A Stepwise Guide to Update/Reissue/Modify a Patent

modify update reissue patent

Within the sphere of innovation and intellectual property, the journey from conception to protection involves a delicate balance of creation, precision, and adaptability. This exploration delves into the crucial theme of accuracy in patent applications, illuminating the complexities of updating and modifying inventions within the frameworks of provisional and granted patents.

As we traverse this landscape, we’ll also unravel the significance of legal guidance, particularly in the patent reissue process, emphasizing how these updates and modifications play a pivotal role in ensuring that inventive ideas not only receive protection but also evolve and thrive in the ever-changing landscape of technology and creativity.


Patents are legal documents that grant inventors exclusive rights to their inventions. They encourage innovation by providing inventors with protection and recognition for their creations.

This exploration delves into the intricate dynamics of patents, examining the importance of precision in patent applications, the adaptability required in updating and modifying inventions, and the critical role of legal guidance, particularly in the patent reissue process.

It navigates the nuanced journey from innovative concepts to legally protected assets, emphasizing the interplay between accuracy, adaptability, and legal expertise in the evolving landscape of intellectual property.

A. Importance of accuracy in patent applications -: Accuracy in patent applications is crucial for ensuring that the granted patent accurately reflects the invention. Inaccuracies may lead to challenges, disputes, or difficulties in enforcing patent rights.

Example: A misrepresentation of a key element in a patent application could result in the patent not fully protecting the intended invention, affecting its commercial value.

Before We Proceed

Understanding the dynamics between patent owners and patent inventors is crucial as you dive into the fascinating world of patents. Whether you’re just starting your journey with provisional patents and want to safeguard your innovative ideas, exploring the intricacies of the patent application process from search to maintenance, or delving into the exciting realm of patent monetization, this knowledge serves as the foundation for your intellectual property endeavours.

Discover how inventors’ ideas evolve into valuable assets, how patent ownership is established, and how the world of patents offers opportunities for protection, growth, and even financial gain.

Dive into our blog posts on provisional patents, the patent application process, and patent monetization to gain deeper insights into this captivating domain and empower your innovation-driven goals

Types of Patents

A. Provisional Patents

  1. Purpose and benefits
    • Purpose: A provisional patent serves as a temporary placeholder for inventors, offering a quick and cost-effective way to establish an early filing date.
    • Benefits: Provides inventors with a “patent pending” status, allowing time to further develop the invention before filing a non-provisional application.
    • Example: Imagine a software developer creating a new algorithm. Filing a provisional patent early in the development stage secures the filing date, enabling the developer to refine the algorithm without losing potential patent rights.
  2. Limitations on updates or changes
    • Time constraints: Provisional patents have a limited lifespan of 12 months, during which inventors must file a non-provisional application to benefit from the earlier filing date.
    • Lack of formal examination: Provisional patents do not undergo a formal examination process, which means inventors cannot make substantive updates or changes to the original filing.
    • Example: If an inventor discovers a crucial improvement after filing a provisional patent, they cannot directly update it; instead, they need to incorporate changes in the subsequent non-provisional application.

B. Non-Provisional (Granted) Patents

  1. Overview of the patent granting process
    • Filing a non-provisional application: After the provisional stage, inventors file a non-provisional application, triggering the formal examination process by the patent office.
    • Examination process: Patent examiners assess the application to ensure it meets legal requirements, including novelty, non-obviousness, and proper disclosure.
    • Granting the patent: If the application satisfies all criteria, the patent office grants the patent, conferring exclusive rights to the inventor for a specified period.
  2. Need for accuracy in granted patents
    • Legal implications: A granted patent is a legally binding document that defines the scope of the inventor’s exclusive rights. Accuracy is essential to prevent challenges or disputes.
    • Enforceability: Accurate and clear language in the patent is crucial for effectively enforcing the rights granted by the patent.
    • Example: If a pharmaceutical company obtains a patent for a new drug, accurate specifications regarding the drug’s composition and method of use are critical. Inaccuracies may lead to challenges from competitors or difficulties in asserting the patent against potential infringers.

Patent Reissue Process

A patent reissue is a legal process allowing inventors to correct errors or make changes to an already granted patent. The primary goal is to ensure that the granted patent accurately reflects the inventor’s original and true invention, addressing mistakes or omissions.

A. Instances warranting a patent reissue

Reissues are often sought when there are factual errors or mistakes in the granted patent that need correction. If the inventor realizes the need to broaden or narrow the scope of the claims, a reissue may be pursued. If the original patent unintentionally limits the invention’s scope, a reissue can help remove or modify those limitations.

Example: A granted patent for a medical device may contain an error in specifying a critical component. The inventor could seek a reissue to correct this mistake and ensure the patent accurately reflects the device’s true design.

B. Legal requirements for a reissue –

To qualify for a reissue, there must be a substantial error or omission in the granted patent. Reissue applications should be filed promptly after discovering the error, typically within two years of the patent grant.

Example: If a software patent has an error in the algorithm description, the inventor must file for a reissue promptly after recognizing the mistake and before the two-year deadline elapses.

