Glaxo reviews options in patent-rule loss

Remember the patent-rule fight GlaxoSmithKline led on behalf of the pharma industry? Glaxo et al prevailed in a court challenge to some new regs that would have affected both initial patent filings and patent continuations (a.k.a. the amendment process). Now, though, an appeals court has overturned a portion of the trial judge's ruling, much to the consternation of the legal types who handle pharma patents.

The appeals court upheld the trial judge's "no go" on continuation changes, so pharma is free and clear there. But the panel upheld other changes, including a rule that would require patent apps that cover a large number of claims to provide detailed info on why all that protection is warranted.

Bradley Wright, a Washington patent attorney with Banner & Witcoff, told the Wall Street Journal that the ruling could have a significant negative impact on pharmaceutical, biotechnology and chemical companies, which frequently file patent applications that contain a large number of claims. "It will increase the cost of filing for new patents," Mr. Wright said.

Glaxo said it's reviewing the decision and deciding whether to pursue an appeal. The appeals court specified that the drugmaker has an opportunity to advance different legal arguments for its side.

- read the WSJ story