 35 of the United States Code. Those questions which may arise in regard to amending or correcting a patent application or registration may be answered by reference to Chapter 25 of Title 35. In this section the prospective patent applicant or current patent holder may find information on “Reissue of defective patents,” Section 251, “Effects of reissue,” Section 252, “Disclaimer,” Section 253, “Certificate of correction of Patent and Trademark Office mistake,” Section 254, “Certificate of correction of applicant’s mistake,” Section 255, and “Correction of named inventor,” Section 256.
Under Section 251, the Director of the USPTO can remedy a patent application that is found after the fact to have been flawed. Such a determination may be made by the USPTO in the event that the patent application did not adequately describe every detail of the invention. It might also be made upon the finding that the claims made by the patent application exceeded permissible limits. For whatever reason that a patent is rendered invalid, the USPTO allows through observance of this provision that the applicant “surrender” the patent to the temporary control of the agency. 
Thus momentarily acceded, the patent will be amended and then reissued. The original patent term will still be in effect. If required, different sections of the patent application may be amended individually. According to Section 252, the reissuing of the patent will not take effect against actions taken by other individuals made before the reissuing took place and which would not have been permissibly prohibited by the originally issued form of the patent.
As allowed for by Section 253, the discovery that one of the “claims” of the original patent application is invalid may be addressed by the patent holder by making a disclaimer and registering it with the USPTO, upon payment of the required fee. This disclaimer will then be incorporated into the patent. It will not affect the validity of the other, separate claims of the patent.
Corrections may be made without charge to the patent in the event that a mistake on the part of the USPTO occasions the need for one. The USPTO may decide to issue either an official certificate of correction to be made part of the official record on the patent, or simply a reissued and corrected patent, either through the provisions of Section 254. Likewise, a mistake made by the applicant is provided for under Section 255. 
This section may only be appealed to in the event that the mistake occurred “in good faith” and was of a minor nature, not altering the substance of the patent’s definition or function. If an individual is mistakenly named or excluded from a patent application which is issued in registration, the matter may be appealed to the USPTO to be corrected, without further need for reissuing the entire patent.

The Legal Facts on Patent Content and Terms

The Legal Facts on Patent Content and Terms

Title 35 of the United States Code provides the measures by which the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) registers applicants for patents. Among these, Section 154 should be referred to by a likely or hopeful patent holder for patent terms limits and related procedures and regulations. In general the length of time allowed for a patent term will be twenty years. Section 156 contains the provisions for the extension of a patent term beyond the twenty-year cut-off date by the request and valid application of the patent holder.
Part (a) of Section 154, which applies “In General” to the section’s overall subject of “Contents and term of patent; provisional rights,” includes as (2) among its provisions the “Term” that may be allowed for the maintenance of patent registration rights. The period of twenty years for the patent term is defined as beginning on the date on which the patent is issued and ending twenty years from the day on which the application was filed. 
If the patent application was approved on the basis of a patent application received at an earlier date, then the date of the earlier application will be used to set the cut-off date for the patent term. The sections found elsewhere in Title 35 which pertain to this provision include 120, 121 and 365 (c). Provision (3) of Part (a) of Section 154 rules that the priority of a patent as may be provided for by Section 119 is not relevant for determining patent term limits.
Part (b) of Section 154 concerns “Adjustment of Patent Term.” Provision (1) describes “Patent term guarantees.” The various regulations contained in (1) allow for extensions to be made to the length of a patent term in instances in which registration is delayed for some reason outside the control of the patent applicant. (A) provides for the promptness of “patent and trademark responses” to application communications, in view of which the USPTO will make an addition of one day for every day after which the appropriate time for action by the USPTO toward registration of a patent has elapsed. (B) allows for the extension of a patent term by one day for every day following the three-year period after which the application is received. Similar patent term protections are made in (C), which concerns delays caused to patent issuance for such reasons as appeals and the need for secrecy.
Provision (2) sets down restrictions to the rights enumerated by the preceding sections. For instance, if it is found that the applicant did not meaningfully “prosecute” the patent application for a certain period of time, that length of time should be subtracted from any patent term granted. Any delay experienced by the patent applicant shall be restricted in its applicability to the patent term to the actual period during which registration was being awaited, as opposed to the accumulating periods of time lost to various causes for delay as may have occurred alongside each other.

Drawings

Drawings

In applying for the legal protection of patent registration under United States law, applicants will be answerable to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. 
In order for patent drawings to effectively play a part in registration proceedings, they must be submitted in a mandated format, designed to regularize proceedings, ensure that the invention’s details are readily understandable and provide for the ultimate publication, upon successfully passing into registration, of the invention. 
Some of the details which must conform to the USPTO’s specifications include the type and size of the paper on which the patent drawing is placed and the margins within which the drawing may be made, among others.

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