The change is part of a widespread but glacially paced reform of patent application processes in the US.
Currently, if a new invention embodies more than one innovation, a patent claim has to be filed for each innovation, and each claim has to be processed separately by the USPTO.
Under the new rules, all the innovations in an invention will be registered in a single claim and processed together.
Such "multi-invention alternative" claims are especially prevalent in the pharmaceutical, chemical and biotechnology fields, according to officials at the USPTO.
"We believe that such a rule change will lead to a more focused examination process that will effectively promote innovation," said commissioner for patents John Doll.
The USPTO is inviting comments from industry about the proposed changes, the deadline for which is 9 October this year.
The USPTO has an enormous backlog of pending patent claims. This change, with the other proposed reforms, is aimed at alleviating the logjam.
US to change multi-patent rules
By Andrew Charlesworth on Aug 21, 2007 8:29AM