Business & Finance
News
10/31/2007
02:32 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Court Blocks Patent Office From Instituting Controversial Rules

The USPTO says the rules are intended to speed reviews, but critics say they would limit patent protection.

A federal judge on Wednesday enjoined the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from instituting new rules, scheduled to take effect Nov. 1, that critics say would limit the level of patent protection available to inventors.

Ruling on a motion filed by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, which is suing the Patent Office over the issue, Judge James Cacheris of the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Virginia blocked, for now at least, the patent office from implementing the regulations Thursday as planned.

"This is a sign that the challenge to these rules is legitimate," said Mark Murphy, a Chicago-based patent attorney whose firm, Cook Alex, is not involved in the litigation.

The new rules are intended to speed patent reviews by the chronically understaffed USPTO. Among other things, they limit so-called "continuing applications" through which inventors can modify existing patent applications.

Murphy said the new rules would "severely limit the level of patent coverage you can get for an invention" if they are allowed to take effect.

GlaxoSmithKline originally filed its suit against the USPTO on Oct. 9.

The drug manufacturer contends that it, and other companies that invest heavily in research and development, needs the freedom to broaden their patent claims when new applications for their inventions are discovered.

A spokesperson for the patent office said the USPTO is committed to implementing the new rules despite Wednesday's setback.

"The USPTO continues to believe that the rules are an important component of modernizing the patent system. They are part of a package of initiatives designed to improve the quality and efficiency of the patent process," said the spokesperson.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Business of Going Digital
The Business of Going Digital
Digital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - July 22, 2014
Sophisticated attacks demand real-time risk management and continuous monitoring. Here's how federal agencies are meeting that challenge.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A UBM Tech Radio episode on the changing economics of Flash storage used in data tiering -- sponsored by Dell.
Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.