New Claims and Continuations Rules to Publish August 21, 2007.
JMW Update: The rules as published in the Federal Register may be found here. (August 21, 2007)
USPTO to Publish Measures to Improve Patent Quality
Claims and Continuations Rules will improve effectiveness and efficiency of patent examination
The Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will publish tomorrow in the Federal Register new rules that will allow the agency to continue to make the patent examination process more effective and efficient by encouraging applicants to use greater precision in describing the scope of their inventions. The new rules will be effective on November 1, 2007. . . .
The new rules have been modified, relative to the rules that were originally proposed early last year, in response to the extensive comments the USPTO received from the public. Under the new rules, applicants may file two new continuing applications and one request for continued examination as a matter of right. Also, under the new rules, each application may contain up to 25 claims, with no more than five of them independent claims, without any additional effort on the part of the applicant. Beyond these thresholds, however, the new rules require applicants to show why an additional continuation is necessary or to provide supplementary information relevant to the claimed invention to present additional claims. . . .
The new rules are available today to anyone who visits the Federal Register office and will be available tomorrow, August 21, 2007, no later than noon, in the Federal Register column on our News & Notices page . In the coming weeks, the USPTO will be conducting outreach on these new rules to better inform external stakeholders of their content and to answer questions. A webinar on the new rules is scheduled for Thursday, August 23, 2007. More information on this webinar and other upcoming information sessions will be published on Rule Changes to Focus the Patent Process in the 21st Century.