New rules limiting continuation applications coming soon?March 2, 2007

According to multiple rumors, the USPTO may be nearing publishing its final rules regarding limits on continuation applications. When initially announced in January 2006, many patent practitioners and law professors, including now-Federal Circuit Judge Kimberly Moore, believed the limits to be beyond the scope of the USPTO’s authority to enact, instead requiring a statutory change by Congress. The USPTO received over 300 comments on the proposed rules, with most expressing concern over or outright opposing at least some of the proposed rule changes. While the rumors indicate that the final rules will be different from those initially proposed, if the USPTO does drastically alter continuation practice, expect a flurry of continuation applications to be filed between the date the final rules are announced and the date they go into effect. We’ll be watching for the final rules to be published by the USPTO.

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