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Filing of Commission comments: The Commission has filed comments with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) regarding proposed rules governing continuation practice. The comments were filed in response to a January 3, 2006, statement of proposed rulemaking in which the PTO proposed to revise certain patent rules of practice pertaining to continued examination practice, as set forth in title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations. By filing a continuation, a patent applicant may obtain the patent examiner’s further consideration of the pending claims, and the opportunity to amend the claims or present additional arguments and evidence supporting patentability.

According to the comments, the FTC supports the PTO’s proposed rules on continuations – and urges their adoption – as they accommodate the legitimate uses of continuations, limit abuses that can harm the competitive process, and promote the patent system’s ability to provide incentives to innovate to the extent they reduce the pendency of patent applications.

The Commission vote authorizing the filing of the comments with the PTO regarding the proposed rules governing continuation practice was 5-0. Copies of the comments are available now on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release. (FTC File No. P052103; the staff contact is Suzanne Michel, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-3094.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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