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Federal court strikes down new patent rules

[JURIST] The US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] on Tuesday rejected new US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) [official website] rules [FR final rule notice, PDF] that would have retroactively limited the number of claims that can be included in a patent application and the number of times a continuation application can be filed for a given invention. The court ruled [PDF text] that the new rules were "substantive in nature" and therefore beyond the scope of the USPTO's authority to govern the submission procedure of patent application.

The lawsuit [complaint, PDF] challenging the new rules was brought by pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline [corporate website], which has approximately 100 applications pending at the USPTO. Supporting the company was the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) [advocacy website], which filed an amicus curiae brief [PDF text; Patently-O blog post]. In October, a judge enjoined [order and memorandum decision, PDF; JURIST report] the USPTO from implementing the new rules pending a ruling on their validity. Reuters has more.

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