Differences Between Provisional and Granted Patents

A. Flexibility in provisional patents

Provisional patents offer inventors flexibility during the early stages of invention development, allowing for adjustments and improvements. There are fewer formal requirements and examinations in provisional patents, providing inventors with a more relaxed environment for initial filings.

Example: A software developer, in the early stages of creating a new application, files a provisional patent. As the development progresses, the developer identifies areas for improvement. The provisional patent’s flexibility allows for incorporating these enhancements without the strict formalities of a granted patent.

B. Rigidity and formalities in granted patents

Granted patents undergo a rigorous examination process by patent offices to ensure adherence to legal requirements and proper disclosure. The claims and specifications in a granted patent define the invention’s scope, and any changes post-grant must go through specific legal processes, such as reissue applications.

Example: After successfully obtaining a granted patent for a novel electronic device, the inventor cannot make substantial changes to the patent’s claims without undergoing formal legal procedures. The granted patent provides legal certainty but comes with a more rigid framework compared to the flexibility of provisional patents during the early stages of invention.

Examples of Changes in Granted Patents

A. Correcting errors

Errors in granted patents can range from typographical mistakes to inaccuracies in specifications or claims. – Need for correction: Correcting errors is crucial to ensure the patent accurately reflects the inventor’s original and true invention.

Example: In a granted patent for a chemical process, there may be a typographical error in the temperature range specified. The inventor would seek a correction to accurately reflect the intended temperature, ensuring the patent’s validity and enforceability.

B. Updating claims or specifications

In fast-paced fields like technology, inventors may discover new aspects or improvements to their inventions post-grant. Updating claims or specifications allows inventors to capture the full scope of their invention, especially when advancements occur after the initial patent filing.

Example: An inventor obtains a patent for a smartphone with specific features. Later, technological advancements lead to the development of new functionalities. By updating the claims or specifications, the inventor ensures the patent covers both the original features and any subsequent improvements, maintaining the relevance and value of the patent.

Importance of Legal Guidance

A. Role of a patent attorney

Patent attorneys specialize in intellectual property law and have the knowledge to navigate complex patent processes. – Comprehensive understanding: They interpret legal requirements, assess patentability, and provide guidance throughout the application, granting, and potential reissue stages.

Example: A technology company developing a groundbreaking software solution consults with a patent attorney. The attorney helps draft a robust patent application, ensuring it meets all legal requirements. Their expertise is vital in anticipating potential issues that could arise during the patenting process.

B. How legal expertise ensures a smooth reissue process

Patent attorneys assess whether the discovered error or omission meets the substantial criteria for a reissue, avoiding unnecessary filings. Attorneys guide inventors through the specific legal steps required for a reissue, ensuring compliance with regulations and deadlines.

Example: An inventor seeks to correct an error in a granted patent and consults a patent attorney. The attorney evaluates the error’s significance, determines eligibility for a reissue, and guides the inventor through the process. This legal expertise ensures a smooth and effective reissue, minimizing potential challenges or complications.

For More Details…..

For more details on patent modification/updation etc. please check out the following patents offices.

Patent OfficeJurisdictionLink
United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)United StatesUSPTO
European Patent Office (EPO)European countries participating in the European Patent Convention (EPC)EPO
Japan Patent Office (JPO)JapanJPO
State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO/CNIPA)ChinaCNIPA
Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO)South KoreaKIPO
Intellectual Property Office of the United Kingdom (IPO)United KingdomIPO
Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO)CanadaCIPO
Indian Patent Office (IPO)IndiaIndian Patent Office
Australian Patent Office (IP Australia)AustraliaIP Australia
Patent offices with their jurisdiction

Before We Conclude….

Before we conclude, if you’re a patent owner looking to make the most of your intellectual property, we have some valuable resources for you.

If you’re interested in learning more about the practical aspects of patenting, you can explore my article, “Interview with Krishnaja: Patent Agent for Patenting Your Research” ,. For more details on patenting your invention, please vist my blog post on “Understanding Patents a Complete Guide”. Learn about the steps to sell your patent in our detailed guide, “How to Sell my Patent? A Step by Step Guide.”

If you’re considering leveraging your patent for financial opportunities, our article “Can I Mortgage My Patent? Step-by-Step Guide for Researchers” will provide you with insights. Additionally, for a comprehensive understanding of patent monetization, don’t miss “Patent Monetization Made Easy: How to Unlock the Value of Your Intellectual Property.” These resources can help you navigate the various aspects of patent ownership and management. Explore them to maximize the value of your innovation.


This exploration underscores the pivotal role of accuracy and adaptability in the patenting journey. From the malleability of provisional patents during initial stages to the precision demanded by granted patents, the interplay of these elements shapes the landscape of intellectual property.

The significance of legal guidance, exemplified in the patent reissue process, ensures that updates and modifications seamlessly navigate the legal framework, highlighting the evolving nature of innovation. Ultimately, this synthesis of accuracy, adaptability, and legal expertise forms the foundation for transforming inventive ideas into resilient, enforceable patents within the ever-evolving domain of intellectual property.

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Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit
Author: Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit
Dr. Vijay Rajpurohit is a researcher in Computer Science. He loves to educate researchers and research scholars on Research Paper Writing, Thesis Writing, Research Grants, Patenting Research Work and the latest Research-related issues. You can reach him @ [email protected]