In a decision which defines the limits of the Patent Office’s rule-making authority, the C.A.F.C. largely has sided with the Office. (Tafas et al. v. Durdas) Four rules were at issue: Two of the rules would have placed limitations on the number of continuation applications which an applicant could file. The other two rules would have placed limitations on the number of claims which could be presented in an application.
The Patent Office maintained that the new rules were necessary to streamline the examination process and reduce the existing backlog of applications awaiting examination (Lord knows something must be done). The C.A.F.C. decided that the rules were within the scope of the Office’s authority, as they were “procedural,” i.e. they did not change the grounds for granting a patent. (The appellate court did strike down one rule on the grounds that it conflicted with an existing rule.)
The proposed rules were remanded to the trial court, the Federal District Court For The Eastern District Of Virginia (one of the preferred patent venues) for further consideration. So – stay tuned for further developments.
This will be interesting to see what the outcome is of the continued applications. I would think if a person has an approved patent --he or she could continually file so someone else does not cause patent infringement unbeknown to themselves.
I will be following this to see what happens.