Glaxo stalls new patent rules

At an 11-th hour hearing, a Federal court in Virginia today issued an injunction that will temporarily block controversial new patent rules from taking effect tomorrow (November 1). The court hearing concerned the linkurl:lawsuit;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53705/ filed by GlaxoSmithKline against the US Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month, on the grounds that the patent agency did not have the authority to create the new rules. The final version of the linkurl:new rul

By | October 31, 2007

At an 11-th hour hearing, a Federal court in Virginia today issued an injunction that will temporarily block controversial new patent rules from taking effect tomorrow (November 1). The court hearing concerned the linkurl:lawsuit;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53705/ filed by GlaxoSmithKline against the US Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month, on the grounds that the patent agency did not have the authority to create the new rules. The final version of the linkurl:new rules,;http://www.thescientist.com/news/display/53497/ which were issued in August by the US Patent and Trade Office, limited the number of times a patent could be reevaluated to two, and limited the number of claims that could be filed on a patent to 25. University tech transfer offices and biotech companies have argued that those changes will make it difficult and expensive to defend patents in the life sciences ? new claims are routinely added to patents over time, as the scope of discoveries expands or becomes clear with further research. One estimate by patent attorney Eugene Quinn, who writes a blog on the Web site of the Practicing Law Institute in New York, linkurl:suggested;http://www.pli.edu/patentcenter/claims-con-challenge.asp that about a third of university-funded patents would not have been valid under the new rules. Courtenay Brinckerhoff, a partner at the law firm Foley and Larder specializing in biotechs and intellectual property, who attended the court hearing but was not involved in the case, said in a telephone media conference that today's ruling came as a surprise. But although it gives inventors a reprieve until at least December, the earliest date that further hearings are likely to be held, it also adds uncertainty as to how the patent process will work in the future. "I really can't see them (the USPTO) withdrawing the rules," she said.

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