On the day before the new patent rules discussed in a previous article were to go into effect, a federal judge in Virginia issued an injunction against the United States Patent Office (USPTO) that prevented the USPTO from changing the rules on November 1, 2007 as scheduled. GlaxoSmithKline filed suit in Virginia claiming that the new regulations are vague, arbitrary, and capricious. The company also claimed that the rules weakened the patent system and that the USPTO was without statutory authority to create such rules. The Court will eventually reach the merits of those allegations and decide if the proposed rules can take effect at all. So for now, all patent practitioners are adopting a wait-and-see approach to the proposed rules. On a separate, but related note, supporters of the Patent Reform Act in the Senate are trying to push through major changes to the patent system. Whether the bill’s supporters have the necessary votes to pass the controversial bill remains to be seen. We will keep you advised of any changes in this area.
Vincent Allen is a shareholder at Carstens & Cahoon, LLP. He focuses on the litigation of intellectual property disputes and the prosecution of patent and trademark applications.
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