Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline PLC has filed suit against the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), seeking to block implementation of new rules that would limit the number of claims contained in any one patent application and the number of times applications can be re-evaluated. GSK's lawsuit, filed Oct. 10 in Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, represents the first major corporate challenge to rules scheduled to take effect Nov. 1. The USPTO says the new rules are needed to streamline the patenting process, but drug and biotech companies as well as university tech transfer officials claim the rules will make it more costly and time consuming for them to secure rights to their life sciences discoveries. Calling them "vague, arbitrary, and capricious," GSK claims the new rules will damage the company's ability to obtain new patents, citing about 130 pending patent applications for which it has...

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