An update on intellectual property issues from my colleague, John Rafter:
Having previously moved to stay proceedings in the Tafas v. Doll case pending the induction of David Kappos as the new Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), the USPTO announced on October 8, 2009 that it will join with plaintiff GlaxoSmithKline to file a motion dismiss the lawsuit related to regulations affecting the ability to secure patent protection for inventions.
The USPTO attempted to institute these new regulations to reduce the backlog of pending patent applications by lessening the USPTO’s prosecution burden and improving prosecution speed of patent applications. The rules attempted to shift some of the prosecution burden to patent applicants and also attempted to limit the number of patent claims and continuation applications that an applicant could file.
For technology companies, provided the case is dismissed as expected, this announcement means that the prosecution of patents at the USPTO will proceed as usual. However, the new USPTO Director Kappos still has the task of how to get the pendency of patents under control; it now takes at least 2-3 years to get a patent from filing to issue, and that time frame is getting longer. For more information, see http://www.stoel.com/showalert.aspx?Show=5928.