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February 10, 2014 8:00 AM UTC

In a Jan. 15 decision in Novartis vs. Lee, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) found that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under-calculated patent term adjustments (PTAs) in cases where a party filed a request for continued examination (RCE). A 1999 law provides for PTAs to compensate for delays in patent prosecutions by PTO for three types of delays, only one of which was at issue in the case. Under the law, type B delays accrue when PTO fails to issue a patent within three years of the initial filing, but "time consumed by continued examination of the application requested by the applicant" is excluded.

In its appeal, Novartis argued that PTO had miscalculated PTAs for 18 of its patents. CAFC dismissed the claims for 15 patents because the pharma had missed a deadline to appeal the PTAs. The court agreed additional PTAs were due for three patents - U.S. Patent Nos. 7,807,155; 7,968,518; and 7,973,031. ...