U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Issues Final Rules Limiting Claims and Continuation Applications

In a major overhaul of its patent examination engine, the USPTO has issued new claims and continuation rules that it predicts will promote patent quality and efficiency. The rules, which take effect on November 1, 2007, are aimed at three primary goals: (1) reduce the burden on the USPTO and eventually eliminate the backlog at the USPTO; (2) expedite the examination process such that final actions can issue within twelve months of filing; and (3) limit the multiplicity of applications.