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Patent rule halted; continuations to continue

Breaking news in the world of patent law is rare, but it happened today.

GlaxoSmithKline scored a victory in its battle against new patent rules that were set to go into effect this week. A Virginia federal court granted the pharmaceutical company a preliminary injunction halting the new rules, which would have limited the number of times pending or rejected patent claims could be amended through “continuations.”  The Associated Press has more.

The rules had been adopted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to “allow the USPTO to conduct a better and more thorough and reliable examination of patent applications,” the office said in a statement when the rules were announced in August. (See the Lawyers USA story on the rules here.)

But today “there was an audible sigh in the courtroom when Judge Cacheris said the rules were enjoined,” according to John White, patent professor at John Marshall Law School in Chicago and founder the Patent Law Institute’s Patent Bar Review Course, who provided the play-by-play of the hearing on PLI’s blog. The blog Patently-O has more here.

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