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This paper addresses user coexistence in cognitive radio systems by taking advantage of opportunities that arise during ARQ retransmission. It is shown that if these opportunities are properly exploited, nontrivial rates can be made available to a secondary (cognitive) pair while impinging little or no interference on the primary pair. This can be accomplished with an oblivious primary system and without assuming any non-causal information at the secondary about the primary data. Several protocols are devised that work with varying amounts of channel state information about the cognitive and primary links. The protocols are further extended to the scenario where multiple cognitive receivers exist. Performance analysis of the protocols is presented and their effectiveness is verified via simulations.