Patent

A Brief Guide to Subsequent Patent Applications in the United States: Part I – The Foundation

Patent practitioners (hopefully) know that there are many types of patent applications and, at times, have filed a continuation, continuation-in-part, or divisional application. “Continuation practice” was the once commonly used phrase to describe subsequent U.S. patent applications, which also used to include file wrapper continuations (FWC), now replaced by the more modern request for continued examination (RCE). These types of subsequent patent applications can be used strategically to build a portfolio of patents for a client for a given subject matter. See, e.g., the patents asserted in WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp., 585 U.S. ___, 138 S.Ct. 2129 (2018). However, many patent practitioners are not fully aware of the implications of each such subsequent application, either for prosecution or for litigation. This five-part series will review these types of applications and their implications and ultimately provide some relevant practice tips.

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