On April 25, 2011, the USPTO published a Notice of Public Meeting to discuss proposed changes to reexamination practice. The proposed changes are the latest in an ongoing and largely successful effort by the USPTO to improve the pace of reexamination proceedings while still maintaining quality. The current proposals are unrelated to patent reform legislation that is pending before Congress.
Although the USPTO has not yet promulgated new rules, it has broadly proposed changes for both ex parte and inter partes reexamination proceedings. Some of the proposed changes would be fairly significant departures from current practice, while some would be relatively minor.