The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will today (Aug. 21) issue new rules intended to streamline the patenting process. But the change will also make it more costly and time consuming for universities and biotech companies to secure rights to their life sciences discoveries, patent experts say.The new rules, to be published in today's Federal Register, will restrict the number of times patent applications can be re-evaluated and will also limit the number of claims contained in any one application. Inventors will be limited to two new continuing applications, through which they can add additional claims to the same patent, and only one request for a continued examination, which an inventor can file after the patent office has rejected his or her patent application. The rules, which will take effect Nov. 1, 2007, also restrict to 25 the number of claims in any single patent submission.In its original...

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