Pirelli requests reexamination of Stanford’s Patent on Fiber Optic Technology

Lin k: Italian cable manufacturer Pirelli has requested an ex parte reexamination of Stanford University’s patent number 4,859,016.  The patent, entitled “Fiber Optic Amplifier,” survived a first reexamination four years ago.

The patent reexamination system is intended to provide a less-costly alternative to litigation — and can be especially useful when the validity of an issued patent is questioned.  Reexamination allows the patent office to consider newly discovered prior art and printed publications.  However, the evidence available to the patent office during a reexamination is limited.  In addition an ex parte reexamination does not allow an open forum for a potential defendant to argue its case.

After a reexamination is requested, the PTO has three months to determine whether a substantial new question of patentability exists.  Once a reexamination is ordered, the patent holder can respond to the questions of patentability and may propose amendments to the patent claims.  The reexamination requester may then file a counter-statement.  After filing the counter-statement, the claims are examined without any further input from the requester. 

Following a reexamination, the PTO issues a reexamination certificate showing changes made to the patent.