As is true in the examination of applications, 37 CFR 1.104 (Nature of examination) applies to the examination of reexamination proceedings. It is intended that the examiner’s first ex parte action on the merits be the primary action to establish the issues which exist between the examiner and the patent owner insofar as the patent is concerned. At the time the first action is issued in reexaminations ordered under 35 U.S.C. 304, the patent owner has already been permitted to file a statement and an amendment pursuant to 37 CFR 1.530; and the reexamination requester, if the requester is not the patent owner, has been permitted to reply thereto pursuant to 37 CFR 1.535. In any case, thus, at this point, the issues should be sufficiently focused to enable the examiner to make a definitive first ex parte action on the merits which should clearly establish the issues which exist between the examiner and the patent owner insofar as the patent is concerned. In view of the fact that the examiner’s first action will clearly establish the issues, the first action should include a statement cautioning the patent owner that a complete response should be made to the action since the next action is expected to be a final action. The first action should further caution the patent owner that the requirements of 37 CFR 1.116(b) will be strictly enforced after final action and that any amendment after a final action must include “a showing of good and sufficient reasons why the amendment is necessary and was not earlier presented” in order to be considered. The language of form paragraph 22.04 is appropriate for inclusion in the first Office action:
¶ 22.04 Papers To Be Submitted in Response to Action – Ex Parte Reexamination
In order to ensure full consideration of any amendments, affidavits or declarations, or other documents as evidence of patentability, such documents must be submitted in response to this Office action. Submissions after the next Office action, which is intended to be a final action, will be governed by the requirements of 37 CFR 1.116 after final rejection and 37 CFR 41.33 after appeal, which will be strictly enforced.