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Policy

U.S. Court Blocks New Patent Rules

November 5, 2007 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 85, ISSUE 45

A federal court in Virginia has temporarily blocked the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office from enforcing new rules intended to streamline the patent application process. British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline sought the injunction, arguing that the rules would stifle innovation by curtailing the amount of patent protection available to inventors. The proposed regulations aim to speed patent reviews by the chronically understaffed PTO. Among other things, they would limit the number of times an inventor could modify an existing patent application or contest a rejected claim. Currently, applicants can file an unlimited number of amendments or challenges. PTO says the rule changes "are part of a package of initiatives designed to improve the quality and efficiency of the patent process and move American innovation and our economy forward." GSK will now file a motion asking the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to block the rules permanently, a company spokeswoman says.

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