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Judge Rejects U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Rules

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) - A federal judge in Virginia ruled that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office overstepped its authority in issuing new rules meant to limit the size of patent requests and reduce the backlog of patent applications.

The ruling was a victory for pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline and other drug companies that claimed the new rules, if applied retroactively, would force them to refile patent applications that exceeded the limits, causing a second round of tedious waiting. The patent office takes 32 months on average to process a patent request.

U.S. District Judge James Cacheris said the final rules "are substantive in nature and exceed the scope of the USPTO's rulemaking authority."

The rules would have required applicants to take on "new substantive responsibilities" if they filed more than five independent or 25 total claims.

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